We are all spinning apart and it’s starting to terrify us. That one friend who worshipped Kerouac and boasted never settling down now has a steady job and is getting married in the fall. The girl who used to hide empty vodka bottles in her bedroom closet has a baby. Everything is the same and changing all at once. “Where did the time go?” is a mantra we repeat at every gathering. “Where did the time go?”
We all go out and celebrate, raising glasses instead of red plastic cups and wonder if this is what growing up looks like. Someone spills wine all over their shirt and we all burst into laughter. Loud. That kind of laughter that you’d try to suppress in elementary school classes. You know this is grounds for getting in trouble. The teachers will surely yell, but your friend made that one face and now you’re biting your lip to keep from snorting. Belly laughs. Abdominal contraction laughs.
We start counting back exes and hook ups. Some of us only need one hand to do it. 5 fingers or less. Some of us need to use our toes. Our legs. Arms. All the limbs possible.
“Whatever happened to ____?”
“I heard he went into the air force.”
“What about ____?”
“I actually have no clue.”
We pull up cell phones and become millennial Sherlocks. We find profiles of people we had crushes on in elementary school and marvel at what they’ve turned into. Or grimace.
“Dodged a bullet with that one.”
Someone goes home early because they have to wake up for work.
Someone goes home to their significant other.
Someone goes home to a baby or a dog or a fish they are weirdly invested in.
Someone goes home because they’re just really tired.
“When did we stop being messes?” Someone asks. But we know the truth. Behind the jobs and 401(k)s and stable relationships, we are still those scared kids. Those beautifully lost kids. Those happy and confused kids trying to prove they are adults.
Growing up is a lot like that, I think. Convincing the world you’ve got it all figured out. Even when we know it’s a lie. We’re all still trying.