Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Filthy Lucre

I had to spend $400 on tires yesterday. I really hate this. I know it's for my safety and well-being, but....ugh. And of course I have 17 inch tires, so I only had one expensive option. Double ugh. Buying tires is one of those things that remind me that I am supposed to be a real adult. I try to avoid excursions into "scary grown-up land" but now that I've reached my 4th decade they are unavoidable. Purchasing tires and renewing tags are the least scary items; death of loved ones, especially siblings and parents, are the worst. Also things like retirement, social security, and the mysterious pain in my leg (I think it's a nerve?) that will NOT go away remind me that adulthood will only get harder, scarier, and more difficult to navigate without hitting some damn big icebergs.

I constantly fight the feeling that I am not a "real" adult. I have all the trappings of adulthood: steady job, place of residency, and a ton of responsibility. However, most of the time I feel like an actor playing an adult. I've always thought it's because I'm not married, and I don't have kids, but I guess I am not the only one who feels this way. My spiritual age has not kept pace with my physical age. I personally think I felt? was? more mature at 18 than I am at 40. That girl knew everything! This woman seems to be fairly clueless, and getting more clueless by the minute. I'd like to think that I'm just more aware now of all I don't and can't possibly know, the vastness of the world and ideas and people and cultures. Certainly as an 18-year-old my world narrowed down to school, love interest, etc. Hmmmm. Maybe my world hasn't changed much...

But of all the adult tasks, I find managing my money the most difficult. I have inherited the "I can't manage money" Fenwick gene. None of us are good with our money. I am trying much harder than I used to, because major financial setbacks made me feel like a big failure, but I still don't have the savings I would like to have, and I don't stick to budgets well. When I think of all the potential financial landmines of the future: retirement, major illness, nursing home, etc. it makes me nauseous. Also, as a single woman with no kids, I won't have the possibility of anyone looking out for me. I know marriage is no guarantee that someone will still around, but still, people who are married at least have some marginal comfort that they won't be alone in old age. For me, old age seems a wasteland, a cliff, a raging river. It's beyond scary. I always thought I would at least have my brother with me to negotiate this perilous territory, but he's gone.

I still think I am basically unformed, and that a person in her fourth decade should just be more....more everything. More opinionated, maybe, more sure. In therapy sessions, I would refer to myself as a drifter, and my therapist would correct me to "free spirit." He said that term was more positive, more choice-oriented. Maybe so. But most of the time, I think of myself as a drifter. Or a tumbleweed. And Kansas is a windy state.

1 comment:

  1. I knew the "can't manage money" gene existed--I wonder which wayward relative passed it on to me. Love the ending on this one. I think "drifter" sounds much sexier, anyway. Your therapist should have mentioned that point...