Do We Feel Less As We Grow Older?

Gianni Cumbo
Gianni Cumbo

It is a sad thing to say, but I really think that as we age, we feel less. Or maybe we still feel the same, but fail to connect with other people’s emotions.

I remember adolescence: the heartbreaks, the parties, the friendships, the fights, the countless first times. How I use to cry myself to sleep, how I use to love so hard that it hurt. How I felt like my friends and I were one, dancing and sweating on pop music in our parents living rooms. The first cigarettes and how they made me feel light headed. The first shots of vodka, burning my throat, making me burn. The first kiss, the first soft then passionate clash of the lips. The first time I felt love, the first time my heart ached. The first time I revealed my naked self, letting someone be that close to me. How it made me feel infinite. The laughs and the tears, the sleepless nights. The music in my ears. The feelings that rushed through my body, through my head, making me feel a part of the world, connecting me to everyone as we were feeling together.

Feel. Do we still do that? Or was it just the rush of hormones that made everything harder, brighter, that made us feel so alive? Or did we allow ourselves to feel and to scream those feelings because we were teenagers, and that is how teenagers are supposed to be? Sad, depressed, and moody, making bad choices, drinking and smoking too much, being promiscuous in inappropriate places, shouting louder and dancing all night. Allowed to be alive, allowed to feel. Not ashamed of saying I love you, I hate you, I want you. Not ashamed of our emotions.
But without you noticing it, you grow up. You become a 20-something. You behave, or try to. You don’t cry in public anymore. You don’t drink and shout incoherencies just because you want to. You don’t say that you are sad. You don’t say that you are happy. Why? Because you see the pity stares. You don’t want to be looked down upon. Because showing raw emotions is shameful. Because you are not a teenager anymore, so please keep it together. 

So we keep it all inside, and one day, we don’t feel the same anymore. We drink less. We watch what we say. We don’t let anyone know how we really feel.We fake smiles but we don’t laugh the same. We are never too much, we don’t cross any line. We become an appropriate shade of grey. We don’t let anyone know anything. We keep it all in a convenient surface, but never go any deeper. 

And slowly you are not even sure that you really want to laugh that much, that you really like him. His shade of grey is not that exciting. Somewhere along the way you forbad yourself to let anything out. The raw feelings are rotten. Well hidden inside when you can barely feel them. You become dull. 

But did you really stop feeling? Did you stop being excited? Don’t you feel the chills anymore ? Don’t you want to run in the streets and scream you heart out? Don’t you feel restless at night? The world is still as brighter as it was when you were seventeen, the music can still make your heart pound, a kiss can still make you crazy, the night is not meant to sleep yet. So when did you start thinking that it was not okay to feel? When did love and anger and pain become shameful things to express? Don’t you want to be your teenage self anymore? Don’t you want to live to the fullest? Don’t you want to feel? 

I know I do. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

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