Tuesday, August 25, 2015

P.S. You're Not Old

I had a conversation today with my oldest friend (and by oldest, I mean the friend who has been around the longest—since our angst-filled middle school years) and it sparked something in me, something that I think goes through the minds of everyone and seems to start a little after you graduate college and enter "the real world."

When you're 21/22, you feel like you're on top of the world. Hell, you think you're on top of the world even before that, but even more naively so. I've heard it said many times that your college years are the best years of your life. There was even a show called "The Best Years" that focused on a girl in college (anyone remember that on The N?!) I always got so angry when I heard that, though, because first of all, at the time, I thought my college years sucked. As I look back on them now, I yearn to go back way too often, wondering if they really were in fact the best years of my life and I took it for granted. Spoiler alert: they weren't. My best years are still to come. And maybe even my worst years (please no haha). Who knows!

It is so easy to get trapped in this mindset because once we graduate college, we are hurdled into what everyone loves to call "the real world" and with that comes a wave of responsibilities that coincide with all the fun and adventure being sucked out of your life. I'm only 24 years old and I'm already seeing fellow peers getting married, engaged, having babies, getting promotions at work, moving cross-country, etc. It's hard to take a look around your world and think that you're still young, because so many of us are doing such "adult" things.

Part of my conversation with my friend today involved a lot of reminiscing, especially since due to certain circumstances, we're both back in our home town. As we talked about the high school kids of today (and thought about our own high school experience) I got to saying, multiple times, "GOD we're so old." And at that point I'm pretty sure Kate wanted to smack me in the face, because in her eyes we're not old, we're still just babies. And she's right.

We're still in our twenties. We still have years to make more mistakes and learn from them. We still have years to experience new things, meet new people, live in new places. We still have time to figure out what exactly it is that we want to do. We have all the time in the world. Just because we're done with college and expected to do all these things (thank you, society, for all that pressure), doesn't mean we have to. And just because you're 24 and already married and having babies and living your dream life, that doesn't mean you're old either. You still have so much ahead of you, both good and bad. We all do.

I'm done thinking my friends and I have gotten "so old" especially because I know ten years from now I'll look back at this time period and think "What was I thinking! I'm so old NOW!" (Which by the way I won't because I very much plan to implement this new mentality ASAP). If I keep thinking the way I do, then I'm not going to enjoy life. I'm not going to enjoy my twenties and all the upheaval it brings. Because no, we can't drink like we're tanks anymore and we can't go on reckless adventures (or more so don't want to because we've become "responsible" and all that). But that doesn't mean we have to stop having fun. It doesn't mean we can't go on any adventures. It doesn't mean we have to become a corporate drone, and live just to work and get by.

There's no one answer that will satisfy everyone's question of how exactly you do any of the above. For some of you, it may mean you travel—see the world, meet new people, experience new things. For some of you it means picking up a new hobby and/or doing something you never in a million years thought you would do. For others it may simply mean starting your own family, because of course that's an adventure in itself. Some of you may find that simply hanging out with old friends can do the trick. Remembering old memories and making new ones. The answer/solution is different for everybody. The important part is that you get out there and DO something. Get out there and live. Don't get stuck in the past.

When I say that 24 is not old, I also mean that 34 isn't old—neither is 44, 54, etc. It's never too late to change your life. It's never too late to do something new. Sometimes we get too stuck in the past. It's okay to get nostalgic, but don't let it run your life. I say this as someone whose been this way for a very long time. I rarely enjoy the present because I'm stuck in the past (or worried about the future... can I get an amen? Ha.) But I'm trying really hard to change that about myself, and I hope you can, too.

[Kate and I years from now, obviously still complaining about stupid people]

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