Teeth and Tupperware

I floss every night. I didn’t do this as recently as two years ago. But then one day my dentist told me that not taking care of your gums is linked to heart disease. So now I floss.

I used to leave tupperware behind. If I bought lunch in a tupperware container, that container was never making it back home with me. It would be left on a kitchen drying rack for eternity, or until the office throws away all the excess tupperware that’s been collecting over the months. Whichever comes first.

I used to groan about working weekends. Now I am more or less ambivalent about it. I just see my work as something I have to do within an allotted timeframe, and if that timeframe includes weekends, so be it.

I used to get excited about traveling on airplanes. I still am to a certain degree. But more often I’m traveling to places I don’t necessarily want to be to do things I don’t necessarily want to do. So my relationship with airplanes is different, especially if they make me pay for WiFi.

I used to never have plans. Or rather, I used to make up plans at the last second. Friday night? Let’s see who we can round up and go out to the bar. Want to go away this weekend? Too late. You never planned ahead and now all the Airbnb’s are overpriced. Now I have lots of plans. Thursday after work I’m doing X, Saturday I’m doing Y, Sunday I’m doing Z in the afternoon, and then Z2 in the evening. I like having plans, but now I also appreciate not having plans. Until I’m doing nothing. Then I worry I’m not being productive.

Speaking of, I feel more anxiety now. Am I doing what I’m supposed to be doing? Is this the best use of my time? Is this career right for me? What is my life’s work? Will I leave anything behind? I think about these things a lot.

Now that I’m closer to 30 than I am to 25, I’ve had a shift in mindset. I care deeply about success, but a part of me still wants a life of travel and adventure, and those two things come in conflict with each other far too often. So I stress.

I used to not worry about my parents. Now I worry about them a whole bunch. Because as I become more of an adult, they become more like children. And the roles are reversed. And all of the sudden there is this new dynamic that is uncomfortable and unavoidable all at once.

Being uncomfortable and unavoidable is a good way to think about growing up. I still think back to the person I was and imagine that I’m not so different now, but I wonder if that’s really true. I still have weird immature thoughts, but more and more they are replaced by “responsible” thoughts. What should I prepare for this dinner party? Do I need to buy them a gift just because they got engaged? What’s the weather going to be like? I need to pick out my clothes for work.

I used to think about so many things in different ways. Teeth. Tupperware. Traveling. Work. My family. My friends. That change in mentality has been subtle but constant. You just don’t realize it. That’s time sneaking around behind you.

Lately, I’m remembering things that happened six months ago like they happened six days ago. That weekend at the beach last summer? I still remember the exact conversation we had. I feel like I’m there right now. But I’m not, and I’m never going back. The thing is, time is compressing behind me. I keep gathering information, but I have a finite amount of space to put it. So in order to keep it all sloshing around in my head, I put it in something like a zip file. When I download the zip file, it all comes rushing back—well within reach but unable to be fully grasped.

People change. People take jobs in other cities. People die, get married, break up. Some people attain wild success, others are still chasing it. Some never even figured out how to get started.

You grow apart from friends, pick up others. One guy you know checks into rehab. Another goes to war. A loved one turns their life around. You run into a buddy from high school on the street. Then you spend the rest of the day thinking about who you once were and who you are now. And if it all makes sense. It probably does.

I guess what I’m trying to say is, I never thought I’d be the kind of person who flosses every night. But it’s not so bad.

One response to “Teeth and Tupperware”

  1. You’re such a good writer, Matthew.


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