Saturday, June 2, 2007

Maturity and Minor Set-Backs

When I was a teen, I was immature. And because I was immature I thought the world rotated around me. And I thought nice clothes would make me popular and if I were ‘really’ popular, everyone would love and adore me. Immaturity made me think others adore us for how we look rather than who we are.

And when I was a young wife, I was immature as well. I thought Hub’s role was to amuse me and cater to me. I thought it was a simple equation. I cater to you with my heart and you cater to me in every sensitive and material way. Immaturity made me think this way rather than understanding, that when my feet hit the floor every morning, I am solely responsible for the quality of each and every day.

And then during mid-life, I was still immature. Now plagued by an immaturity that spawned perfectionism and dilly-dallying. Immature enough to think I had to do all tasks in the recommended way. I was seriously hampered by a belief that there is only one right way to do anything. And so, with this kind of immaturity, I ended up fussing and fuming and fiddling away hours to make sure I did things the right way. If I had never done a thing, and if I couldn’t find someone who did, I didn’t attempt it. Never occurred to me that in my soul I had enough creativity and wit to do it.

But Hah! I am now mature and my maturity brings such freedom. I don’t care anymore how other people do anything. With maturity comes the wonderful new freedom that I can, as Frank Sinatra said, “do it my way”. I have only now come to realize that is what creativity is for.

And so, now I sometimes wear socks that don’t match. I use what I have and for what I don’t have, I make do. I substitute rags for brushes, emery boards for sandpaper, and in my garden – horse shit for bulb food, hollowed out stumps for brown pots. I often don’t follow recipes. Instead I use them for a rough guideline. I convert flat sheets to fitted (without pattern instructions) and I put buttonholes in the oddest places. And here we pause. I want to tell you about the buttonholes but it is a secret you must promise not to tell.

I have a lovely navy outfit I received as a gift a couple years ago. A perfect color for me with my pale face and mature graying hair. Nice fit as well. I would have loved, loved, loved it, if it were cotton, but instead the outfit was a polyester blend. So that meant it was one outfit I never intended to wear.

The problem is I can’t stand to be sealed in plastic blends that don’t breath. But the clothes were so nice and eventually the yen to wear them was greater than I could bear. So I did the mature thing. And the mature thing is not what other people do, or the recommended thing, it is just what might possibly work.

So I made four small virtually invisible buttonholes in the crotch of those pants and two in each armpit of the shirt. And guess what? With that bit of air circulation, I can wear either, or both, in complete comfort. No sweaty armpits and no sweaty…well you know. Maybe if Brittany Spears knew how to make buttonholes?…right now there would be no photo record of her without under-pants. I’m thinking her drawers must be full of lacy, nylon-blend, polyeste-weave, transparent but yet hermetically sealed underthings rather than good ‘ol simple, peon-style, cool breathable cotton knit or sacking.

Now you may think it sounds like I have reverted to a devil-may-care attitude, but I haven’t. I still want everything I do to reside within the boundaries of dignity, decorum, and reasonability. I mean, obviously, if that were not the case, I would have simply made my shirt topless, and my slacks crotchless.

But now, to get back to the topic here, if we even had one. Unfortunately, for every upside there is a downside. Yes, with maturity comes freedom but sometimes it is a freedom I don’t know what to do with.

Yesterday I dug for hours in my flower garden. I dug up dandelions and quack grass. It was backbreaking work. Now I try not to be a nag about it but I keep saying to Hub, “Please don’t blow the grass clippings toward the flower garden when you cut the grass.” (You know it and I know it but Hub isn’t convinced that grass and dandelion clippings are guaranteed to grow volumes more of the same). So I say, not often, but occasionally, “Just go around the flower bed in the other direction so the clippings are tossed unto the lawn.”

So while I cooked supper last night, Hub cut the grass – and yes, you guessed it. He cut it so all the clippings went on my freshly-turned sod. So now what?

If I was still immature I could kick him in the shins and pour Round-Up on ‘his’ lawn. If I was still immature I could throw things, smash things, or cut the belt on his lawnmower. If I was still immature, I could cuss like a trooper and stomp my feet. Even throw his supper in the garbage can. And if all else failed, if I was immature, I could cry.

But unfortunately all the foregoing possibilities are too immature for a mature lady. And crying won’t do because that act has to have a proper qualifier. Sure mature individuals cry, but only for the serious heartbreak that comes with loss – loss of people, pets, affection, love. Flower beds don’t qualify. Immature tears that once flowed freely for every frustration are now mature tears and mature tears are sparsely shed. They are for heartbreak, not minor setbacks or minor discouragement.

And so, with maturity comes freedom, but the flip side of that is with maturity there also comes a mature level of responsibility that supersedes the cleansing of mind and soul with cursing, screaming, tears, and a temper tantrum of notable proportion.

But…since…because…now…that I’m totally mature…dear oh dear, what can I do?

P.S. You’re wrong, oh so wrong. That was not a sniffle you heard. If anything I must have just caught a cold.


Anonymous said...

Man oh man, I was so hoping you had an answer. I'm so sick and tired of weeding lawn out of the gardens.

susan @ spinning

Roberta S said...

Sorry susan, I don't have a solution. Can we maybe take comfort in each other -- in the fact that we are not alone? That's two of us 'weeding lawn out of gardens'.

Pauline said...

R - let Hub weed the garden and YOU mow the lawn...

Joy Des Jardins said...

It's hard to be mature. I don't think I've gotten there yet. There are days when I KNOW I'm actually fighting against it.

I wish I had an easy answer for your garden woes Roberta; but alas, my husband didn't even mow our lawn. Does that make you feel better?

Roberta S said...

Hi pauline. For, me that is not a good idea. See the trees, see this wee small portion of the lawn (on next post) -- big lawn, BIG!

See pic..coming right up.

Roberta S said...

Nice to see you joy. Yes, being mature is hard -- sometimes.

As for this lawn, the day I have to cut it...I'm out of here. I do some cutting occasionally but there are some banks along the road that I don't do. Hub insists the mower won't tip over but I don't believe him. After all, he still thinks dandelion clippings have no germination ability.

Matty said...

I do the mowing. I enjoy it! I like the smell of it..the neat rows I make, how I take the time to remove the birdfeeders, making sure the grass gets blown away from my flowers. 2 years ago, I decided on a 'raised garden' and I never looked back. 6' x 24'..good drainage..very neat.
SO does the vacuuming! I don't enjoy it.

Matty said...

Someone told me being 'Mature' means being able to say No to I guess I'm very mature.
When I was 16 I was told I was very mature for my age.....and then when I got to be 50 I was told I acted 'so immature' at times. Oh well, as long as the grandkids think I'm okay, who cares?

Roberta S said...

matty, you raise a very good point. More important to have great fun at any age then to observe all the rules for maturity and immaturity. Thanks, as always, for your good-humoured comments.

I used to mow the lawn once in a while but then a tree got in the way. I was so sure I hadn't damaged the mower -- no broken headlights, no dents. No sense in mentioning it if there was no damage. But then, Hub kind of knew, when he couldn't open the hood cover on his new lawn mower -- hinges slightly wrinkled -- but that's another story for another day.