Thirtysomething

I have lived here for almost four years now. I grew up here, but naturally left to seek my fortune when it was time to go to college, run away to California, go to grad school, start a business, etc. etc. So I lived elsewhere, mostly in small cities of a progressive bent, for all of my adult life up until four years ago, when I moved back here.

I love it here. I love the natural beauty that I am surrounded with on a daily basis. I love the quiet contemplation that comes from so many days and nights drenched in fog and rain. I love toughing out storms with bags of candles, waterproof matches, flashlights, and a campstove. I’m starting to educate myself about the local flora, and can now refer to certain trees and shrubs on my daily walks by name.

I love self-important town committees, and old cranks that monopolize the microphone at town meeting. I love town meeting! I love the local rags that keep us informed on whose dog barks too much, whose fence is taller than the town bylaw says it can be, whose seven-year-old daughter is cutting off her hair for the benefit of chemo patients.

Over the last few years, I have weaned myself away from one profession and into another. Now I am able to support myself largely through freelance work that is entirely independent of the seasonal fluctuations that plague the economy here. For a little extra money, and for fun, I work part-time in theater. So I’ve got a really terrific balance — I’ve got home-based work that pays the bills and even uses my over-educated brain in interesting and useful ways, and I’ve got a compelling reason to leave the house on a daily basis, one that involves me intensely in the community and with people of many ages, experiences, and attitudes.

What I still miss — and intensely so — is the network of my peers that I so enjoyed in the cities I used to live in. Where the hell are the thirty-year-olds? Well, to the extent that they are here at all, I believe they are busy making babies. I like babies fine — quite a great deal, actually — but I don’t have any right now, and I’m not particularly planning on having any in the near future. So I don’t travel in the same circles such people do (school, scouts, youth sports, etc.), and thirty-somethings with babies are generally way too busy to make new friends anyway (with one notable, bloggy exception, of course, Nita…), and I grant them that. Babies are very time-consuming, and I fully respect that.

I guess the people I’m looking for, the folks my age who have maybe traveled a bit, maybe gone to school a bit(formally or informally), folks who are maybe the merest bit progressive in their views politically and socially, I guess they still live in those small, progressive cities that I so recently forsook for the natural beauty and relative isolation of Cape Cod.

I like having friendships with people of different ages and experiences, but sometimes I just miss hanging out with my particular tribe, you know?

I feel myself falling irrevocably out of touch with what indie/underground bands are doing these days. I know fewer artists than I used to. I want to take a night class in something strange and fascinating, like pre-modern Japanese poetry, or South American Queer identity theory.

I want somebody to make me a mix tape of the conversations I haven’t been having, I want to hang a collage in my bedroom of all the art I haven’t seen, I want to thumb through the class catalogue of a hypothetical university nearby that I could take public transportation to, and to peruse the take-out menus of restaurants serving food I can’t pronounce. I want to buy a pair of knee-high boots I can’t really afford and wear them with a skirt that’s too short for my thickening legs and walk down the block to a dinner party where I will roll my eyes good-naturedly when someone mentions Derrida, as I help pass around the appetizers and flirt harmlessly with other happily partnered-off people.

Can I do all that here? Wonderful. Because I have planted over a hundred bulbs in my front yard, and they will bloom in the spring, but meanwhile there is this winter to get through, and I haven’t met you yet.

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