I just realised that I’m convinced I’m still 28. Part of me wonders if I’ve always been 28 and didn’t know it. I can do the basic arithmetic between 1987 and 2016. I know how birthdays work and I vaguely understand how time passes (I still find the “after midnight” time frame in Gremlins a little problematic. This is one of those times when specificity is next to godliness. Just say “do not feed between midnight and 5am.” It’s always before and after midnight. That’s how days work). That being said, whenever someone asks me my age I need to do a little mental correction before giving my answer (strange, because I so rarely think before I speak). I know I’m 29, but I don’t know I’m 29, maaaaan. It’s like that fugue state you enter at the start of each year, how muscle memory keeps writing down the previous year instead of the new one. I’m doing that continually, but six months down the line. I’m not sure if I actually remember that I’m 29, or if it’s simply lodged in my brain that I’m turning 30 next year.
Is there anything deeper to this? I’ve always been fine with ageing, but is 30 the point where my long dormant fear rises up like a kraken and smashes my frontal lobe into teensy tiny bits? Am I clinging to my 20s out of desperation? Hoping to cradle the crumbling promise of youth until the light fades to naught? Am I thinking of the endless stream of parties playing out in my head? Snapshots of friends, costumes, bands with diminishing relevance? Times when I took risks or pushed myself to breaking. Working hard before learning how to work smart. Burning the candle at both ends towards breakdown to the tune of lather, rinse repeat. The joy of discovery, new experiences with old friends. A litany of clichés glorified through film and television.
Much like my strange predilection for thinking I’m 28, isn’t it peculiar that I’m assuming the above activity is exclusively the domain of my 20s? There’s no reason why I can’t continue to forge new experiences as I age. Hell, I certainly intend to. If anything, the nature of my behaviour will change only because I don’t really desire the things I did six years ago. It’s not even that I’m too precious to rough it anymore. I’ve just learned to weed out the bullshit instead of taking it as a necessary cost. If I’m to question anything, it should be the mental delay that’s causing me to stall instead of driving on towards the next milestone.
I’m 29 and that’s alright. Things were good before. They’ll get better now. When I think about it, who would I rather have driving my body? The 30 year old who crossed the world and flourish in an all new country? Or the 22 year old who couldn’t parse punching up from punching down?
Jeebus, the stories I could tell about my early 20s idiocy. That’s a topic for a whole different entry.