A few nights ago, for some complicated reason, I got an itch to watch thirtysomething. I haven’t seen an episode for years, and so I fired up the video player and dove in. Last night as the wind whipped around my house and the world banged against my hermit crab shell I spent three hours curled up with Gob in front of the happy Christmas lights watching.
The show first came out when I was a Junior in High School. I had just gotten my driver’s license, was just getting started in life. The people in their mid- to late-thirties seemed like an awfully remote constellation. Like a constellation they hovered over while I figured out where I was going to college (even though it was a foregone conclusion there was some usual drama with visitations and interviews), that I couldn’t be with my high school boyfriend forever, that I really loved legal theory and wanted to be a lawyer, that I was leaving home for the first time. They were still hovering when I fell in real love, got engaged, got married.
I come from a big, close-knit family and have a habit of latching onto surrogate families in TV shows and books to round out my complement of people. The thirtysomething crowd was the first of several TV clans that I folded into my own life. They were also a shadow play of married people who were not my parents and like any idiot I spent a lot of time assuming that life actually looked like their world.
It freaked me out last night to realise as I started the Pilot episode that I am now OLDER than everyone on that show. I’ve passed that point in my life while they’re still stuck there like the dying stars on the edge of the galaxy.
When I used to watch the show in syndication back in the 90s (It ran on Lifetime…naturally) I’d get all envious that I didn’t have a circle of friends and a pile of nice clothes and a job that made sense and a happy baby whose life all the adults revolved around.
I said yesterday on Facebook that Covetousness was one of my big sins, and I’m not kidding. I spent years coveting the lives and posessions of other people. I didn’t realise until rewatching the show last night that as God has worked on me about healing my spirit of envy and coveting I have become a content person. Well, scratch that. I did realise I was content, but I didn’t realise how much my envy for make-believe people had played into my DIScontentedness.
It’s funny, because as I write this it occurs to me that I don’t have a pile of nice clothes because I’m comfortable in sweats and jeans and t-shirts and I’d rather spend that money on books. I don’t have job at all, really, unless you count keeping my family together and happy and whole. I don’t have a baby. And yet I’m ridiculously happy. Beyond happy, I’m content. I do have the circle of friends and I value them dearly. If you’re reading this you are most likely in that circle.
Where am I going with this? Well, I guess the thesis of this post, novelly stuck at the end, is that I gave up on the Circle Game. I may be captive on the carousel of time, but I don’t have to ride the painted pony that goes up and down like everyone else’s. I can stand on my own two feet, wincing at the arthritis and wobbling with the motion. But I’m happy doing things my way.