Thought Catalog
August 5, 2011

How To Be Young

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What is the issue?

Think you’re old and never realize how young you actually are. Fixate on the fact that you love The Container Store and Bed, Bath & Beyond and drinking tea and eating organic. This means something to you. It means you’re figuring out how to be an adult and you won’t be left behind. Show your receipt from Crate and Barrel to a 30-year-old and say, “See? I’m getting there. Let me through!”

Don’t think too much about why all of this matters to you. Don’t think about why cooking your own dinners and buying a new rug for your apartment is more important than going back home in a cab drunk at five in the morning. Never admit to yourself that the drunk cab rides make you happier than the damn kale you bought at the bodega. That would make you feel guilty, that would make you actually feel young (something you’re never supposed to feel.) Life is all about being young and pretending to be old, and being old and wishing you were young. Are you getting it, yet?

Spend so many years not liking yourself while trying to get others to like you. God, we’re so hard on ourselves. If only you could feel like you deserve that wasted night with your friends and spending Sunday hungover with someone in bed—someone you’ll try to forget and later on try to remember. Being young is all about wanting to connect with someone but feeling too disconnected to actually do so. I think you’re getting it now.

Look back on being young when you’re old and remember this: perfect skin, flat stomach, a house full of young people laughing and dancing, smoking weed, listening to music on your little laptop while reading a magazine on a Sunday evening, your parents coming in and out, remembering a dinner with your dad in your hometown when you wanted to cry, the bars, so many bars, people who you got drunk with all the time but never actually knew (what did they do in the daytime?), getting a cat and hating the cat but needing the cat because it made you feel okay about being hungover and missing your Victorian Lit final. “I can fail Victorian Lit because I have a cat that I’ve kept alive. So there.”

Have sex with the seventh person who doesn’t mean anything to you and freak out for a bit. Remember losing your virginity on a creaky bed and feeling so many things, too many things, and now you’re having sex with someone who looks like Danny Devito and it means nothing. How could this happen? How could you go from shaking like a leaf whenever someone touched your neck to feeling so numb whenever someone went inside of you? You want to know when this change occurred because you think it’s the reason why everything went sour. It’s the reason why you feel old. Every time you sleep with a nobody, it ages you five years. At this rate, you figure you’ll be a 100 at 28 years old.

Hold on to things. You’re not old enough to know what should matter and what should be left behind yet so you just hold on to every single thing. You’re like a memory hoarder. You need help.

Have moments when you’re truly having the time of your young adult life. Sometimes you know it when it’s happening and sometimes you don’t. When you know, that’s when it’s truly special. You let go of everything and embrace your youth. “I DON’T CARE I FEEL SO YOUNG AND FREE IT’S SO BEAUTIFUL RIGHT NOW EVERYTHING FEELS SO GOOD.” PS. You might be on Ecstasy for these moments of realization.

I know what you’re doing because I’m doing it too. Just stop freaking out. Stop pretending to be happy over a new Swiffer and just kiss people and go out and stay up late and wake up early and screw up and learn from your mistakes and then screw up again. It’s okay. This is your permission slip to act young. Sign it. TC mark

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