I was standing in line at above named store last weekend with my friend. As we were listening to the conversations of the girls in front of us, and baffled by some of the fashion trends around us, I started to feel old. My friend looked at me and asked “are we even allowed to shop here anymore?” I admit, I often feel the same way, but just can’t pass up buying a shirt that will be out of fashion in two months for $10 instead of somewhere else for three times more. And the more I started to feel old, the worse I started to feel about standing in that line and about myself.
That was, until I remembered what it was like to be that age. Sure, I had fun. I mean, a lot of fun. I had friends around all the time, I often didn’t have to be up before noon, and standing in line at Taco Bell at 4 am was a perfectly reasonable thing to do. I didn’t care about the dirty dishes in the sink, I wore t-shirts or sweatpants the majority of the day, and I never had to think about where my next meal would come from or who would cook it (hell, if I ran out of money, I could return beer cans and grab something at McDonalds).
But, there are also a lot of things I never want to do again, like clean up a stranger’s puke from my bathroom sink (happened more than once). Or wake up so hungover I actually consider that death would be a better option. Or deal with immature people, always live in filth, never really feel what true confidence is without alcohol, and spend too much time worrying about relationships with boys (yes boys, not men). My introvert self had to pretend that I was ok with sleeping on some dirty floor after a party and be ok with superficial relationships with people who were totally like my best friends because we took shots together that one time at the riv.
Now, it’s perfectly acceptable for me to want to have deeper relationships. I don’t get weird looks when I want to talk about something other than gossip or alcohol. I can spend money on things that feed me, like travel and yoga classes. I have learned that I feel better about myself when I can work out (which a hangover really prevents), when I can actually build relationships, romantic and otherwise, and when I nourish myself with real food.
People always bash getting older, and we definitely live in a society where being in your early twenties is glamorized. But, do you remember what those times were actually like? Sure you might’ve had great skin and no real responsibilities, but there was a whole lot more to it than that. With age comes something that I would never give up- and that is the realization that a deeper, truly satisfying life is possible.
So no, I don’t’ want to be forever 21. I don’t want to be forever 28 either. There is something magical that comes with every age if I choose to discover it. I don’t want to resist getting older, because it’s going to happen whether or not I want it. I’d rather move gracefully and willingly through my life and be open to what it has to offer.
4 thoughts on “On why I don’t want to be forever 21”
I have always enjoyed your writing, so I am excited that you started a blog! I have been thinking about getting older a lot lately and actually just had a very similar conversation with one of my friends here in Montenegro. I have realized that I am SO much happier, more confident, and whole than I was at 21 – and even 24. My goal is to live out each phase of my life until I am excited and ready to move onto the next. I had a great time in college – but I am having a great time now too. It looks different, but my days of running through East Lansing blacked out (and sometimes barefoot) have come to an end and, although they were fun, I am happy about that.
Thanks so much for the support and encouragement! I’ve been following your time in Montenegro and it looks incredible- It’s inspiring that you were willing to take the risk and do something scary and amazing like that. I look forward to seeing what’s in store for you next!
Oh, and a trip to Eastern Europe might be in store for me soon. I might have to get your advice on places to go.
I am interested in seeing what’s next for me as well… hopefully I will figure that out soon but, in this moment, I am working on embracing the excitement of not knowing. It can be a struggle at times!
Eastern Europe is lovely – definitely keep me posted on your plans and I am happy to contribute any tips I might have.
I had a similar train of thought the other day pulling out clothes to pack and wondering whether 28 is too old to be wearing F21 jean shorts. there are parts of college and 21 I’d love to live again, but for the most part I’d pass [especially the part about the sink… that was so disgusting.]