Do you ever wonder when adolescence ends? I think it happens when you visit home for a couple of weeks after you finish your first half of college, and for the first time you see that everything else is moving on without you. By that criterion, my adolescence is on its way out.
I just learned that both of my parents are planning to move this summer. I never spent much time at my dad’s house, but my mom and I lived in her current place for all of my high school years. We lived there longer than in anywhere else we’ve lived. We moved around a lot—eight different places in Seattle alone—so I never thought I’d grow attached to any particular house. But when my mother said she was moving, I started to feel…wistful. I appreciated anew how close her house is to the neighborhood that was my teenage social epicenter, how I threw my first parties there, how I had to learn how to tough it out a little bit before the neighborhood totally gentrified. A lot of me happened in that house—most of the important parts. Tonight is my last night in Seattle, and probably my last night in this house, forever. So, I’m sad. I can’t pretend this house doesn’t mean a lot to me.
I’m also noticing that my relationships with my parents are changing. My mother is dating a guy who I think is super great (plus his life goal is to be mentioned positively in one of my diary posts, so merry Christmas, dude!), and I’m really excited for her, but I’ll be real. I’ve spent the past five years of my life as an only child living with a single mom, so I’m used to having all her attention, getting to ramble on about my life and myself and everything else me me me listen listen! Now she has this busy social life with her boyfriend. She spend all of her free time with him, playing tennis and going to the market and eating dinner in restaurants. Sometimes they include me on these excursions, but I used to do all of these things with my mom, all the time, just me and her. So, changes! I’m glad, though, that she doesn’t have to do all that stuff alone when I’m away at school.
Things are sort of changing with my dad, too. A few days ago I went out to dinner with him and he suggested that I “consider” what it would be like if he cut off half the money he gives me every month to pay my rent and bills. He didn’t say he was definitely going to do that, but just wanted me to give it a little thought, because maybe!!! Just think about it!!
One of the biggest privileges I’ve had in life is that I get to go to college, and focus on college instead of having to work an extra 30 hours a week to support myself. I find ways to earn spending cash, but I’ve been well supported for the necessities of living away from my parents’ homes. So there’s another adolescent perk vanishing before my eyes—I no longer get to take for granted that I’ll be automatically fed and clothed and housed. But as much as I want to squirm and whine and proclaim, “DAD, I’m just a TEENAGER,” that won’t be true in three months, and he wants me to grow up and act like an adult, at least when it comes to money.
I’ve been hanging out with my old crew in Seattle, and that forced me to face the end of my teen years, too. My old friends were all a few years older than me, so now they’re in their 20s and talk about stuff we never concerned ourselves with before: the tribulations of starting their careers, decisions about whether to move in with their significant others, and other things that have me trembling in my teenage boots because I’ll be facing all that stuff in a few short years. Those are going to be my problems. And it’s not just me growing up—it’s everyone around me, too.
Adolescence lives in the place you grew up in, and next time I come home, everything is going to be different. It’s impossible go back to something that’s not there anymore. ♦