The End of my Youth
Listening to: Mew – ”Comforting Sounds”
With each beginning of a new year my birthday follows very quickly afterwards. When I was younger I didn’t mind – since my birthday lies so close to Christmas I always felt that between December and January I could wish for everything I wanted, within reasonable limits, and get it. My birthday was always a birthday party consisting of friends, lunch out, movie and presents. Then I’d go home and have dinner again with the family where my dad would have cooked my favourite dishes and we would have cake. The downside to this was then that for the rest of the year I’d have to wait for a long time before I got presents again, but I was never too bothered about that…
However for the last two years growing older has started to seem to have more negative sides than positive ones. It all started with when I was about to turn 18. Where I come from (Denmark) 18 years old is quite the milestone. Because when you’re 18 you are officially an adult. Drinking was already allowed at 16 (up until a little while ago) so that wasn’t the big thing, but being able to drive, enter casinos, go clubbing and voting were. Of course, there was also the respect that comes with finally being an adult. Surely these were all pros?
But some time before I turned 18 I started to have mixed feelings about the big occasion. So after I turn 18… what more is there to look forward to afterwards? Don’t things just go downhill from there? You would be one step closer to your twenties and responsibility, and in a matter of a few years your body starts dying. My friend, which is younger than me by two weeks, and I were deeply agonized and depressed by this realization. Even though we were tired of mingling with the early and mid teenagers and tired of wandering the streets for hours in search for a club or pub that would serve us, youth was still something we partially wanted to keep hold of. We thought of various ways to celebrate our birthdays: a trip to a graveyard to “bury” our childhood, down to the harbour where we could set sail to paper boats with written memories on them or just drink our sorrows away. When we turned 18 and later when we turned 19 we chose to do the latter. However, this year was different. When you’re 20, you can’t be sure that the cute guy you’re dancing with at the club is older than you, you’re no longer in your teens – meaning that now you seriously have to start taking responsibility for your life, you get excited over the fact that you’re being carded, amongst many other things. You have now officially lived for two decades, and if you were to live to 100 you have now lived a fifth of your life. How scary is that?
Aging surely is a scary thing. I blame commercials and advertisements about how people should be or possess the “ideal” this and that, such as weight, looks, clothing, age. Our world is such a superficial one at times, and certain things you will have to possess to function socially or in a social group. As if it’s not bad enough that you will have to deal with wrinkly skin and friends and family dying – when you become old you even become a burden upon your family as well as society!
As someone once asked me as a riddle: what is the only thing that only goes up, but never down? I reckon you’ve guessed the answer to that one. With each birthday I like to think of what I’ve achieved in my life, and what I’ve done to fuck it up just a bit. Two years ago I wrote a list of things I had to do by the time I was 20, and I’ve included some of them below:
• Complete the IB (Done)
• Get into university (Done)
• Get my driver’s license (Done)
• Earn/save money (Done)
• Learn another language
• Turn into a health-orientated person
• Turn into an environmentally friendly person
• Own something valuable (Done)
• Travel (Done)
• Work on my writing
• Own a car (at least a bike)
• Learn to draw and paint so that it actually looks like what I intended it to look like
• Learn to play the guitar and piano better
I was happy to discover that at least I actually got a number of them done. The most important things have certainly been completing the IB and getting into university, which due to it’s location definitely has involved traveling – now all ticked and completed. Getting my driver’s license has also given me a feeling of responsibility and wider mobility. I’ve earned and saved money, but a lot of that went to my driver’s license and the rest will be gone in a couple of days when I pay my school fees. The rest… I reckon will come with time, and I can only work at them in hope of being able to cross them out by my next birthday. Persistency is, along with knowing that if I want something bad enough I will be able to achieve it – whatever it is, one of my strong sides.
Goals for next birthday (thus far):
1. Get good grades
2. Get better at limiting my spending and saving money
3. Become a better cook
4. Learn to knit
5. Find a job (part-time)
… along with the ones from last year!
Until next time,