Widgets Magazine


I’m Done with My Life: All grown up

I’ve always felt that my youthful appearance belies my true age of 25. I’ve been 25 years old since I was at least 18, feeling on the growner side of things for a while. Back when “House” was just a game where kids pretended to be in a faraway adult world, I always played the mom or cool older sister. I found it an indication of my innate maturity despite being the youngest of my friends (or of the fact that I was bossy and enjoyed telling people what to do). Even in high school, some of the best Friday nights involved fancy dinners with friends before going salsa dancing at a place where we were the youngest people in the building (young meaning under 60).

Being underage anywhere is a hard life, but there’s something about D.C. that makes it extra rough. Every night I dream about my 21st birthday. Many of my peers imagine going on a 24-hour bender in Vegas, hitting up every neon-lit club possible. That would be awesome, but it’s not my style. Honestly, my fantasies are of a classy lounge where I can sit and sip leisurely in the company of like-minded intellectuals.

It’s not as though I don’t like to have fun. I do. I love to function as much as any college kid — I’m nowhere near an unsocial introvert — I just have grown-person sensibilities. At times, I have to push myself to do the “college” thing to live up to the expectations set forth in great films like “Drumline” and “Animal House.” Yet if I’m given the option of attending a pulsating, hotbox house party or a chill, unpretentious kickback, the kickback wins.

So what am I missing? If I’ve been in my 20s for the last five years, what happens when I actually turn 21? When I’m 25, will I have a midlife crisis like a 40-year-old? When I’m 30, does that mean I’ll be an old maid ready to throw in the towel?

I realize that all of these concerns are irrelevant to anyone’s life (including my own) and prime examples of #firstworldproblems. However, they do make me worry about everyone else. There’s a ton of articles saying that today’s youth are staying dependent longer, but on the flipside, you have kids maturing faster than ever. Why is my six-year-old cousin’s schedule fuller than mine? And it doesn’t help that he can teach me how to properly use the new iPhone. A generation ago, typical 25-year-olds would be married with kids, working at the same company they would one day retire from, but that’s not so true anymore. Now typical 25-year-olds are occupying somebody’s couch because they can’t find a job if they’re not in school adding on higher-level degrees with higher levels of debt, or part of the handful of new (Stanford) graduates actually working.

It’s a role reversal, like a Benjamin Button-esque transformation on the inside. The older you get, the younger you feel and vice versa. People are always saying how they feel better in their 40s than they did in their 20s, and maybe it’s because at 20, they felt like they were 50.

There’s a difference between being grown, mature and old — all of which are simply states of mind. Old is all about experience, being around long enough to reminisce about the way things used to be. Mature means you’re established, exuding a sense of capability that comes with being responsible and reliable. Grown connotes the existence of something that resembles potential; it’s the promise of that next stage in life beyond rolling around and being unsure of what happens next (you may not know the answers, but you’re closer to finding them.)

When they play their cards correctly, grown folks do have the best of both worlds. If they graduated in ‘0-anything or below, they can’t hit up a party thrown by someone in the class of ‘14. That’s not a good look. However, they can throw their own soiree in the house they own (hopefully in area without noise complaint worries) with age-appropriate peeps. Then, when they get tired of jamming to old school Destiny’s Child, collegiate Kanye and classic Missy, they can slow things down with no shame because they’ve already gone hard in the paint.

I realize there are some perils to being all growed up and I’m mature enough to admit that I’m not old enough to handle them. So for now I’ll just work on embracing my actual age until I’m actually 25.

Want to kick it ‘90s style with Camira? She’s always down to watch some Fresh Prince or Boy Meets World, so email her at camirap “at” stanford “dot” edu.