Act My Age

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God, it’s such a frightening thought but every day that passes it becomes more and more true but I’m starting to get to that age where I needed to have already had my life figured out. Like before it was oh yeah, no you’ll definitely figure it out just give it time but now I’m at the point where people are kind of worried. Where I need to get my shit together and I feel like I’m really behind on doing that and honestly I think mentally I’m still stuck somewhere between high school and that used to be cool. That used to be awesome. I was young, so act like a child and enjoy your life for a little bit while I still could, right? Except I didn’t. I used inexperience as an excuse for myself to well remain inexperienced. I was a scared kid who even saw “driving on the freeway” as some big fucking event in my life just because when I did start learning to drive I was afraid. The freeway scared me, and it’s busy and disorganized nature kept me from ever taking it. Looking back I saw it as this thing that there was no way I’d be able to do that. I felt it was just going to be too much for me forever and I feel like that about some things right now and I’m getting closer and closer to adulthood and closer and closer to that point where everything I write on this site is less the psychological awakenings of some high schooler/teenager trying to make sense of this world and now it’s more just an adult bitching that he just “doesn’t get it, you know?” People ask my age and almost reflexively I want to say 16/17 not because I’m not okay with the age I am, but because before I actually think about what age I actually I am I just go “oh I really feel like I’m 17, so that’s it right?” and I blurt it out sometimes but fortunately I’ve done that less, but the point is still there. I don’t feel my age. I’ve got to act my age but I don’t even know how to do that. I don’t know what a twenty-one year old is supposed to act like.

I met Olive in a place where you don’t usually meet people. In fact in a place where people don’t often get the chance of saying they’ve been there and nobody really wants to, but there we both were and I don’t know.. weirdly we clicked. It was nice talking to you, and you asked me out because apparently for once I didn’t give off the vibe that I was scared shitless just to be in the presence of someone as pretty as you. Something about that situation really changed how I interacted with people, even if it was fleeting. But before I left you gave me your number and a question to give some time to think about and think about it I did. As you probably know, I decided no. Not because of you I promise, but at that time my whole life was wrapped around this narrative that I needed to finally ask my high school crush out on a date like some teenager, coming-of-age story directed by John Hughes or something where all I needed to do was overcome this “conflict”. This was supposed to be my character arc and once I finally fixed that. Once I finally solved that.. things would just fit into place like every coming-of-age stories usually did in the resolution. And maybe it wouldn’t have been a “happily-ever-after” kind of situation but I at least thought it would be a “happy now, but a happiness that was sustainable as long as I kept working at it and that my new-found knowledge from this whole experience would allow me to continue sustaining it..” kind of thing. I had just came out of this delusion and I didn’t want to jump right back in it. And if I’m being honest I may have said no because I was still scared. Just like the time(s) I have chickened out   You have a kid now. Fuck. That’s just such a big punch in the gut, like here’s this opportunity I completely blew off for personal reasons sure but still.. and now your life is sort of now starting, or has started I mean. Maybe not the best example since having a baby doesn’t inherently mean they’ve got it figured out and can sometimes mean the opposite, but oh here we go.. I met Natalie the day she began her first day at this school. You were kind of just there and I saw you and I was too afraid to acknowledge you because there was this beautiful girl just sort of hanging back chilling out with my group of friends and I have never been good with meeting new people and especially when I was extremely infatuated with them. Then we did talk, and weirdly you were kind of easy to talk to. That’s not something I can say about many people because talking to people is just by default very difficult. That infatuation stuck around for a long time although I don’t think it ever progressed to anything other than here’s this cool, pretty girl in my presence who would be nice to get to know more but at the same time just knowing her, and being friends with her, was really nice too and it’s not like I needed more than that. You’re married now or at least almost married. And quite a few people in that group too have already gotten their diploma’s here I am still in community college. With my life not all that figured out yet.

Besides, my ability to write about all of these feelings and thoughts without really thinking about the immediate effect that having all this information about my psyche or my fucked up life situations might have on me. The one place where I really don’t haven any inhibitions is probably the one place that I really should. I spent a lot of time being too afraid to do things that I kept using that as an excuse to never do them and now I’m looking back and going oh god I haven’t done these things and a lot of those things I’m kind of expected to know how to do them and no matter how familiar with the list of directions of things that one would need to do to do these things the truth is without experiencing it I’m going to be just as scared and lost doing them as I was trying to give Amy that letter. To break out of that mold that everyone around me seems to have just so easily grew out of. Which is really ironic considering if you had asked me a year ago I might have told you that I felt like I was at that point in my life where I have exhausted all my other options and I had to finally just choose what was safe and how depressing that made me feel, like I had skipped forward to my late 30’s or early 40’s where I kind of just have to stop thinking about doing what I want to do and more about what I have to do. And I wasn’t mentally prepared for that phase of my life yet. I wasn’t ready to give up yet, but in running away from being trapped in a new scary mold, I ran back and regressed to an old one. Stay with the devil you know, I suppose. And just as this mold has tightly wrapped itself around me, I’m now kind of getting to that age where I needed to have already left this mold and joined the next one and I don’t even know a single thing about the next mold. I just know I have to get trapped in it for a little bit and I needed to have already left this one and I really want to, believe me. There’s nothing I want more than to finally be an adult but at the same time I also don’t feel like I ever got to be a kid and this whole time I’ve just drifting around in this weird spot where I’m too afraid to be reckless and make stupid decisions that may not have the best results but will at least have the best stories, but I’ve also been too afraid to finally put on my suit get a job, get a house, and start my life. But I have spent too much time not acting my age that I for just a little bit want to enjoy being my age which I guess is a young-adult and I want to make naive young adult decisions and be reckless and stupid. I want to get drunk and get lost in Los Angeles and have it be just an adventure trying to get back home with my friends. I want to have, before I have to act the age I’m now becoming I want to act the age I was so in the future I know how it was being reckless, how it was just having fun and making mistakes so I can try and pass that information onto my children even if that information might go ignored which is okay too because that means they’ll be making their own mistakes too and learning and becoming who it is they are growing up to be.

It’s weird because right now if I want to act my age I feel like I have to not act my age. Be young, be dumb, be naive. Have fun. Because I do know I’ll have to grow up soon and soon I’ll have to stop wearing neon converse’s and I’ll have to wear more suits and fix my posture and cut my hair, but I don’t want to grow up to be bitter. I want to grow up and smile and be nostalgic but not at all regretful. So weirdly now after all this time and after being so afraid of moving on, of growing up, I’m actually now thinking about my future and worrying about my future self, by focusing on improving my present self. I didn’t think either of those things would be something I would really feel for more than just a passing moment. Maybe everybody else has already got it figured out and maybe I’m just right behind them or maybe I have a bit more time but until that happens I want to live and experience things. And to stop using inexperience as an excuse, because everything we’ve ever done was at some point something we’ve never done before. That doesn’t make it scary it just makes it another thing in your life that you’ll now start doing. And that’s comforting, I guess.

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Comments

  1. Sebastian

    I don’t know about anyone else our age, but personally I relate to what you’re talking about. Back when I was 16 I thought I would be a full blown adult at 21, but it’s not as easy as I was expecting. But I think that’s a good thing. I think we’re getting older but realistically we’re in our early twenties and I think we’re allowed to fuck up and still make mistakes and try to have fun while we do. Maybe being an adult isn’t as great as we make it out to be. The perfect life we imagine, having a well paying job and a wife and kids. In my head that sounds like the definition of success, but when you really think about it, it can also be incredibly boring. Being uncertain about the future makes it seem scary in a way, but the mystery of it allows us to dream. So if you’re worried about being behind, don’t be. You’re only 21 and you’ve already done more than most people I know. Heck you have your own publisher that you send emails to. EMAILS. When I think about that I imagine you sitting in your wood paneled corner office writing official emails and you have a secretary named Linda who you tell to cancel that meeting at 12 with Mr. Beckler, but then she tells you he’s already waiting in the lobby and you go, “Darn it Linda, I’ve told you a million times not to let clients sneak up on me like this” and Linda goes, “Look hun, I’ll answer your phone, I’ll keep your schedule, heck sometimes I’ll even adjust your tie because it looks like Tarzan will be using it to swing from one side to the other, but I will *not* deal with that man Beckler. He pretends I don’t even exist when we’re in the same room. I wanna say he’s racist, but there’s no way he could know I’m Canadian.” And then you reply, “Wouldn’t he be racist because you’re African American?” and Linda says, “Boy did you just bring up the color of my skin?” and.. sorry, sometimes I get distracted. But anyway, maybe I’m wrong, but personally, I think you’re on the right track. There’s always going to be people that want to rush to the finish line, but I think it’s more important to enjoy the view. C: