Okay I’m not 23, but I’ll get to the point.
So, I wrote about this before, but I had another thought about it last night. I was working on a floorset with about 10 other people all of whom are seven to three years younger than me. The three years doesn’t sound like that big of a difference, but when your priorities don’t match up, and you realize that neither do your ideas of a good time do either, it’s a big difference. We took a break for “lunch” at 3 AM and I rode to McDonald’s with two other girls. One of them had just graduated high school, was in her freshman year of college and part of a sorority. She’s super sweet, but the things she said made me laugh a little. After listening to her and the other girl carry on a conversation about things I had absolutely no interest in or could relate to other than “I remember when I did that…6 years ago”, I realized how much of a difference there is between 25 and 19. The two of them were talking about boys. Since I couldn’t involve myself in the conversation and realized I had no interest anymore in the exploits of the single life, I simply observed their conversation with a slight amazement. Don’t laugh, I know I’ve only been married a year, but I realized that after you take a big step like that you start looking at things differently. Things you see single people do that you think “Did I act like that?” It’s a mating ritual that is just as fascinating to watch as the mating ritual of two monkeys. The courtship, the hope, the overreacting, the feeling of endless love. So anyway, I observed. The girl driving, sorority girl, said “He’s just this guy that I’m kind of maybe talking to but I don’t know if we are” Now, she didn’t say “I don’t know if we’re dating” she said she didn’t know if they were talking or not.
For the rest of the car ride all it was all I could do not to ask “So how do you not know if you’re talking to someone?” just to be a smart ass, but I realized I used to use the same wording. So, I held my comments in.
This whole situation led me to wonder when my wording changed from “I’m sort of talking to this one guy, but I don’t know” to “There’s this guy that I’m interested in” to “I may actually want to settle down” and it happened somewhere between 19 and 23 I think. At age 23 was I realized I couldn’t do certain things anymore, not because of my age really (maybe partly but not totally), but more because that wasn’t who I was anymore. For instance, my 23rd birthday, we went to the bar, I had one too many shots, left before midnight and woke up with one hell of a hangover. That was the first time I uttered the words “I’m too old for this.” Maybe not out loud, but to myself. And while that might sound ridiculous, isn’t that about when it starts? When you start not being able to stay up too late and when you start realizing that hangovers occur far too easily. Two years earlier, I had the same extravaganza, woke up from the aftershock of my 21st birthday and was fine. At 23, you’re in that awkward stage between 21 and 25 wondering “What now?” It’s when you start realizing there actually is a difference between yourself and the person that just turned 21, the person that just graduated high school.
As people age, more and more they like to say “It’s the (whatever number) anniversary of my 21st birthday” I say, to hell with that. I’m going to celebrate my 23rd year as my forever birthday. Things were hopeful, I realized I was growing up, and while it seems like a bit of a drag to realize you can’t go out every single night and get shit hammered like you used to, your goals in life change. I know not every person is like that and I’m just making a general assumption. I know some 30-year-olds that are about as mature as a 20-year-old. Then again I know some 20-year-olds that are more mature than their peers.
Truth is I am still in that awkward stage. I want to hold onto my youth and tell myself I can still pull an all nighter and drink until 4 am. Every once in a while I surprise myself and do it without thinking. I’ve been watching a lot of “How I Met Your Mother” and the episode where Barney sets out to do everything on the Murtaugh list and Ted decides to do the opposite and act like an old man. We’re in the in between stage. We may not be able to do everything we could when we were 16, but we’re also no where near allowed to say “I’m too old for that shit.” Though I am guilty on multiple occasions of using that line, but with good reason I think.
Point is, people change. Life changes. And that’s a beautiful thing. Whatever juncture you’re at in your life, you should cherish it. One day you’ll be able to look back and say “remember when…” or defy age by saying “I’m not too old to do that!” Whatever the case may be, don’t live your life wishing you had done this or that or had not done this or that. Growing up sucks, but maybe it’s not that bad.
So, for today, I’m 23. Maybe I’ll be 23 next year too. Guess we’ll see