Growing Up Isn’t What I Thought It Was

19 May


Last week, on a rainy Malibu morning, I made 20 jars of homemade jam.

I didn’t set out to make so much jam.  I simply had no idea how many strawberries were required and so I bought two bursting crates.  Two red, juicy crates from a fruit stand in Ventura I found driving off a dirt road.

I made jam.

There was a time in my life where I would have completely rejected making jam, making anything, really.  I had some idea that if I didn’t develop any domestic skills you couldn’t put me in the kitchen.

If I had to microwave my grilled cheese you would accept my abilities as a human being.

Whoever you is.

I’ve had to give myself permission to like domestic things.  If I make jam I do not turn into a 1950s housewife.  If I make fresh bread with that jam I do not lose my career.

But I think about it.

Do all women think about it?

Growing up is, in a sentence, learning who we are.

I do not cook well, for instance, nor do I enjoy it.

I do make jam well.  I like having good jam.

That’s that.

I’ve been learning how I exercise this past year.  That’s been an adventure.  I would say a fun adventure, but really one of the things I’ve learned is exercise is not fun in the traditional sense for me.  I used to say I didn’t get endorphins from exercising, but maybe the truth is when I do get endorphins it isn’t fun, just as eating vegetables isn’t fun for me.  It’s good for me.  I appreciate the benefits in the long term.

But I do not find exercising fun.

Many things that give me long-term happiness are not fun.

I really hate the gym.

I gave up the gym for good this year.  It used to be when I wanted to get in shape I would go to the nearest local gym, fork out a large amount of money for a membership, and then go twice.

I would get on some elliptical looking machine and tell myself I could read a book or maybe–yes.  I was bored already.  All right then, how about doing an ab–right.  And then the weights–OK.

And then I would continue paying the fee for a few months, telling myself I would renew my interest shortly.

Probably tomorrow.

I do not like the gym.

I do not like to run.

I love yoga.

I love to hike.

Growing up.

California was the place I grew up.

My childhood was spent in Las Vegas.  My angst took place in Utah.  My breaking happened in London, but it wasn’t until California that my growing up occurred.

I was 24 when I moved here, a little old for growing up, or so I thought.

I come from a place where there is constant talk about how young people grow up, or marry I suppose.  I guess they aren’t the same thing.  Sometimes they feel like the same thing.

Sometimes my mom says, “I was messy like you until I got married.”

Marriage seems like a growing up.  It forces you to, in some ways, and to some extent.

And yet I know married people who haven’t grown up.

I know unmarried people who have.

Growing up is learning who we are, rejecting the ideas told to us by our parents or our culture or whoever.  Piecing them back together.  Deciding which parts you still like.  Which parts you need to let go of.

Learning to love yoga, or not love yoga.  It’s OK if your growing up is different than mine.

We are all complicated, shades of gray.  I am extremely undomestic and yet I make homemade jam.

As people we are simply not all or nothing.

I am an all-or-nothing person.

Growing up.

Happiness is a habit.  This is something I’m learning, slowly, in my growing up years.

I am someone who likes to feed into every emotion I have.  All of my feelings are valid.

If I feel something it is real.  If I feel something I must act on it.

I feel sad.  I wallow and cry.  I listen to the saddest possible music, I linger on my most devastating thoughts, letting them pierce and puncture me until I can’t breathe.

I feel worried.  I stress and pick.  I dig into my deepest fears, the things I can’t even whisper out loud.  I let myself become a pile of nerves for feeling is living and all of my feelings are valid.

Except when they are not.

There is a power in standing up to yourself and your feelings.

In saying, I reject you.

Elizabeth Gilbert says it best, “You need to learn how to select your thoughts just the same way you select your clothes every day.”

You get to pick out the thoughts you have, parse through them, reject or accept them.  You get to choose.

I am not a slave to my emotions.

And so I practice.

I have a bad day and I do not complain about it.  I work on things I love.

I’m not great at this.  Practice has only begun.

I think of it as I think of yoga.

I’m fairly terrible at yoga.  I haven’t logged enough hours to really get good.  Maybe I never will.

But I feel myself improving.  I did crow pose the other day!

I was so excited I demonstrated to several friends, while wearing a dress.

Growing up.

It’s not what I thought it was.

Not in the way of my life didn’t go as planned.  That’s obvious to anyone who knows me.

It’s my 10 year high school reunion and I am a writer/nanny.

No, growing up isn’t what I thought it was in a literal sense.

Growing up is practicing happiness.  It’s not buying the gym pass.  It’s making jam and enjoying a morning routine and having deep, spiritual conversations over lunch.

It’s being confident in the things I say and believe, confident not that I’m right–please never get me to the point where I am not open to the possibility of being wrong, where I can’t see different sides to an argument–but just confident in who I am.  Confident in how I am trying to live.

Trying being key.

We are always trying.

I am so far away.

I made jam the other morning.

I made jam and listened to Joni Mitchell and rain poured against my windows, tapping and dancing, creating a rhythm, a background music to my background music.

It was good.

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5 Responses to “Growing Up Isn’t What I Thought It Was”

  1. Bailey Brewer May 19, 2015 at 9:39 am #


    Also, Joni!

    Don't you loooove SoCal rain?

    • jillianlorraine May 31, 2015 at 10:53 pm #

      It’s SoCal fog right now and it’s my very, very favorite weather ever.

  2. Koseli May 27, 2015 at 8:12 pm #

    I loved this.

    Being a writer/nanny sounds amazing! Is that what I kind of am too? One much more loosely than the other?

    • jillianlorraine May 31, 2015 at 10:56 pm #

      Thank you! And that comment made me laugh. We are both kind of writer/nannies just in wildly different ways, maybe?

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