wild and dreaming stories from the edge of the world


The Time of Your Life




I am the nineteen I never got to be. Or at least I have spent my whole life, since nineteen, trying to be. The nineteen that would have come with an old school education, associating with a certain kind of company, not being bullied, not living in the wrong city.

The heart strives to be corrective. Or else maybe it just can't let go. My nana was always nineteen too, but differently from me - her nineteen was some half a century before mine, after all. She seemed to live as if she was holding on to the innocence of the months before the war. Back when my grandfather walked her home from dances under stars; back before he experienced something in Asia that silenced him. For me, nineteen was when I got to university, after two years waitressing to pay the bills, and discovered the Wild Swans of Coole, and French history, and learned that you can read all the books you want but it's the reading them in coffee shops on rainy days that matters; it's the talking poems with like-minded people - it's about you, not your books.

I never sat in coffee shops (impoverished student) or chatted poetry (shy young woman at a university which had no social or hobby clubs). I'm still working on being nineteen, and maybe after that I'll grow up.

Except this idea of growing up, growing old ... maid, mother, the other one ... it's as if we are as linear as we suppose time is. But I don't believe in that. I say we're layered, and the face we are right now isn't necessarily who we are in our heart. I know you've met men who don't seem to be more than twelve. And sixteen year old grandmothers, dancing in the kitchen on a Friday night. And children who are fifty inside.

What age are you? What year of your life mattered that much?






6 comments:

  1. I realise this post contradicts what I wrote only a few days ago. In a way, though, both are right for me. I sometimes feel if I loved a time in my past I have to be that again. But it's okay to leave things back when they were. However, this notion of your core self not necessarily being the age you are right now - that sits on a different level. At least I believe it does. I didn't love the year I was nineteen anywhere near like I loved the year I was thirty, for example, but although I'm nostalgic for all the things involved with 30, it's what 19 might be that my spirit sits within. I hope this kind of makes sense! :-)

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  2. I need more readings, to comment on your post.

    But on the first read-through, I noticed the following; "Except this idea of growing up, growing old ... maid, mother, the other one ..."

    -smile- Since I am now "the other one," trust me, it is fine to say the word. It wasn't meant to be scary... The way today's world would have you believe. It's much more relaxed, than one would imagine. Not a resigned relaxed. But a calm relaxed.

    That is, when one is not letting one's self get 'wound up' by 'news' of the world. >,-) This still happens, and the fight, is to not allow it. -sigh-

    But then, I'd not want life to be totally calm! How boring!

    Gentle hugs,
    Luna Crone

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    Replies
    1. "the other one" is a joke, a reference to Terry Pratchett's witch books. :-)

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  3. My own nineteen was one that sat in coffee shops (as well as worked in them) as a uni student and talked about poetry (as well as music and Grand Plans). I have a flood of memories reading this that have me remembering so many things. Feeling so alive, and excited, yet so precarious, (often cold, and hungry) and also anxious. Nineteen was everything I had held out for and hungered for through the misery and boredom of my school years. School was an endurance test on nearly every level.

    As a pretty serious-minded soul, I find I'm probably getting "younger" as I get older. A bit less earnest (I hope) with a dash more mischief ; ) I have impish aspirations for my ageing self.

    I love that you are the nineteen you never got to be : ) xx

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  4. My teens and I (semi)-joke that my 'inner soul' age is about 4 -- very young and playful .... In general tho', I tend to be about 20. That's pretty much where I've been since my calendar age of 14, which is when I left school to work fulltime ... On so many levels I have matured and chamged since then, and yet ... 20 :-)

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  5. I never want to be nineteen again. that was not a good year...filled with longing, and rubbishy boyfriends, and introvert struggling with dorm life, and the death of my only close friend.

    seven, on the other hand, was a good year. I was freer, more capable, and a bit healthier, for me. the sadness of earlier childhood was behind me, and all the world seemed full of wondrous mysteries to come clear, endless possibilities, bright and enchanting. I could make my own tea and toast, read anything I could reach, and ride a pony. on balance, I think seven would be a fine age to be forever...

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