Maturity for $300 Alex

I’d say I’ve come a long way from being a shitty 19-year-old. I partook of recalling a riveting tale of my college years for a friend of mine. I’ve probably told this story about 50 times because it’s in the top 5 of my collegiate shenanigans. As I was telling it, I felt sort of disgusted with myself a little bit. Some parts were certainly not crowning achievements by any means and that feeling gets more familiar with each retelling. Something that never happened prior. Dare I say it: I think I’m maturing, ever so slightly. Well maybe not slightly. There’s definitely a crevasse between 19 and 27, but it’s more palpable among my near-thirty/dirty-thirty peers. And that’s just a passing instance of self-reflection and “oh my god I was a terrible human being” type revelation.

Patience and maturity aren’t mutually exclusive, but there’s certainly a correlation between the two. How they’re connected varies for each person though for me it seems the more “mature” I feel myself to be, the less time I spend entertaining bullshit. Or maybe it’s the other way around. In any case, that’s not to say having patience precludes being a fully developed individual. There are plenty of asshats out there that get triggered by the littlest of things and have the maturity index of a tadpole.

There’s a finite amount of energy and attention I’m willing to spend on various people, hobbies, activities, and mental practices. If you ain’t with it then you gotta get. I used to hang on to threads of hope for a  lot of things and often ended up frustrated when they didn’t pan out. It was hard to contextualize why I was upset because it more often than not had nothing to do with me. It was generally outside of my control  yet I got salty. I stood in the mirror and asked myself one day “Why are you miffed? What’s the deal?” I didn’t have a legitimate answer. Then I realize what I should be focusing on: me and mine.

Incoming introspective/salty rant:

So today my dad comes storming down the steps and starts talking at me like I fucked up. He hands me this crumpled up notice from SoCal Edison asking me to look and read it. I struggle to make out the words on this terriblly wrinkled letterhead and ask him what’s the deal. He ignores my question and demands that I turn off my computer when I leave (which is infrequent as of late). Apparently we went over our allotment for electricity last month. Nevermind the fact that I’ve told him, on numerous occasions, that it uses a fraction of the electricity in this place. How about not having the thermostat at 80 most nights post 8pm? Hmm maybe get some energy efficient bulbs, turn off one of the 7 lights that are on in the living room? Oh no, no wait. I got it. Tell your wife and daughter to turn off the lights when they leave a room. Watch them savings come through fam.

I got visibly irritated. So much that I did the math on how much electricity I and my hedonistic computer use on a monthly basis. Turns out, at worst, I’m using $45 on a monthly basis. This includes the lamp in my room, my computer, my PS4 (that I rarely play), and my charging devices (phone, watch, laptop). My average consumption comes out to about $28 because my devices aren’t drawing power 20+ hours daily. In addition to this attack on my character over an energy bill I hardly should be blamed for, he spouted some other asinine things. He eventually stormed off. It was at this moment I really, really wanted to just make it an issue because I was lowkey livid. It was much more than the energy bill. I got the same vibes nearly 3 years prior when I came back the first time. Like I was intruding and being a freeloader. I already bitched about this a couple days ago, but me chillin’ does not equal lack of effort to leave this shitbox.

Anyway, I felt transported 10 years ago when he was on my head about high school and other things that didn’t matter to me. It’s surreal in a way to have that type of deja vu. Same exact unfolding of events. Suffice to say, I stewed for a bit then took a shower because fuck him for blaming me. Then it dawned on me. I might be projecting my insecurities onto the situation. Homeboy has hardly changed, but I definitely felt I was making it bigger than what it was in a way. Turning off my computer when I’m out wouldn’t be a such a big deal. I’ll just have to wait an additional 15 seconds to check reddit, big woop.

I come out the shower to a missed call and a 2 texts from pops. Turns out they went to get Tito’s Tacos and wanted to know if I was hungry for some. If he was legitimately angry with me, I doubt he would have waited in line for 45 minutes for some damn tacos. Some hours later, as I’m nerding out with my people, he drops off 6 soft baked cookies. He definitely didn’t have to do that. I just might’ve been mad over nothing; he had a point and while I didn’t agree, it wasn’t an outrageous request. Things have been relatively smooth so rocking the boat now would be kind of dumb. I claim I don’t harbor resentment nor am I bitter about our weird-ass relationship, but stress weakens that resolve from time to time. I can’t really shit on homeboy. I know some things have been going south lately.

It’s interesting because when someone talks about somebody being mature or even about how they’ve matured (“ma toured” as my bougie paternal figure would say), they’re speaking about habits they’ve adopted or abandoned. Rarely is it in response to a shift in an outlook on life or a mental re-evaluation. Some use “grown-out-of “and “matured from” interchangeably, but I don’t think they’re synonymous. You can grow out of sucking your thumb, smoking weed, or making claws out of Bugle chips (why would you though?), but that doesn’t impart maturity. I think growing out of a habit can be the result of maturity sure, but the opposite seems shallow. I believe true maturity to be a conscious decision, based on internal introspection and external necessity, a person chooses to enact.

I’m not going to stop making Bugle chip claws because somebody told me it looked stupid. I’m going to stop because I realized they’re not that great and there are much better options in a snack. I’ll understand the fun factor and nostalgia is the reason I keep buying these average chips, not the taste. On top of that, nobody in my household eats the chips because they’re not good. They’d rather have some tasty chips. I’m being a selfish jerk by stocking the pantry with entertainment instead of sustenance. This is a conscious choice I’m going to make on behalf of other people, not just me. I understand the bigger picture and wish to contribute meaningfully to it, so I gotta be a team player. I drop the Bugle chips as a result of understanding the impact of buying shitty novelty chips. Delicious maturity on deck y’all.

Between the tacos, cookies, and me reconciling happened so quickly, I had to step back a bit. 4 years ago, this would have been a big issue for me. I would have left and not come back for weeks. But here I am, brushing shit off and taking responsibility, unheard of. Something in me certainly matured. Whatever it is, I hope it hangs out for a bit. It just might be the key to surviving this chapter. Or maybe I just don’t give a shit anymore. Probably that. No profundity here folks, move along.