Monday, February 16, 2015

My James Joyce Moment

      First off, I think it says something about my parent's taste in music that I started missing home while listening to the soundtrack to Pretty in Pink.

I blame them entirely for my love of 80s music and movies.

      So, most young adults I know can point to a moment, usually in their freshman year of college, an earth shattering James Joyce esq epiphany moment when they realized that adulthood is not fun or liberating, and is actually a hellish nightmare from which there is no escape.

      I mean we're told growing up that adulthood is not as fun as it seems, but come on. These are the same people who told us that we would use cursive in high school, that being nice would make you popular, and that appearance doesn't matter. LIES. So we can't really be blamed for not trusting them about the whole adulthood thing.

      I remember distinctly the moment that I realized adulthood was a terrible nightmare from which there was no turning back. I was working at Raley's at the time and some clumsy butterfingers, who had no idea they were playing a role in my life changing moment, dropped a large jar of salsa in the parking lot leaving a big mess of spilled salsa and broken glass.

Worried about lawsuits should some loser slip, the management decided that someone would have to go clean up the mess. That someone turned out to be me because (a.) everyone else flatly refused to do it, and (b.) my deeply ingrained work ethic trumped my pride (thanks Dad).

So there I was, cleaning salsa off the pavement of a very ghetto parking lot, when I had my epiphany.

Adulthood. Is. Terrible. It's terrible. And there is no going back....

This realization had been kind of stewing in the back of my brain for about a month with the responsibilities of new college, new job and my future all piling up on me. But that moment standing over the salsa covered pavement was where it all came together and smacked me in the face.

Really, it literally felt like I'd been slapped in the face with this newfound knowledge. It's the best way I can describe it, some spirit of wisdom floated down and smacked me upside the head.

In retrospect, knowing that adulthood is horrific has actually made it easier to cope. Because there's no expectations being shattered. To me at least it's less traumatizing to walk through a minefield when you know it's a minefield and you aren't expecting a field of daises. So overall I would say it was a necessary and ultimately helpful growing experience.

But it still really sucked.

*I was inspired to write this after reading Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce in which he deals with this same topic in a much more articulate and poetic way than I just have. I was also inspired by his study of the "epiphany" moments in life in Dubliners.*