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Spring Cleaning
Stuff ‘N Nonsense 03-09-22

I’m not sure what happens to time as you get older but it certainly seems to be on the fast track. We’re already looking at spring but last I blinked it was New Year’s Day.

When I was younger, there seemed to be so much time that I was impatient for most of it, naively believing that I could afford to waste precious moments on nonsense.

Now, I see things differently.

If wisdom is paid through the currency of time, I might need a refund because most days I don’t feel much smarter or wiser and I’m fairly certain I don’t know what the heck I’m doing from one minute to the next.

I feel as if I’m careening through life like a pin ball, my trajectory solely determined by what I slam into as I try to avoid the sinkhole at the edge of the game.

Does everyone eventually feel this way?

I’ve reached the age when I thought I would feel more sage about life. Maybe it’s the jaded mindset of my GenX generation but I thought I would feel more “adulty” by this point.

But I don’t.

Sure, I do adult things — including but not limited to, paying bills, working, hiring a gardener, trying to be a good parent, and populating my bedding with more pillows than necessary — but most days, I feel like a kid pretending to do the things that I think adults are supposed to do.

I came across a meme the other day that hit me in the feels and it went something like this: I never wanted to run away as a kid as often as I do as an adult — and yeah, that struck a chord.

Because sometimes, when the pressure of adulting becomes unbearable, I fight the urge to walk out the front door and disappear.

Who does that? Not a responsible adult.

But am I a responsible adult? Most days, probably. Not always, though.

I’m an artist. I’m prone to mercurial mood swings that teeter on the edge of my mental health and power the engine of my creativity. One minute I’m wise and stable; the next, I’m curled up in my closet questioning every decision I’ve ever made.

Being capable of feeling deeply is a double-edged sword. I can inject heart-rending emotion into my work because the pain of my heart being rent in two is etched into my soul.

In September, I will turn 50. It’s a big number — a number I can’t quite comprehend.

Is this what a mid-life crisis feels like?

I don’t feel the need to buy a motorcycle or get a tattoo (ink, maybe) but I do feel an overwhelming urge to create meaningful changes in my life. I’ve said it before but it bears repeating, I am systematically purging all things that do not create joy and I say this with all the dramatic flair I can muster, I am spring cleaning this dusty space that makes up the whole of me.

How’s it going so far?

Well, it’s a lot of hard work.

But what I can tell you is the work is long overdue because the clutter in this GenXer’s mind space is worthy of a Hoarders episode.

However, while cleaning I’ve discovered some long-lost treasures that I feared were gone forever — the brightest parts of my personality, my ambition, and my self-worth.

And you know what, that seems like the best early birthday present to myself I could ever give, but it’s also exciting to wonder what else I might find in those forgotten corners.

So, while I might not have a handle on how to properly fold a fitted sheet, I might just be getting closer to figuring out this thing called life.

Probably right before I die.


Kim Van Meter is a former full-time reporter for The Oakdale Leader, The Escalon Times and The Riverbank News; she continues to provide occasional columns.