backing up

the only thing better than experiencing rites of passage is experiencing them again.  most people get their driver’s license in their mid to late teens — and i’m no exception.  when i was 18, i got my license and enjoyed my next 15 years of driving.  but when i moved into the city, my car became such a burden, i got rid of it.  the only time i even used the car was when i was moving it from one street to another to avoid getting tickets on street sweeping days.  my license eventually expired and i used my passport as ID for the next 6 years or so. 

it became evident that i still needed a driver’s license when my 23 year old assistant had to do all the driving on business trips.  after much public ridicule, i decided to get a driver’s license again.  late last year, i took the written test (and ACED it in 42 seconds, thankyouverymuch — which i think is a record).  at 39 years old, i proudly posessed a DC learner’s permit.  a friend loaned me her car and my boyfriend took me out for practice drives.  and today, i took the road test and am once again a legally licensed driver. 

so here i am, approaching 40 and getting my driver’s license like i’m sweet 16.  it occurred to me that i’ve been in reverse through life stages for the last decade or so.  in my early 30s, i reached the apex of my adulthood when my ex and i bought a 4 bedroom house in the burbs, where we lived with 2 cats and our slowly dying relationship.  we commuted 2 hours to work every day and spent quiet evenings at home, pretending like we were happy.  i wore suits, heels and hose with trendy handbags and a briefcase.  my greatest joy was finding that perfectly functional and aesthetic coffee table or a sale on mulch.  my weekends were spent raking leaves, cleaning gutters or drywalling.  shopping became a sport as i tried to fill that big house with stuff.  in the end, there wasn’t enough stuff to fill the house.  and there wasn’t enough love to resuscitate our dead relationship.

after 3 years, he was gone and i was working full time while finishing my master’s degree.  in need of positive cash flow, i took in roommates, making the house more like a grouphouse.  after a couple years, i sold the house, moved into an apartment in the city and traded my car for a shiny red huffy bike.  my commute went from a 2 hour drive-bus-metro combo to a 10 minute bike ride.  

in 2004, i moved to an even smaller studio apartment, roughly the size of my parents’ living room.  now, my greatest joy is exploring the city and i spend nights and weekends doing whatever the hell i want.  heels and hose have been replaced with vans and jeans.  a smart and functional messenger bag has taken the place of those trendy handbags.  in place of a dead relationship, i now have a vibrant, riotous ruckus of a relationship.  i have morphed into a 9 year old.

miraculously, i made it through adulthood and lived to tell about it.  proceed with caution.  it’s not for everyone. 



April 2008
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