Confessions of an In-Between-er
By Mariah Proctor
I had a dream last night that I was being chased by a dinosaur, but, conveniently enough, someone had foreseen such a calamity and had prepared a dinosaur-proof shelter for me, fully-equipped with the basic necessities. I got inside it and saw that “basic necessities” for me included an easy chair and two copies of 101 Dalmations (one on VHS and one on DVD). Seeing that my ultimate comfort in the midst of Jurassic peril was originally aimed to tickle the fancy of an 8-year-old; I had to step back and reevaluate my stage in life and admit that I’m pretty partial to the simpler (childish) things.
By way of introduction, I am the 18 year old girl who looks forward to classic movie Monday like it’s the greatest thing since sliced bread, only to get puzzled looks and questions like “Aren’t you a little young for this movie?” That movie, by the way was A Little Princess with Shirley Temple. I guess by too young they meant I was under 60. I, like Nephi, suffer the pangs of “born-in-the-wrong decade” syndrome (Helaman 7:7). I wish I had been in my current stage of life in about 1942; unfortunately that puts my current age at about 85.
So now, we’ve got a girl with an 85-year-old inner child whose secret desire is time to just watch cartoon dogs have adventures set to catchy music. I’m an in-between-er, I still get giddy from playing hide-and-seek, but I’m not living at home any more and staying in on a Friday night to read O, Jerusalem with a cup of herbal tea actually sounds more appealing than most alternatives (I’m literally penciling it in to my calendar as we speak).
I spent all of high school wanting out and now that I’m in college (and having a great time; don’t get me wrong), I pine for the days of lockers, and a block of tiny classes right in a row, and big yellow busses (not that I ever took one; I walked). I miss the days of cafeterias and the high school drama hierarchy and guidance counselors full of goofy affirmations that actually really felt good to hear.
Not that I regret my progression into this world of actually being taken semi-seriously and eating whatever you want, only to find out that your parents were right and you shouldn’t have eaten that. I really enjoy the feeling that you can never run out of things to be learning and the world really is my oyster (gross). But I’m still not really a full adult; I don’t have much real work experience and I’m still flying solo.
I have a younger sister, whom I love dearly, and we’ve been able to spend oodles and oodles of wonderful time together full of giggling, and arguing sometimes as well. I love to talk to her about the boys that she likes, but my advice is no good to her, because she’s still in the stage where she can’t actually date them.
I have several older sisters, and though I haven’t been able to spend as much time with them—we have memories together as full of laughter and love as any memories I’ve got. But they’re married for the most part and the things that they think and talk about are not really applicable to my stage of life either.
I’m in between.
In the midst of this mini-crisis, Fried Green Tomatoes was playing on my TV, and I heard Evelyn exclaim; “I’m too old to be young and I’m too young to be old!” I identified with the comment (though I’d be mistaken in saying that I’m not in the bracket to be ultimately considered young—after all I only just garnered the right to sign my own release forms and stuff). But looking at Evelyn and looking at me, I realized that my stage is not unique.
In a way it’s silly to isolate myself as an in-between-er. When you get down to it, we’re all in that awkward space between pre-mortal life and our post-mortal existence. Nearly every stage of life comes with a longing for back then and bit of dread and excitement for what’s to come. I suppose we’re all in-between-ers, and my goal is to savor the joys and validate the lamentations of blooming where I’m planted, rather than continually throwing up my hands and waiting until I feel like I’m in the middle of a worthwhile stage, and no longer in between, to get into gear again.