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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Nineteen going on 30

Published: October 28, 2011
Section: Opinions

I have always wanted to be 30. Since I was a little girl, all I ever wanted was to be an adult. I used to envy older women for being able to dress beautifully, put on their makeup and go to work or simply go have coffee with their friends. I envied their serious conversations, their manners and their confidence.

There has always been something about thirty year olds that has attracted my attention—the fact that they are old but not too old, confident but still fun and serious but a little crazy—that has made me regret everyday that distances me from that age and the adulthood that follows.

Now, I know what you’re thinking, so there is no need to say it. Trust me, I have heard many people say it all before, including nonsense like: “There is no rush,” “You’re wasting your youth,” “This is the best stage of life,” “Things only gets more complicated from here” … really, I know it all. Maybe it’s just me, who knows, maybe I’m a little crazy but I have always thought that 30 is the perfect age and, until recently I hadn’t stopped to question this idea—this rush to be 30. But, what if these are actually the best days of my life and by trying to get them out of the way quickly, I’m actually wasting my life away?

Have you ever heard someone say “Youth is wasted on the young?” Well, I have. Everyone has always told me that I act like an adult, not like a teenager, that I am way too serious and that I drink too much coffee. I have even heard people say I will regret being the way that I am, so serious, so preoccupied all the time when I could be doing whatever it is teenagers do these days like having fun, crashing parties, being irresponsible, etc.

Last week I turned 19 and realized that this is officially my last year as a teenager, finally! The day was here. I was thinking about how happy I was—only 11 more years to go. I was closer to my goal, closer to being 30. And then it just hit me, what everyone else had been telling me for so long, what I had always heard but never really thought about. There truly is a charm in being young. You can get away with so many things. If you decide to fake an illness and miss a day of school, nothing happens—it’s not the end of the world and no one suffers the consequences but yourself. If you spend a lot of money on unnecessary things—and we all know that we do sometimes—it’s OK! No one (except your parents maybe) will think twice about it. If you mess up, people will not judge you so harshly because you only learn from your mistakes. If you live life to the fullest and enjoy yourself, no one will think that you’re being stupid or immature because they will simply say, “Oh well, she’s young. Let her have a little fun.”

To be honest, fun has not always been my thing. I have always been so concentrated—on school, getting good grades, getting into a good college, building a future—that I have not stopped, even for a second, to realize what I might have been missing. I’m not saying that I will become the life of the party all of a sudden or that college does not matter to me anymore I’m only saying that, while I still want to be 30 (and trust me, I really, really do, despite what other people might say), I’m no longer rushing. Yes, I can’t wait to wake up in the mornings and dress beautifully before going to work, instead of waking up and running to class in my sweats and I can’t wait to be a journalist or a writer—or whatever it is that I end up doing with my life—but I don’t feel like fast forwarding 11 years in order to get it.

There’s a reason you have to be a teenager before you can be an adult and, while I’m still young and reckless, I might as well enjoy it.