Well, that was life. Gladness and pain…hope and fear…and change. Always change! You could not help it. You had to let the old go and take the new into your heart…learn to love it and then let it go in turn. Spring, lovely as it was, must yield to summer and summer lose itself in autumn.
–Anne of Ingleside | L. M. Montgomery
Maybe I’m too self-reflective for my own good, but lately I’ve felt myself getting older. I realize that, at twenty-five, I’m nowhere near old, but I can feel all the ways that I’m older than I was a year ago, or even a few months ago. My body aches with the coming of cold, my back stiffens after a long shift on my feet behind the espresso machine, and I wake up at 7:30 on the dot, regardless of when I fell asleep the night before. The changes aren’t just physical, though. I don’t feel the need to go out drinking very often anymore; not that I think there’s anything wrong with it, but the idea of a loud bar teeming with other hipsters doesn’t appeal anymore. Perhaps this is just a manifestation of my introverted nature, but even at my most homebody times I was still interested in dive bars. Now, when I do go out, I have two beers and I’m yawning–both because I’m sleepy, and because I’m bored. For all I romanticized New York City bars when I first moved here, I realize now that nothing really new ever happens. I’m no longer interested in the old patterns of half-drunken conversations with strangers you’ll never actually spend time with again. I no longer long to write stories about people who meet by chance in a dive bar on an off-street in the village. My new bedroom in Brooklyn is above a tiny little bar, and when the drunks come out side to chain smoke cigarettes, I don’t envy them any longer; mostly I just wish they would shut up so I could sleep.
This is what I’m afraid of, even as I’m working so hard to embrace it: change. I always get like this when my life reminds me that I’m getting old. It wasn’t so scary when I was graduating high school and even college, when it seemed I still had years of youth ahead of me to fill with dreams and mischief and, yes, hard work. I spent my first three years of so-called adulthood proving that I could work and struggle, regardless of my somewhat spoiled adolescence. Of course, my youth isn’t gone yet, but I can feel myself settling into the person I will be forever. Where I once felt malleable, like I could become anything I needed to be to fit the situation, I’m realizing that underneath I am still the same person. I adapted to the pace and excitement of New York, but that doesn’t mean it’s natural for me. Still, I wouldn’t want to be anyone but me.
I have the odd sensation that I’m about to be tested. After all, I’ve been blundering around pretending to be an adult these past three years, but now I’m really about to become one. For the first time in my life, I’m in a functional romantic relationship, an adult relationship where we talk about things instead of fighting over details and calling it quits. I’ve never done this before, although it’s the only thing (aside from publishing a novel) that I’ve wanted for as long as I can remember. In about three weeks, my boyfriend is moving back to the city to be with me, even though it means we have to split my teeny tiny room in Bushwick for a few months while we save money for our next adventure. I’m completely aware of the reality that this is a big deal. If we can survive the next few months, we can survive anything. For someone so anxiety-ridden in general, I’m not worried about us. I have complete confidence that this is what needs to happen. Besides, haven’t I always striven to be more adventurous? What is life, if not a series of adventures and challenges to overcome? For the first time, I’m not alone in my adventure. So I am not afraid. There is no fear in love.