Nobody likes you when you’re 23. (A Blink 182 reprise)

I hate the term 20-somethings. 

It’s almost as bad as “tweens” though I suppose not quite as bad as “over-the-hill”.

It’s a hallmark card reject.

Some double-speak from 1984.

Our entirety of existence summed up in a clichéd #hashtag.

Someday they’ll write a documentary about us, the age of the 20-somethings! The tweeting-stagraming-facebook-stalking demographic who lived at home and blacked out at the occasional happy hour (Sorry, we’re like not sorry teehee). Oh what a doomed group of individuals. All they want to do is go to brunch and online shop. Tragic.

…Ohemmgeee, I love that new Kesha song! 

We’re at that weird stage in our lives where we want desperately to be taken seriously and at the same time, desperately defiant about how immature we clearly still are. We’re all Peter Pans, crossing our arms and declaring we’re never going to grow up each and every weekend.

But Monday comes around and we don’t roll over and miss it. We don’t think.. I’ll go on Tuesday. We get up. We go to work. And we do it for five days in a row. And then we leave work and drive to the gym. Do our 25 minutes cardio, buy new lightbulbs for the living room lamp and go to bed mindlessly adding items to our online shopping cart from Crate and Barrel as the white noise of the tv plays in the background. And we turn off all the lights because electricity is expensive as shit. And we go to sleep. And it’s not even midnight. 

And, just like that….. we’re grown-ups!!!!!

Sort of. 

Growing up isn’t something you just buy a few responsible items (…WHY ARE MATTRESSES SO EXPENSIVE?!), develop a 9-5 routine, declare your own independence, maturity and intellect on the world and bam– instant adulthood.

Right. No. Sorry. Wrong.

I think one of the biggest things I’ve learned recently is that everyone has to grow old, but that doesn’t mean everyone grows up.

Because here’s something they don’t tell you as a kid. Our parents are supposed to be our role models for wrong and right.  Our bosses are supposed to be examples of outstanding upright business conduct. Our politicians are supposed to be representatives of clean moral execution. Models in magazines are supposed to be examples of positive body image. Sports players are supposed to demonstrate favorable sportsmanship.

They’re supposed to be.

And that’s about where that little youthful fairytale ends. 

I’m 23 years old.

Sometimes I think that’s old. For example, when I realize Justin Bieber was born in 1994. Other times, I feel desperately uninformed, naive, and stupid. Just put me in a car seat and strap a bonnet on my head, because Meg, you’re 5 and you know nothing. 

Since moving to LA, I’m usually told I’m the latter of the two. Which is fun sometimes. Because I’m 23 bitches! There’s lots of room for lots of mistakes between now and being a grown-up! I’m going to make sure every bad decision is actually bad so I’m going to screw up in the same way several times from different angles just to be absolutely sure that it is not the correct way of going about things. And then? When I mess up for the 700th time? No biggie! I’m 23! It’s chill. YOLO.

However, most of the time, it’s not in that way. It’s in the, “Meg, you don’t understand. You’re so young.” It’s like my youth is an insult. A conversation ender. The cut-off. My age thrown in my face to shut me up. Silly youthful girl with silly youthful dreams and ambitions.  The end of discussion. The royal flush. The check mate. Because I can’t argue that. I AM 23. I am young. I guess there’s nothing else to say. So, I just smile and nod. You’re right. I don’t understand. Strap me in. Where’s my pacifier?

…To me, learning has an endless curve, and I’m only as wise as I am today, but less-so than tomorrow. BUT. Because no one is here now to correct me, to remind me– I think I’ll casually step on a soap box and say a few words. To my fellow almost-adults. To my peer pledges, to my friends who still get stuck bound and gagged at the kids table, listen up. 

Age is but one factor in growing up. As I said before, we all grow old, but maturity, responsibility, logic and common sense– I believe there’s a little more to these than just simply growing old. I think we are all innately given a certain level of maturity. And from there it becomes a matter of how we learn from experiences and how we grow from situations that happen to us that ultimately mature us. Give us wisdom.  And age, in my opinion, has very little to do with that. 

Don’t believe me?

I’m looking up to the adults of the world now. Because here’s what I know. What I’ve learned. From you. It’s wrong to cheat. It’s wrong to steal. It’s wrong to lie. It’s wrong to murder. Yet, people twice my age, triple my age, people we elect as our leaders–people we have govern our country, our schools, our families! do it every single day, and they do it often without batting an eye. Make the same mistake over and over again. Gamble away their savings. Lie to the people they love. Break up homes. 

We grow up in the matrix. We grow up thinking in solid black and white. But eventually, you realize right and wrong is fluid. Our actions ripple several shades of grey around us. I think some people never learn this. I think some people read it like a book they never stomach. I think some people skim above it knowing it exists but prefer a world where that’s not the case, regardless if that world really exists or not. Ignorance is bliss, my fellow Peter Pans. 

I think we grow up in little pieces. Little puzzle pieces that make up our lives. In disappointments. In failures. In huge accomplishments. In feelings.  In great victory. In heartbreaking defeat. 

But it is not our age that helps us put it together. It is our ability to learn. To adapt. To change. 

Simply? You don’t wake up one day, buy a plunger, eat three balanced meals, learn how to drink responsibly and declare yourself a fully fledged son-of-a-gun grown up. Yet… that’s what they’d have you believe. 

But I think… maybe growing up isn’t that simple. Maybe being an adult isn’t as finite as society would have us believe. Maybe there’s more to it. Maybe.

Or maybe…

I’m just a naive, innocent, bright-eyed little girl from the midwest. 

Because I’m 23.

I’m only as smart as I am today, a little less-so than tomorrow. 

But I’m also the future.

So maybe you should let me finish. 

M

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3 thoughts on “Nobody likes you when you’re 23. (A Blink 182 reprise)

  1. nick says:

    I’m 23 but I don’t think that I’m young. Me and my friend who is 23 built second fastest grown website ever rippln.com. I make decisions that affects millions of $ every day. Add to it that 4 years ago I crossed the ocean and learned English a year ago. I also brought my family and my parents now lives at my place. 23 is not time for mistakes, you are completely adults and no excuses or weekends. If you would be in an army you might already been killed by that age somewhere in foreign country.

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