The Not So Scary Thing About Getting Older

April 23rd 2015

Story originally written and experienced: March 6th 2013

“What’s so bad about it?” 

My friend asked me while we were on the phone. I was lying in bed. Back on the mattress. Legs crossed. Head resting on a sea of pillows. And a gaze that went straight uP.

“I know. That’s what I’m trying to figure out too…I’m about a month or so away from my birthday and people keep asking me how it feels to get another year older, as if it’s a bad thing. I don’t think it’s a bad thing, right? I mean…does it have to be a bad thing?”

I remembered this night.

It was a Wednesday. And the conversation was long. And I remembered it and I remembered it a lot.

Lying in bed. In my Upper East Side apartment In New York City. 23, soon to be 24.

Wondering.

Really wondering.

Where the threshold of “youth” really came to an end.

Basically never.

Never gets old.

 

Was I ready to get older?

Would I ever be?

I rolled over in bed.

I couldn’t sleep. Not because I was stressed. Upset. Or because the night-cleaning crew of the cafe I lived above was blasting music so fucking loudly the mirrors on my wall were shaking to the holy beat of “Grillz” featuring none other than Nelly.

I couldn’t sleep.

Because.

Of that conversation. About getting older. And it being a bad thing.

And I couldn’t figure out

Why.

Is it because there’s an age limit to being ridiculous?

Our faces tire?

Because there’s an anticipated time when our expected shit is supposedly supposed to be together?

Yeah.

Maybe.

That’s fair.

In fact.

It rattles me too.

Scares me even.

______________

I rolled over.

I couldn’t sleep.

Because I was thinking about this instead:

I remember this one time in junior high. In 8th grade. I was wearing a pink sweater on my way back from science class and thinking that I liked my life, my routine, my youth and that I was happy there and I kind of wanted to stay.

But.

I had to move on. Age, credentials and the school system told me so.

So I did.

And a lot of things happened after that—sports, boys, school dances and more.

And I really liked it all a lot.

Which caused me to have the same thought when high school was nearing its end.

 I remember sitting on a bench in our cafeteria, thinking about how these were my “peak” years and wondering if things would ever really get much more irresponsible, easy and sensical than this.

I wanted to stay.

But.

I had to move on. Age, credentials and the school system told me so.

So I did.

And everything unexpected happened after that—Meandered off to college. Met some amazing people. Did some ridiculous things. Had conversations I’d never forget. Joined a sorority. Traveled everywhere. Became better. Much. Much better.

And I loved it.

But then graduation hit.

And I thought.

 This would be the end all be all. 

Of things that were truly, inevitably fun.

I didn’t want to leave.

But.

I had to move on. Age, credentials and the school system told me so.

So I did.

And I couldn’t believe what happened after that—Moved to a big city. A huge one. No money to my name. Nothing was easy. Nothing was sensical.

And everything changed.

Internships were gained. Humiliation was had. Incredible people were met. A blog was started. Vacations were booked. Friends were kept. A career was launched. Real romances sparked. And the most unexpected encounters were on a cool and constant reel.

And I think I liked it best.

I rolled over.

I couldn’t sleep.

I wasn’t on the phone with my friend anymore. We had hung up a while ago but I was still lying there. Back on the mattress. Legs crossed. Head resting on a sea of pillows. And a gaze that went straight uP.

Suddenly realizing that.

I was growing up. Had grown up. Or was certainly on my way.

And for the first time.

Potentially ever.

I was more than willing to admit that.

I kind of wanted to keep going.

Because the thing is.

Life doesn’t give us a pause button.

Never has. Never will.

Good.

Because what’s the thrill of turning 21 forever? If you’re 21…forever?

The way I see it is.

Playing tag in your backyard was once the epitome of a thrill. And then that shifted into learning someone else’s body parts >> segued into drinking games and somewhere along the way you >> gained credentials that took you to one hell of a career.

Couldn’t do that all if we stayed 13. 18. 21. Or any age at all.

We get older because we have to.

It’s a privilege to.

Because we’d miss out on a whole hell of a lot if we decided not to.

Better adventures—the best companions—more money—greater respect—a cooler car.

And I think if we thought about it that way we’d realize that:

Getting older?

Really. And truly.

Isn’t so bad.

Not so bad at all.