I’ve spent my whole life trying to get ahead. I’ve sped the process everywhere I could and “microwaved” my own life.
Lately, I’ve had a common discussion among my best group of girlfriends: Where did our youth go?
This past weekend a friend and I saw the movie “Pitch Perfect”. If you haven’t seen it, it’s about a bunch of college kids. In one of the opening scenes, a girl is dropped off at college and the surrounded by kids her own age. They are all expressing that look of excitement riddled with sheer terror.
At this point of the movie I turned to my friend (who went to art school with me) and said, “You know, stuff like this makes me wish we went to real college.”
It’s kind of an ongoing joke my friends and I use when we talk about our school. We went to a “real college” in an accredited sense, but nearly all of us commuted. We didn’t live in dorms, we lived a few miles away, with our parents.
I was younger than most college kids at the time and mentally I just wasn’t in a place where leaving home seemed like fun, so I commuted 20 miles a day to experience “college” in a way I was comfortable. It was right for me at the time. I fit in there, because so many of my peers were having the same feelings about leaving home. We just weren’t ready.
I told myself then, “Adults don’t get summers off, so you shouldn’t either.” So, I went to class year round. I took school as my full time job and went full-speed ahead so I could just make it through and move on with my life.
My friends and I all got jobs almost immediately after graduation. We each met “the guy”, we settled down. We bought homes or chose neighborhoods for long-term leases.
Looking back now, I try to remember how many “college parties” we attended. I can only remember one.
How many all nighters? Probably zero.
What did we do in our spare time? We didn’t drink alcohol, we usually just mass-ordered lattes to stay up for the midnight showing of whatever animated feature or comic book movie was being released. How. Freaking. Lame.
Now, I go out with my husband on weekends and the thought of wearing anything other than pajamas past 8:30 pm pains me.
“What? The band doesn’t start until 10:30?!” I whine.
The bars we frequent are filled with girls my age, dressed to the nines and bubbly as can be. I look at them and think, “How do you do it? How do you have so much steam?”
Usually, when I try to initiate conversation with the Barbie-doll versions of females my age it’s a struggle for me. I have to pretend like I don’t look forward to the sales at Yankee Candle or when my next Bed, Bath & Beyond coupon arrives in the mail (did you know those things never expire?!).
When a song comes on that the Barbies start dancing to, I point my finger in the air, nod and scream, “Yeah!!! I love this song too!!” to try and fit in.
Then, I stop myself. Queue internal pep talk.
I am twenty-four years old. Twenty. Four. I don’t NEED to live like an “old person”, I live this way because I choose to. I wear clothes that are comfortable, and I’ve outgrown the desire to wear heels that give me nose bleeds.
I look forward to those sales at Yankee Candle because I burn those candles in my HOME. That I OWN. So when strangers or friends step inside, they say, “Oh! It smells good in here.”
I prefer to be in my pajamas because typically it means I am on my couch, accompanied by my snuggly pit bull on one side, and my loving husband on the other.
So, I may have brief moments of nostalgia where I wished I had done “more” and acted my age. In retrospect, I applaud my younger self for getting the memo to hustle early, while I still had the energy. I love my life, and I’m proud of what I’ve accomplished.
Plus, if I’ve already done this much, just imagine what I’ll do with the next 24 years.
Jess Bedsole is a Graphic Designer, turned Web Designer turned Social Media Producer who has a burning passion for blogging (& over-sharing). She has a constant “Go get ‘em” attitude & is a firm believer that all things happen for a reason. Her goal is to inspire others to make better decisions or share their latest epiphanies. A dedicated do-it-yourselfer, Jess can be found blogging about newlywed life, home ownership, crafty projects & emotional meltdowns at Sparkles & Crafts and as a monthly guest author at Parenting Without A Parachute.