filling in the blank.

i'm going to turn twenty-four in just over a month.

my mom said her scary-age was twenty-five.


well, it's not my scary-age. this much i know.

and yet it's the first age that causes some...trepidation.


not so young anymore. i mean, well, yes of course twenty-four is young. it's so young.

but its not young-young.

and because my life seems to have no direction, maybe that makes the number a little older. if i was twenty-four and in law school, the number would be younger.

does this make sense?

the ironic thing about this number--this age--causing any fear is that for two or three months now i've been telling people that i'm twenty-four.

its not that i'm fibbing, im just forgetting.

i keep forgetting that i'm twenty-three and keep thinking i'm twenty-four.

i'm talking in circles.

when my mom was here just before i left for australia, we were sitting in my old bedroom surrounded by boxes and mess and not a door to be found and i was relaying a friend's story.

she was working in a restaurant one night when a gentleman ever so slightly older (mid to late thirties, early forties maybe) asked her how old she was.


twenty-three? he responded. wow. nothing matters in your twenties. everything you think is important isn't. enjoy this time and the prospect of just how much time is ahead of you.

my mom listened patiently and then said, well, that's easy for a man to say.

excuse me? i somewhat screeched (the feminist in me reeling).

well, women don't have all the time in the world. it's much harder to have children when you reach a certain age.

there it was. amidst the mess, in the middle of my life in boxes, my mom was giving me the i-want-to-be-a-grandmother-some-day-speech.

and as it was happening i had a million thoughts including all those that would negate just exactly what she was saying. but the one that stuck with me was: oh, this is it, this is one of those once-in-a-life moments. like the first sex talk. or the first (and only time) you make out with a random guy standing on top of the bar counter. i now get to check this off the list.

my mom knows its gonna be a while before i come through with a wee one. but i like knowing that she wants me to have a child. i like knowing that she wants to be a grandmother--that she wants me to experience the thrill of motherhood.

there are moments in your life that age you.

i was in the what-must-have-been-400th-hour on my journey to Oz, one hour away from landing, when i pulled out the visa i'd need to present to customs.

and there it was:

regular occupation _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

with the customary blank boxes calling out for my penmanship. and an answer.

regular occupation?

for the first time in my life i couldn't pencil in "student" and i sure as hell wasn't going to put "hostess".

actor? no that's not right either. not now at least. maybe in the future.

and so i sat there, blank boxes taunting me.

i suppose that's what i want now.

an answer. a response.

i want to be twenty-four with direction.

then it might not be so scary.

_ _ _ _ W R I T E R _ _ _ _ _

that's what I put.

it was the most truthful thing i could think of.

and it may in fact be the direction i dream of.

time will tell.

and then wee ones will follow. many, many, many moons from now.