I realized something tonight. I’m old. I may not be old in number, but I am old in spirit. By nine each night, I’m ready to wind down and get in bed. It doesn’t matter where I am or what I’m doing, bed calls my name. I’m typically awake before the sun rises, most of the time without my alarm sounding. I attended a concert tonight and had to turn around more than once to ask the teenagers behind us to stop talking. Wait. What? Yeah. You read that right.
I think I’ve always been this way, though. I’ve never been a crazy partier or someone who enjoys staying up all night. I’ve never been a big drinker and I’ve never ever done drugs. It’s just not my scene. To each their own, right? It just gets me wondering where my place is, though. Here I am, twenty four years old living in the midst of a college town where, truthfully, I don’t belong. This school is not mine. This town is not mine. I cheer on Saturdays for a team I know nothing about for a school I’ve never learned a thing in. Am I a fraud? I’m afraid so.
Then I think back to my teenage years. And what scared me most tonight about the teenagers behind me was that two of the girls could have easily been me and K. And the one girl had a really rude, overbearing boyfriend. That sounds familiar enough to my sixteen year old self. And I don’t want to discredit what they’re going through and what they’re experiencing at this very moment in their lives because I’m sure to them it seems like it all matters so much. But really? I promise you it’s not going to matter four years from now who likes who, and I bet you’ll probably regret not listening to a single song of a concert you attended because you were so consumed in analyzing the situation. Have I turned into a cranky old lady who wants the racket turned down?
I remember a spring break trip in college. My buddies and I drove down to Charleston, SC for the first time in my adult life. We started the trip broken down at the entrance to my neighborhood. The car was packed to the absolute brim and nothing could get us down. We stayed in an absolute dump of a hotel, and we couldn’t have cared less. We spent entirely too much money on food and booze and we partied the entire week long. We made buddies with our Construction worker neighbor, Lee. His name and occupation, though, are all I remember of Lee if that could give you some idea of our mental mindset. We had so much fun and didn’t get into any trouble. That trip is my go to for my letting-loose-getting-crazy-college story. Recently, though, the story makes me kind of sad because now I realize how many years have passed since that crazy, fun week. I’m thankful for the friendships that have only grown an matured since that week, but can’t we, just for a little while, go back to that moment? Can’t we just pretend that we’re irresponsible 21 year olds on spring break without a care in the world?
There’s a song by Ataris that goes Being grown up isn’t half as fun as growing up. I’d say they’ve got that right.
So here’s to the teenagers who sat behind me tonight. Enjoy being young and foolish because some day you’re going to be an older version of yourself sitting on your couch after 1AM wondering where the time has gone.