Off to Never Never Land!

I guess I tend to think of myself as a couple of years younger than I actually am. When I hear something about 20-21 year olds, I empathize with them in ways that I don’t when someone mentions a girl in her “mid-twenties”. I’m constantly referring to senior year of college as “last year”, as in, in the last 12 months, even though it was a good few years ago.

In the ER this past summer, I was asked how long it’s been since my last tetanus shot.

“Ummmm....,” I shrugged, “Beginning of high school I suppose? So...5 years ago?”

And the woman just stared at me. “How old are you again?” she asked, incredulously.

“23,” I said, and again, she looked at me blankly, waiting for me to put it all together. Which I didn’t. (I may have been distracted by the fleshy tip of my finger dangling on a thread from its proper position ON my finger, but still).

“So...that would be...eight or nine years ago then?” she encouraged me to keep thinking.

Finally, “OH! Yes...eight years ago...eight years ago I started high school...Damn.”

I don’t know why I have such a mental block about aging. Or why I’m clinging to an age group that is no longer mine. Perhaps it’s because when I was a teenager, trapped in the daily suffocating HELL known as wealthy suburban high school, I wanted nothing more than to be 19-21. Why that age range I can’t say exactly, but it seemed to represent a freedom and control over one’s life without the responsibilities of actually being an adult. And looking back, that’s really what it was.

It’s not to say that my life is all that burdensome nowadays. I have my bills to pay and a few other grown-up obligations. But overall, it’s not too taxing and there isn’t anything tangible about 20 that I miss. Still I guess since I had dreamed and wished so hard to be 20, I can’t seem to grasp that I’ve passed it. What age do I want to be now? I don’t know. That’s why I’m so confused. And really, I am. Confused.

Just yesterday I was chatting with Erin about the fax machine in my office, which was teetering on the brink of death.

me: man
so i was all like, ‘too bad, fax machine is broken, lets just get a new one!’
but now i realize that means i'll have to figure out how to use the new one
i hate technology
Erin: me tooooooo
man, i thought i would be OLD when i started saying that kind of shit
but here we are.

Confused. What age am I? What age should I be? I have the sense of humor of a fifth-grader and a fear of technology that rivals my Grandpa’s. Identity. Crisis.

I have a birthday coming up in a few weeks. I’ve always been the baby in my class with the summer birthday, so for my friends, my anxieties over 24 are easily dismissed. They’ve already reached that age and don’t want to hear it. And really, to be fair, I’m not concerned about “being 24” and there being some social stigma that the best days are somehow behind me. I mean, that’s ridiculous. It’s more that I don’t know what to expect from 24 or where it means I should be in my life. Or where I thought I’d be at 24 because I never really planned for this. I fear the answer is that I should have a little bit more direction. Less floating. More focus.

Bummer. I guess well...that’s what makes it more fun to let my mind just pretend I’m still 20 and live accordingly in my own personal Never Never Land .

1 Response on "Off to Never Never Land!"

  1. Erin says:

    in the immortal words of Blink 182, what's my age again? remember when we had that simultaneous, "oh this is what it feels like to grow up" moment over beers? yeah. it hurts. blurgh.

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