Okay, so I just signed up for the GRE, talked to a journalism student from NYU and looked up a bunch of graduate schools for different disciplines. Now I’m more nervous than ever about the future and have concluded that I’m not a competitive applicant. My delivery of fail will come in the mail soon.
I knew I shouldn’t have grown up, but it looked so cool at first. Everyone stayed up past eight o’clock and talked about going on vacation without taking home a permission slip. Plus, I envied how my ma had the luxury of not having my grandmother get on an airplane from Vietnam, travel for 14 hours, run to our house and burst open the door and say, “Cover your eyes right now!” whenever that pottery scene in Ghost came on TBS.
True, I’m only 20. Anyone who’s older might think this is all a lame clichéd, quarter-life crisis. I know I’m still “young” or whatever, but isn’t this the age when you start to feel old? When it dawns on you that you’re not who you thought you’d be? I mean, when I dreamed about being 21, I saw myself partying and milking college for all its worth, having a great job that I loved and being in a loving relationship with the guy of my dreams (and also 5’5” with a full B cup – oh yeah, I dreamed big).
But I have none of those things. In fact, I’ve managed to maintain the same body type as when I was 12 years old. I do feel a little better knowing some people feel the same way. It’s called “the death of your inner child,” and I feel for your sad loss at this moment. If you don’t know if yours died yet, it probably did, and here is what you can look for:
First, realizing that s/he is gone can happen anywhere. One day you’re at your internship and your boss is yelling at you because you labeled one tube out of 2,000 wrong, or mixed up some papers in a folder for your company’s annual presentation. You find yourself standing there, taking it like a bitch and remembering what your good friend Jon once said: “There’s nothing less demeaning than working for nothing.” Oh how true that is.
And that’s when it hits you: why am I not an astronaut floating in space and cupping the stars in my hands? Why am I not in Cairo, Egypt, digging up bones and fighting zombies? Why am I not running down the halls of some New York office building screaming, “God damn it, I’m going to turn this whole magazine around if it’s the last thing I do and you’re going to love me for it!” Oh right, that’s because you’re here. Reading this column (which I really appreciate by the way), being a “successful college student” and taking shit for mixing up the annual report with the monthly report. Hooray for life!
You also find yourself never really caring about things like you used to. Remember the time when you used to grab those wishing feathers that floated on by, or blew on those dandelions to make wishes? Now you’re so lazy, anytime you just look at the clock and it happens to be 11:11, you get to make a wish. No energy put into it at all!
Or what about when something bothered you? As a kid I remember I’d just say something like, “Hey Mister, can you put the cigarette out? My 4-year-old lungs are dying.” These days, whenever someone is talking behind you in class, all you do is the stealthy but well-known “side glance,” where you turn your head as a signal that means, “Hey, would you mind STFU-ing for a bit?! Thanks.” (You know, it was never until college did I understand the true meaning of passive-aggression.)
You also realize your childhood’s over when everyone else around you is changing. Facebook and MySpace make it really easy to check up on that best friend of yours from the third grade and find out that she has three kids with a 40-year-old. Thank goodness her life has gone far more awry than yours!
That’s when, out of the blue, you try to relive the days of yonder. You revel in your afternoon naps, pop bubble wrap until it’s all gone and crunch dried leaves on the ground. And now thanks to YouTube, all you watch is vintage TV shows from back-in-the-day because you’d rather watch Serena and Darien get back together after they defeated Queen Beryl than study for your poli-sci test.
LYNN LA has been down in the dumps lately about a lot of things. She’s wondering where all the time has gone and wishes to swing on the swings again. If you’d like to knock down her sandcastle and make her cry, e-mail her firstname.lastname@example.org.