Strike That Word

The other day I re-read some of my recent posts and I was disturbed — well, that might be too strong a word, but bear with me — by the number of times I’ve made self-deprecating remarks along the lines of how I feel like I’m behaving like a teenager these days. Why should I be using that word to describe the fact that I’ve been feeling happy, hopeful, and more open and willing to consider measured risks? Recently I’ve allowed myself to positively glow at the simplest delights, not worried as much about having to project the image (or construct) I have in my mind of how a 42-year-old adult should behave. So, I now ask myself, what the heck is the matter with that?

Thus I hereby renounce to stop dismissing my buoyant mood as immature, as my use of the word “teenager” implies. Back in June when I wrote that series of posts that was really about finally convincing myself that the time has come for me to leave Nova Scotia, I reflected on how I felt I should have the balls to pursue goals and dreams with the same zest I had nearly 25 years ago. In other words, I was embracing — and perhaps idealizing a bit — the verve and optimistic outlook I had in my teen years. So am I trying to suck and blow at the same time, or what? Do I in fact not believe in my own words?

Now it’s true that back when I was writing those posts, if you had told me I would be spending the following Christmas in Mexico City to be with a man with whom I’d fallen hopelessly in love, I would have given you the Maurice look of incredulity. I’m the first to admit that the speed and suddenness (not to mention the recentness) of El Poema’s entry into my life can raise a few eyebrows. But I don’t really care, for because I’m not a teenager — in fact, it may come as a surprise to you — NOT! — that have been around the block several times — I can recognize that what I feel for El Poema, and what he represents to me, is unlike anything I’ve ever experienced. To wit, I’ve been truly in love only once before.

I recognize the difference by my lack of reserve, whereby in the past I would hold back as if I was keeping an eye open for more or, quite simply, for the other shoe to drop. Moreover, I recognize it by how I can say the “L” word to him and not have that little invisible devil that only I can see on my shoulder poking me on the side of the head as if to say, “Are you sure you want to put that word out there?” It’s the inner voice of experience speaking, not that of a teenager. And I recognize that, too.