I’m standing in the middle of Forever 21 wondering what kind of barbiturates the store’s designers are on in order to create these clothes. I decided to do a little shopping in an effort to replenish my closet after I just purged it a week ago of all the teeny tiny club dresses and five-inch heels. Perhaps coming to the same store that supplied that wardrobe of barely-there dresses was my first mistake. Everything surrounding me is neon or covered in three different patterns. Or both.
I end up leaving with a white shirt and two necklaces, wondering if I’ve really gotten too old for Forever 21, a store that has been a staple in my shopping diet for a decade now. I remember the first time my mom let me shop there; my teenage mind died and went to heaven as I racked up a mighty collection of mini skirts. Now, I try to convince myself that I haven’t outgrown this place, but my current closet of tame pencil skirts and midi dresses would say otherwise. Maybe I am too old for this shit.
“Too old for this shit.” I’ve heard the phrase uttered more and more as I’ve moved through my twenties. I’ve heard it from my friends when we’re standing in line waiting to get into some sweatbox of a club. I’ve heard it used when none of us wants to go out on the weekends because it’s 30 degrees outside. And, I’ve heard it used in situations with more gravity, when relationships turn sour or friendships go south. I’ve heard it used when people are seeking the words to proclaim that they do not have the energy or desire to endure the histrionics that come along with certain people or situations.
But, age ain’t nothing but a number, or whatever Aaliyah said. The people we allow into our lives and the mental energy we expel on trivial matters are all a matter of choice. Perhaps there is a correlation between age and wisdom, but I’ve certainly met some silver-haired idiots in my time, so that relationship is still questionable. We can only operate off of the experiences life has given us and whatever lessons we extracted from them.
Because, the truth is, we’re not too old. fact, we’re rather young. And, as much as we’d like to proclaim that we are above the bullshit, sometimes we are caught right there in the middle of it. We are all just tall enough to ride the nauseating roller coaster of growing up. We are still young enough not to be immune to the pangs of petty melodrama, but we are old enough to learn something and do better next time. We’re all a bundle of nerves, sometimes driven by impulse and far too motivated by the acronym YOLO. So, we don’t always exercise caution. We don’t always look both ways before crossing the street. And, sometimes we have a head-on collision with consequences of the same decisions that seemed brilliant only a moment ago. Sometimes we have a solid head on our shoulders and sometimes we just lose our damn minds. That is called being a twentysomething.
So, when shit hits the fan, which it does on a weekly basis at this age, I try to remind myself that a year from now, none of it will matter. I remind myself that I’ve gone through a lot and still have quite a bit to go through. I remind myself that being malleable, fluid and resilient are all a byproduct of being young.
And, when those self-affirmations don’t work, well, there is always wine.