remembering and real adulthood

Almost every day I do something that causes me to remark to myself, “This is why I’ll never be a real adult.” This is mostly a point of pride, although I doubt it’ll serve me so well as I continue to age into the territory of unavoidable real adulthood.

After over a month of procrastination, I finally started decorating my office in our new apartment last week. The general decor-strategy is pastiche, accomplished the same way I decorated my bedroom in high school: stringing a string, clothesline-style, between nails on the wall, and using binder clips to suspend assorted pictures and bits of paper from it. All the bits of course are reminders of times: setlists, letters, a drawing of my brother’s from when he was very small.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how we remember, how past time morphs and becomes strange as we recall it. (And I suppose it’s summer, despite the unseasonable weather, so I’m due to read another volume of In Search of Lost Time, my yearly summer reading. Proust knows all these things better than I do.)

It seems as though becoming a real adult means remembering differently; attaching oneself, barnacle-like, to a certain narrative of the good old days, but at the same time sailing forward unencumbered (and becoming unencumbered means throwing out some of the sentimental bits that litter my life, and maybe decorating with things other than sentimental bits of paper). Writing and photographing and packratting away scraps of paper are all ways of hanging on to threads of memories without knowing how to organize them any more than I know how to sort out every thought I’ve had about this grand mysterious ontological miasma.

I guess growing up is figuring out a path for all your past selves to take with you as you keep becoming different: more responsible, maybe neater, still sentimental.

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