I have been entirely Twitter-free for 29 days. I’m checking in today because there are a few books I want to share thoughts about, and some people I miss, and because I don’t have to be there, it is no longer an addiction, but, rather, because I can be there and just as easily, can choose not to be. (And also because if you remain deactivated for 30 days, your account entirely disappears. And I am not willing for that to happen. Yet.)
Twice in the last 24 hours I’ve had discussions with people who I love dearly about the truth that one never really feels like a grown-up, how everyone, always, fears that at any moment they will be exposed as a fake and fraud, fumbling through the motions of taking care of themselves and others, functioning behind their own personally designed facade and performance of adult-ing.
And twice I’ve said, Yes. Me too.
And edging toward 60 — which, by the way, seems impossible — I no longer care about convincing anyone I’m a grown-up. Instead, I’m trying to make a life of living in each moment, mining as much happiness as I can find from every day, and doing what I can to make others as happy as I can, too.
And, too, I don’t trust anyone who says they don’t share this experience of always knowing that the whole concept of being grown-up is a silly game.
I’m operating with my heart and conscience as guides; sparing myself the measurements imposed by culture, society, religion, and all and any other forces which would judge me (or anyone else) by how closely I conform to their confining, divisive definitions of should and ought and must and can’t.
Though at many of those imposed benchmarks and yardsticks commonly accepted as defining successful adulthood I fall short — I live below the poverty level; I have never really been part of a couple; I’ve not raised children; and, in smaller sub-groupings of folks who judge; I never achieved theatrical fame; I haven’t published a book; and disappointing to the Irish-Roman Catholic sorceress crone who gasped upon first seeing me as a newborn, “Oh, he’s a miracle that one. I feel it. He’ll be the first American Pope,” well, not only did I stop Catholic-ing at age 12, I am still as wary of any organized religion as I am of any organization at all that has lots of rules and power struggles, for example: theatres, publishing, corporations in general, families, and government at any level — as I said, though I fall short of the shoulds of all those groups, get this:
I live an extraordinarily privileged life.
I am loved, deeply and well, by a small coterie of amazing people. I have massive stretches of time in which to do what I love most: read and write. I have many, many canine and feline pals who call me Uncle and whose families allow me to care for them, spending time in lots of different locations full of love and silence. I am able to bake and cook for people to whom that brings great joy, almost as much as it brings me.
I get to travel now and then, and have, in my life, seen the most amazing Broadway shows and stars at work. I have dear friends with whom I share dinners and travel, with whom I text-watch television shows, and who I can tell anything and everything about my life without fear of judgment or abandonment.
Am I financially secure? Nope. Do I always go to bed to sleep alone? Yes. Am I in any way NOT having a wonderful life? No.
Turns out the sorceress-crone was right. I am — if not the first American Pope — at least a Miracle. MiracleCharlie.
And in the same way I don’t need (most days) society to affirm that for me, I also don’t need Twitterati to affirm me, either. Which I had to learn by getting my feelings hurt, which is okay.
And all morning I’ve been hearing this song in my head:
We all believe what we believe, and some things we need to believe we have to grow into. And not everyone will get it, or get us, and, it’s okay. Okay to let go and say goodbye … and, when we need to, hang on.
That I’d asked you to see what you may never see
And now my kind words find their way back to me:
There’s a train everyday leaving either way
There’s a world, you know
Got a ways to go
I’ll soon be gone, it’s just as well
This is my opening farewell
So, here I am, coming at you until I am going. And embracing the truth, I am MiracleCharlie. And thank you for sharing that with me.