Saturday, November 12, 2011

Real Life

On Wednesday night I had a revelation.

I was standing in my kitchen emptying the dishwasher and sort of pondering life in my head, as one does when one is sorting the silverware and bowls, and thinking how much fun it was to be standing in my cute kitchen with my pretty dishes playing house like this. Just like I used to play when I was a little girl. La la la.

Then a sudden thought rocked me, like thunder from on high. I'm not playing house this time. This is for real.

My eyes opened wide and I shook with the terror of it. Like someone in a horror movie, I stared at the glass in my hand like I was seeing it for the first time. The dishwasher, the fridge, the oven - I stared at all of them with fresh, wide eyes. This is my kitchen, I thought. My inner 7-year-old rebelled. How is it possible that I own a kitchen?

It was all just too much for me so I went and sat down in the living room and called my mom.

"Motherrr!" I wailed. "I just realized that this isn't a game, I'm not playing pretend, I am a real grown-up now, and I own things like kitchens!"

My mother laughed at me, as any good mother would do. "You just noticed that? Oh my goodness, sweetie. Just wait until you have kids. You'll be calling me at midnight to say, 'Mom, I'm still cleaning the kitchen!'"

I would have none of her logic. "But Mum. It gets even worse. Right before I cleaned the kitchen, it occurred to me that I should probably make my lunch for tomorrow. I didn't want to make lunch for tomorrow. But then I thought, if I don't make my lunch now, I'll have to make it in the morning and then I'll be late for work. So I should make it now."

Then I told her the worst part.

"And Mum, then I went to the kitchen and made my lunch! An egg salad sandwich and a salad! I'm falling into habits and routines and being responsible... like a grown-up."

The whole thing was throwing me into a fit.

Mum laughed some more and then pointed out, "Honey, you are a grown-up, and it's a good thing that you're being responsible." She did not add "finally!" although she might well have.

After I got off the phone with her, I walked around the house and went back to my kitchen. Those dishes still needed to be put away, after all. I thought about what it means to be a grown-up, to own a kitchen and silverware and a couch.

It's a little scary, that's for sure. I mean, who gave me permission to have an apartment and a real job? Who said I can cook myself dinner every night? The whole thing is a little ludicrous, really.

At the same time, I spent probably half my childhood pretending I had my own house and my own kitchen. I remember the playhouse in the backyard when I was a kid... how I would spend hours pretending to set the table and do the dishes. And guess what, the real thing is even more fun than pretending.
Those matryoshka dolls are measuring cups. My kitchen even looks like a playhouse!
I'm living the life I always imagined when I was little. Is it weird that my childhood dreams involved doing dishes? Well they did, and now I get to do it for real everyday. Sure, it's a little scary. But when all is said and done, I don't just like being a grown-up.

I love it.

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