It's me: a young person. Here I am with my persistent acne and cellular phone. I love Uber and smoking doobies on the lawn. Toss me a frisbee on the quad, and you bet your bottom dollar that I'll huck that disc straight back at your goddam throat. Instagram? You bet. Pinterest? I suppose. Hell, I'll listen to Kendrick Lamar anytime, if you catch my drift. And take a look at yourself! You, too, are a young person. Laugh with me! Ah, rejoice! The beauty of our youth!
Anyways, that's quite enough of our millennial 'slang'. You've hardly said a word but it's more than clear that we're two cool cucumbers - a regular Bonnie and Cycle sans robbery, murder, and friendship. Okay, okay - enough pleasantries.
Join me. Let us go on an adventure together. Toss your unwrinkled skin and distaste for adult diapers to the side. We now travel through space and time (which you're always doing - isn't that cool?) to a distant place. This is a place beyond our world, a place without rules, a place from which there is no return: MIDDLE AGE.
Not the Middle Ages, to be clear, which admittedly would have been a better use of our space/time travel. No, no. I'm talking about that sweet spot: 30 to 45-years-old, baby. We're talking occasional back pain! We're talking middle management! We're talking failed marriages! Oh honey, we are absolutely talking 401(k) discussions.
Find yourself hunched over your phone at Chipotle for a 3:00 pm lunch break. Your new intern reminds you of an old girlfriend, and now you're just sad enough to order extra guac. Relish it, you nostalgic creep. Gaze into the chorizo and ask yourself aloud with me: Are you wise?
Have you learned? Have your years given you understanding, perspective, and grace? Wait, shit - Grace was your ex's name. Isn't it creepy to be thinking about a 20-year-old right now? I mean, you were 20 at the time, too. But that was then, and this is now... is there a statute of limitations on this stuff? Not the point.
What has your age given you? It was meant to come with certain privileges: knowledge, confidence, the ability to rent a car. You can remember being told countless times that "you would understand when you're older." Worse yet, you've been dismissed when someone "simply knows better" because they're "more experienced."
To those people who laud their age, dismissing young people for nothing more than their proximity to their mother's womb, we say: Eat poop!
When I was a very young boy, not long removed from eating my own poop, I remember wanting desperately to see R-rated movies.
"Why can't I watch Jackass?" I whined to my parents.
"You're too young," they responded.
I stomped my feet. "But why?" I asked to no avail. No matter the answer, it wasn't enough for me.
"You wouldn't understand."
"A morbidly obese man is forced to drink the genital sweat of his friends and vomits in a fishbowl."
Some excuses, perhaps, were fair. The truth was that children are new to the world - every experience they have is fundamental to shaping their worldview, if only because they just haven't seen all that much. A glimpse of testicle sweat too soon and you may turn your brain to goo.
You and I, though, are not children. We're not asking to see a movie that makes us feel naughty. We are young people, well-equipped with the experience and perspective that allow us to stare testicular terror in the face, internalize it, and come out the other side stronger than before. It was our adolescence that gave us the tools to face complexity and absurdity in the world without succumbing to it. Instead, we now learn from what would have once confused us.
We are not adults. No - we haven't yet been beaten down by the mundanity of life. We remain wide-eyed fools, counting the days until our eyes droop and we remain fools still. We exist in a middle ground. Childhood has passed, and we can understand the world. Adulthood is in the offing, still a hollow idea that feels miles away.
You made a promise to me. You clicked this stupid, stupid article. That's a legally binding agreement to be both temporarily old and grouchy with little ol' yours truly. We've already traveled through space/time to MIDDLE AGE, which leaves only one thing left to do: get grouchy and tell adults to eat poop (again).
R-rated movies are no longer on the wishlist. Today, we'd much rather be listened to. We'd prefer that our bosses give us a fair chance to speak. We'd like an equal say at the dinner table. As young adults, we have both the sense to see the world as it is and the naïveté to be angry at its silliness!
When you are staring at a wrinkled face that pushes you away only because of your youth, feel your blood boil. Demand explanation! Nearness to death is not a prerequisite to thought. We are no longer being protected from things that will confuse and taint us. Feel the crotchety-ness coarse through your veins. Harness your inner curmudgeon and ask for answers that stand up to reason. If they put their time on Earth to good use, here's hoping they'll have an answer.
Remember: awards, titles, and age don't make someone right. Entitled, maybe, but never superior.
To the adults who tell us that we "can't understand," that we're "too young," or that "we'll learn when we grow up some more": instead of hiding behind your glass shield of age, try using all that experience to offer a better reason as to why you insist on ignoring us. Oh yeah, and eat shit.