Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Over the Hill

I imagine myself on the "highway" of life, with freedom to move around (mostly forward, I hope) and even take a path off the main road from time to time. This is probably a very Western view - that I have so much control. I'm not upset about this reality, but today I envisioned myself in more of a narrow corridor where life is the thing doing the navigating and I really have no choice but to follow its course. This occurred to me as I realized all the times I've considered myself different or even above the habits and rituals of aging (or more precisely, those more aged than me) and the same number of times I've been proven wrong.

Harold and Maude, my favorite young-old people. 

I wonder what it's like for older people to read along as I come to these conclusions and if they try and remember what it was like NOT to know what I have only just figured out. Like I said before, I don't really resent the fact that I'm not in control as much as I used to, and perhaps that's the first part of being an adult - you stop being enraged when you realize that you're powerless. Instead, you just adjust your path (or rather, your thoughts or feelings about THE path) to best accommodate what you can't change.

I've written about getting older in terms of appearance and wisdom before, but in the past few months I've had a few realizations that really made having "arrived" at adulthood come in to focus. I'm currently 24, and I've heard that 25 is the big shift, so it looks like we're right on track. It doesn't feel bad or sad to be getting "old", but the shift is noticeable and it does feel kind of strange. I didn't expect for there to be such palatable changes, nor for them to happen so early. It doesn't seem to have come because of having children, either. I wasn't feeling this way last year, and it doesn't feel like very long ago that I felt like a high-schooler mascarading as an adult. Which leads me to realization number 1...

1. Time is a black hole. The things I think of as having happened "last summer", actually happened four years ago. The Sandy Hook shooting happened in 2012!!! What?! Lupita Nyong'o won an Oscar 3 cycles ago instead of in the previous cycle. See also, movies that "just came out", aka I've been to the theater about twice in the last three years.

2. My taste in music has ceased to evolve. I peruse the new releases every week and my response is, "what is this junk?!" I now know what "mom's music" is going to be when my boy's tell their friends: the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, the Killers, the Shins, Modest Mouse... I do listen to a wide range (including more current music), but those are some of the bands that will remind me of "being young".

Karen O of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, literally the coolest pregnant woman of all time. 

3. Fully cognisant human beings don't remember 9/11. Something about 9/11 came up at the dinner table the other night and my 16 year old sister referred to "the bombs" (not planes). Freshman in high school today were not even born when 9/11 happened!

4. I'm no longer the person with all the answers about technology. How does Snapchat work? Does ANYONE know? Does anyone that I know know? Do I care?

5. I no longer think being stuck in my ways is entirely negative. I highly value the ability to change ones mind, but I find myself with solid and lasting views on spiritual and political topics and I don't worry about whether they're unpopular to voice in public. Andddd... I am loving this!

I hardly recognize myself! (image

6. I'm now as old as people who I used to think were old. I recently met up with an old youth leader of mine and was startled to realize that when I met her 11 years ago, she was 24. Even though I'm writing all of this, I still feel unsure about a lot of things in my life, but I thought my then-24-year-old leader was as adult as they came! Also, 50 is no longer old to me, 90 is old.

7. "Those snatched eyebrows? So sus, she must be turnt to try and throw shade at me like that!" If you didn't understand that at all, don't worry, I had to study for like 20 minutes to translate it into: "Those amazing looking eyebrows? So suspect, she must be drunk to try and dis me like that". Not that that makes any sense either, I'm just trying to illustrate that when my brothers visit on school breaks, I don't know half the words they're saying anymore. My slang is stuck in it's own era. I don't swear around my mom, so I say "cool" a lot.

8. Famous people are now younger than me. Karlie Kloss and Kate Upton? Yeah, I'm older than them. Justin Beiber, Kylie and Kendall Jenner? Babies. And that is weird. I hear the year people were born in and I'm all... "wuuuuut? I was already x years old!" It's especially weird to admire someone and realize they're younger than my youngest brother. Similarly, the stars that I had crushes on are now old. Leonarda DiCaprio, I love you, but you're really starting to look too old for me.

Jonas contributed that older people now talk to him in conspiratorial tones about "young people"...

Reading Business Insider probably makes me old-ish too, but at least I know where to go to figure out what's cool and what's not these days! What I learned: Thank goodness I don't say "bae" or "on fleek", and Bernie should run again next election cycle if he loses this time! I also downloaded that app Wishbone and I've gotta say, it's kind of addicting. I'm currently plotting how to monopolize the scene with more sophisticated WYRs (Would You Rather) and simultaneously realizing how few poos I give about which prom dress is prettier (neither). I've even stopped trying to figure out who the male celebrities are that it's trying to make me choose between.

What makes you feel like an adult, or otherwise old? Not responsibility stuff like paying bills or learning how the heck to invest money, but cultural stuff and identity shifting!? What music defines your youth? What newfangled thing can you not wrap your head around? 

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