Over the weekend we visited the Science Center. Aside from it being the mecca for childlike wonder and exploration, it also offers up proof of personal ignorance.
We (meaning my overly generous (and perfect (and wonderful (is this excessive?))) boyfriend) bought tickets to the Omnimax (if you aren’t familiar with this term, please utilize your favorite web browser and fix that) which was showing “Under the Sea.”
Me? I’m thinking clown fish and happiness. Reality? Fish cannibalism and deadly eels.
I imagined things like this happened below sea level. However, I’d never really been confronted with the nonsense firsthand (and was blissfully content having not).
I love/loathe those moments when you figure out the world is way bigger than you’d previously realized. I keep getting older and the world keeps getting bigger and the frustration with my inability to wrap my mind around it is maddening.
I remember when the world felt like four walls and a sidewalk.
I don’t think I was happier then, but life was definitely quieter. And safer.
Growth in the worldly sense is a lot like when you move out for the first time and you have nothing but a bunch of bare walls (and a few pictures of your friends drunk at the wineries (just me?)). You move through life and somewhere along the way you buy pots and pans, your Mom gives you an end table, and you hang shelves. And then all of your newly acquired things start to collect dust. And then you fill up the cabinets below your sink with cleaning supplies to take care of that dust.
Learning about life is like that. It’s accumulating good furniture and throw-rugs for the space between your eyes. And as you move through it, you acquire a myriad of other nonsense that litters your mind as well.
Some of it is second-hand, some of it is borrowed, some of it will come at great cost, some of it you’ll create all by your lonesome. Regardless of how, though, it will get there…and you will have to find a place to put it.
At some point, however, you’ll look around and question just how much of this stuff you need. You’ll look at those pictures that hung in your first place and realize that you don’t talk to half of those people anymore. You’ll take stock of the stack of bleach-stained towels you never use. You’ll look at all of the clothing and the candles and the coffee mugs. And you’ll reconsider.
On your next move, you’ll carefully select the things that you’d like to keep, and find something (practical and charitable) to do with the rest.
That’s what growing up is like. Consciously separating the things you’d like to carry with you and the things that sort of weigh you down. You’ll make space on your mental shelves for the things that you want to eventually put there as well.
Foresight or something like that.
I’ve come to enjoy this part of life. The dissection of necessity.
It’s sort of…freeing.
It feels good.