In my continuing ruminations about people roughly my age, the Boomers, I have come to the conclusion that many of us are in the throes of a new adolescence.
Just a few days ago I qualified for the Bureau of Labor Statistics' label "older worker," yet I feel sometimes that I have just turned 17. It's better than four or five years ago, when the collapse of a marriage had rendered me 11 years old: technically capable of taking care of myself, but sorely lacking in the common sense needed to do it well.
I remember well that first dance at which I mingled with the "boys," afraid once again of what would happened if I asked a "girl" to dance. Then I discovered the bar and recalled how much "courage" came from its concoctions.
Or that first date, I think we went to a concert, walked around some parks and tentatively held hands. Just like when I was 16 and my girlfriend, the first I ever kissed, was 14.
Or even my first car accident on a highway, a fender-bender really, due to a very peculiar driving history, which I'll save for another post.
Adolescence. The sense that one is alive, everything is very confusing, no one really prepared you for this, you'll live forever but you'll die of unrequited love, you'll try out new feelings and if people don't like the results let them look away. Freedom. Zest.
I can't help thinking that I'm in an adolescence in reverse. I go to book clubs, group discussions, dances, barbecues. Flirt, laugh, talk. Then retreat to my cave to ruminate.
In this new stage I started out adult, organized (or repressed), subject to obligations and routines; eventually I'll come out childless, unconnected to anyone in particular, retired, perennially out of school, seeking a sandbox in which to lose myself in another childhood, until I'm unborn back into the darkness whence I came.