You think that adulthood will hit and you’ll suddenly be more capable. But that doesn’t happen, ever, does it? – Sally Hawkins
Moving along in age is for the most part, it seems to me, a disorienting experience. One has certain stereotypes or maybe even idee fixes of at what age approximately which range of life-altering experiences should take place or, at least, what developmental task should be mastered. Along the lines of… seven to eight: make sense of those scribbles that adults [all-powerful] make sense of, in particular, find out if it is really possible to read and write; age 11-14: certain tufts of hair need to show up; 15 to 16 yrs: establish oral exchange w/ somebody of either sex; around eighteen: pass some sort of dangerous/near-deadly inititation ritual that turns out to teach one nothing about adult life whatsoever; sixteen to twentyone: deploy all available social and romantic stratagems to at long last have carnal relations with somebody/whoever; twenty: imagining the magic cloak of adult life alighting on yr shoulders but it doesn‘t; around mid-20s: wonder why one‘s not yet the well-situated young adult one projected onself to be at around this age; etcetera.
By the early 30s I certainly imagined myself deeply embroiled in serious family- and work-life, having worked at some enterprise or institution for a few years and established some definitive rank and name. Instead, in my late mid-30s it still seems, it always seems, as though I am at the fledgling beginnings: two new schools [secondary and adult language], a new appartment [our old one is getting pulped for no particularly good reason], semi-new partner [we‘ve been together for 23 months and things are looking good, both chemistry- and long-term-wise]. And of course many new books.
The basic temporal irregularity has been excellently put forth by one of the characters in waking life: you imagine you reach some sort of plateau in adult life from whereon things will progress regularly with all the predictable cyclicality which we attribute [justly or not] to the medieval ages. But instead, in the best of cases, you get some sinus curve fluctuating regularly up and down, or, more often, a highly unpredictable fever curve of financial standings, socio-emotional stability and livelihood circumstances. These are the liquid, quicksilver times described by Bauman.
Obviously, it‘s not like that for everyone but personally I feel like I‘ve been hurled forward along time‘s alleged axis by a whimsical tornado, alighting here and there and then suddenly taking off again and leaving chaos in the personal wake; unintended. Certain people consider the changeable, unpredictable paths of postmodern biographies as something incredibly exciting but in my personal experience I‘m rather afflicted by U.F., unpredictability fatigue: I‘d dearly welcome to have a clue where I might be two years from now and any snide HR recruiters standard-bait where I imagine myself 5 years from now seems like a cruel joke. Some time last year I shot back w/ a remark about where s/he imagines me to be in their enterprise within 5 years, the reply to which was b[l]indingly non-commital. In fact, straying from the job-interview script in self-sabotaging fashion is one of the developmental tasks to be achieved right around 30; which also reveals itself to be just a naked number.
But so irregardless, what is really strange is the ping-ponging back and forth. Earlier this year I‘d been making great advances in so&-so-a-sport at an age at which one supposedly has no business in making progress in anything other than financial standings, fuzzy general levels of wisdom or world-weary grand-standing. However, these meliorative efforts two months ago were brutally reversed when a younger adversary who had been remarking on my improvement w/ a mounting and amusing sense of disbelief, faked my lower-back into a far-away galaxy on a harmless seeming approach shot. So unless some benevolent alien returns the lower portion of my spinal column within the next couple of months, the fluid motions and semi-literacy I had attained in so-and-so-sport against all age-related odds, will remain a distant memory.
Anyway, without following this thought up all too far, I do think that if one operates at the level of a leisure sportsperson [as opposed to professional athlete] relative individual progress can be made into one‘s 40s possibly even 50s because of previously mentioned sinusoidal shape of one‘s personal competence curve. But it sort of doesn‘t matter all that much because, as soon as they are either physically or job-wise negated one has already attained a….. competence-flexibility and/or an interest-malleability to easelessly find another activity to clubber away lifetime with, such as Go or occasional meditation.
Certain folks will yap about kids being the ultimate signum of adulthood but it is hard not also seeing the poor excuse in this. One commits onself to an absolute obligation and necessity to bear one along into the future while one can put one‘s ideals, one‘s neurotic, flawed free-will, on the eternal backburner. On the front cooks a pot of high familial obligations.