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Growth panic

It takes a long, long time to grow up. Just when you start to sort things out and make some progress toward maturity, inevitably someone wanders up and offers you a jello shot or a sexy control freak of a boyfriend or a couch to nap on, and before you know it you're back at square one.

Eventually, though, these people die or go to rehab, leaving you all alone to figure some things out, write a check to the landlord, take a shower, etc. Finally, you feel calm and satisfied and secure -- maybe for the first time in your whole life. You've done it! You're a mature, responsible adult!

That's when you notice that you're really fucking old.

[. . .]

And how will you handle old age? You'll whine about it like a big baby for the rest of your life. Yes, that's right: You got to feel mature and satisfied for a total of about three minutes there.

[. . .]

Sadly, this is all that most of us crusty old parents can hope for when our kids are young: a few split seconds of communing with a kindred spirit before the daily grind kicks in again.

[. . .]

"I'm 42, so I'm really on the decline," he tells us in a stand-up segment from the second episode. "There's never going to be another year of my life that was better than the year before it. That's never going to happen again. I've seen my best years." (Heather Havrilesky, “TV’s best new taboo-busting comedy,” Salon, 26 June 2010)

Growth panic?

Is this: "Eventually, though, these people die or go to rehab, leaving you all alone to figure some things out, write a check to the landlord, take a shower, etc. Finally, you feel calm and satisfied and secure -- maybe for the first time in your whole life. You've done it! You're a mature, responsible adult!

That's when you notice that you're really fucking old." maybe the same as this?:

Many people who have been in psychotherapy become conscious of this individuation panic and flight to external reality when they begin to grow, break free of old emotional patterns and start to feel their freedom. These fears can be characterized as an all-pervasive growth panic that traumatized individuals (nearly everyone) constantly carry around during their daily lives. Masterson quotes one of his patients:

“I was walking down the street and suddenly I was engulfed in a feeling of absolute freedom. I could taste it. I knew I was capable of doing whatever I wanted. When I looked at other people, I really saw them without being concerned about how they were looking at me...I was just being myself and thought that I had uncovered the secret of life: being in touch with your own feelings and expressing them openly with others, not worrying so much about how others felt about you.

Then just as suddenly as it came, it disappeared. I panicked and started thinking about the million things I had to do at the studio, of errands I needed to run after work. I began to feel nauseous and started sweating. I headed for my apartment, running most of the way. When I got in, I felt that I had been pursued. By what? Freedom, I guess.”

It is this manic flight to action a flight that is a defense against growth panic that is the emotional source of much of social behavior. (Lloyd DeMause, Emotional Life of Nations)

- - - - -

Self-sabotage?

And is this: "It takes a long, long time to grow up. Just when you start to sort things out and make some progress toward maturity, inevitably someone wanders up and offers you a jello shot or a sexy control freak of a boyfriend or a couch to nap on, and before you know it you're back at square one." really cover for our own actual desire / need for self-sabotage, that is, this:

If a man and woman who are infected by this attitude fall in love, and the attitude itself will not prevent them from falling in love, they will find a way to bring their experience back into alignment with their self-concept, with their view of "the way things really are": for example, facing one another across a dinner table, feeling joyful and contented, one of them suddenly can't stand it and starts a quarrel over nothing or withdraws and becomes mysteriously depressed. At this moment of their existence, happiness is not a dream but a reality. Joy is not a fantasy or an aspiration but a fact. That is unbearable. First of all, they don't deserve it. Second, it can't last. Third, if it does last, something else terrible will happen. They feel: "Let me out of here, I can't stand this!' After an ecstatic experience of lovemaking, one partner may crack an inappropriate joke, or leap out of bed without any emotional transition, or say something gratuitously critical and estranging, or withdraw and become depressed, or escape into sleep when he or she is not tired—as if the strain of joy and intimacy has become too much to endure. (Nathaniel Branden, Honoring the Self)

Link: TV's best new taboo-busting comedy (Salon)

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