”THE OLDER I GET, THE BETTER I WAS.”
I saw that on this wooden plaque thing at a craft store. And goddam, it’s true. The older we get, the more we sugar-blast our past. The way people act today, the way people try to stay teenagers forever, it makes me wonder if anyone actually remembers being a teenager.
For starters, my "teenage dream" sounds nothing like Katy Perry’s:
”You think I’m pretty without any make up on
You think I’m funny, when I tell the punchline wrong
I know you get me, so I let my walls come down.”
I realize she’s saying that this guy makes her feel like she’s living a teenage dream, but my teenage dream was that I was gonna take off my clothes and you weren’t going to like me anymore. I would have never entertained the idea of telling a joke wrong to a guy I liked. That sounds like my teenage nightmare.
You see, the problem is, that I don’t think we get to be the “good kind” of teenager until we’re older. What we think we miss about being a teenager is being carefree, hot and free of responsibility. But I wasn’t carefree then, and I did feel like I had responsibilities. I had a million and one make believe responsibilities: stay skinny, be pretty, be cool, be funny, have lots of friends, get good grades, have guys like me all the time, wear the right thing, say the right thing, buy the right shampoo…blahblahblah. Now, granted, these responsibilities are nowhere near as significant as: raise a child, pay rent, make a marriage work. But at least everyone acknowledges “adult” responsibilities as being difficult to deal with. At least they’re real responsibilities with actual rewards when you live up to them.
Of course we only remember the good parts, and we’re scared of dying, we’re scared of being alone, we’re scared, scared, scared of being homeless, jobless and generally just scared of being unhappy. But why? Why do we work so hard to convince ourselves that the best part of life is already over? If high school or college, was or is, the “best time of your life”, then your life sucks. I’m sorry.