I actually was waiting to see what would be the catalyst for my first school/student-related post. Yesterday, I got it.
So, because I have not yet gotten the Department of Education to suspend all classes during the week of my birthday thereby acknowledging the occasion that it is, one of my professors was within his right to schedule a midterm yesterday! Sigh. So naturally, all studying for that was being done in the cafeteria in the three hours I had between work and the start of class. Everything was going well; my focus was at 100 – right up until I tuned in to the conversation of the two young ladies seated behind me.
Okay … one asked the other how old she was; she replied, “nineteen”. This prompted a shriek from the other, followed quickly by, “I hate you!” “Why?” was the innocent’s comeback, “because you’re older?” A sigh; then a (defeated), “yes. I’m so jealous! You’re so lucky! I’m twenty-four!” Okay…what the fuck?!? What the hell?!? Is honey truly having a conniption because she feels old at twenty-four?!? Well, she did indeed; so, I waited with bated breath to hear what was to come next. I was not disappointed!
The old one went on to detail the reason for her anxiety; and this is how she prefaced what was to come: “From the moment I turned twenty-four, I started my descent toward death; so, I need to find my husband on the subway ride home tonight!” Then she laid it out (and I had to admit I was impressed by both her arrogance to think she has control over this and the obvious thought she has invested with regard to her life); here is this young lady’s perspective: because she’s twenty-four, she needs to meet the man who will be hers “tonight”; because they will need to date for two-three years before he proposes. That puts her old ass at twenty-six/seven. After he proposes, they will remain affianced for approximately one to two years, while she plans the wedding; so she is now at the ripe old age of twenty-nine walking down the aisle. She would like to “enjoy” her husband before they have children; but, at this rate, she can only do that for one year, because, well, she IS thirty! Oh, then there was this….”everybody knows that after the age of thirty-two/three no one should be trying to have babies. That is both risky and irresponsible and not fair to the babies”. I’m sorry…WHAT?? Oh; and she also would like to have them by that age because there is “no way” that she will have children when she is no longer able to relate to the “state of the social world as it is now”. Sigh.
I was/am flabbergasted! Don’t ask me how I think I did on that midterm, because all pretenses at studying ceased! Okay, can’t front…I did well J . But back on track. As I stated, I did admire the young/old lady’s meticulous and very well-presented agenda with regard to her life; there was no denying that she is focused. What I marveled at, at the same time however, is the naiveté and arrogance of the young! Additionally, I had to force myself to stay seated, head bent over my textbook and maintain the appearance of also one quite focused… on her studies. It took so much out of me to not turn around – and blog out loud!
If I had turned around, this is what I would have shared: “Young lady, good for you for thinking about and being an active participant in both your future and your life; I am truly impressed. But, would you mind if I were to be so very bold as to share some things with you both? No? Great. First, take a taxi home tonight baby-girl; J . Seriously. It is not time. Here you are, clearly quite intelligent, but worried that your path to medical school (she is Pre-Med) will hinder your plan and the time-line you have constructed for marriage and parenthood; so much so that you are rethinking med-school. Young lady, continue on your academic path; this world needs more young, black, focused people with the ability to make significant strides in all professions; but my God…certainly in the medical one! By no means am I advocating that you abandon your other obvious desire to be a wife and mother (and I applaud you for the sequence you have put out to the universe); but I promise you that one does not dictate that you forfeit the other. You, we, can have it all. Shit; your husband may be a fellow resident; he’s not on the train tonight…it’s too damn cold”.
I listened to her and she made me feel old and that made me smile. I felt old because I was, okay, eavesdropping, on a twenty-four year old’s mini meltdown regarding the passing of time and her need to “get going” so that she won’t miss some understood social calendar. I smiled because I wish her luck with that! All of us over-twenty-somethings can/should tell those coming up (seemingly quickly) behind us, that “It’s all okay”. See, what honey doesn’t yet recognize, is that she’s already doing life! Her lamenting that since she turned twenty-four, all she has to look forward to is a “slow death”, is the stuff of much ignorance! First, we all started dying the moment we were born; so she’s way off with her timeline. Next, because of that fact, it truly does not matter when you do what. What matters is that you do do ‘what’. Life does not start at nineteen or twenty-four or any of the other arbitrary milestones we single-out; life just starts! And, the other news flash? It ALL means nothing! All life really is, is its levity at our arrogance in thinking that we have a “say” in how it shakes out; that it acquiesces to the plans and paths we construct.
But see, she (like the rest of us), is absolutely right in formulating a blueprint; in leaving a trail of breadcrumbs that lights the way toward a desired outcome. Good for her! What I wish I did say out loud to her was this: “don’t be so caught up in the destination that you completely miss out on the incredible journey…”
Sigh. Took my old ass to class 🙂