Freedom, Love, and Happiness: The 25-year-old Blues

Last night at the park, my fiancée and I were taking a nice little stroll. Actually, it was terrible. There were mosquitos everywhere. Tons of them, in fact. But that’s beside the point. As we were walking along, we saw two kids come around the corner.

One of them as tall as a mountain. He was wearing a long, red linen shirt and had hair down to his shoulders. Wrapped around his shoulders was a bag with a bright, tie-dye peace sign on it. The girl he was with was in a black Weezer shirt (do kids still listen to Weezer?) and hightop Chuck Taylors. As they were walking, a bluetooth speaker belted out some sort of trance? beat? electro? music. I don’t even know what it’s called. I know there are 800 million different types of synth music now, but I couldn’t tell you the difference.

Needless to say, they were getting stoned.

The reason I mention this is because I myself used to frequent this park as a location for… partaking in certain illegal activities… when I was their age. I have about 12-dozen stories that involve that park from the winter of 2007 to the summer of 2010, and each one of them are great memories. But when I saw these kids, I couldn’t help but laugh. And then I realized I was laughing at myself.

Kelsey bumped me with her hip and said ‘Don’t be mean. That was us 8 years ago.”

“Nooo no no. I was much cooler than they are,” I assured myself. But, right before my eyes, I saw the young man turn into me. Grey skinny jeans, a tattered Black Keys t-shirt, knock-off Ray-Bans, and of course the white Vans. The image went as soon as it came. And then I started to think: “Am I a self-hating hipster?”

The answer is most definitely yes. I realize I was a little late to jump on the fad to be called an original hipster, but I like to think of my … not my generation, because that encompasses a very large swath of people, but my age group being the ones that brought hipsterdom into the mainstream. Which, I realize, isn’t hipster at all, but that’s beside the point. We were cool. We listened to underground music that no one had ever heard of. We wore clothes that didn’t have little eagles monogrammed into the collars. We got drunk in the garage and jammed with acoustic guitars and trashcan lids until 3:00 in the morning.

And I’ll be damned if this kid isn’t doing the same thing. I get it. I understand. But it really hurts me. It hurts me to be so young and look at kids younger than I and think “Damn kids.”

It’s even worse when I work in a place where the majority of individuals are over the age of 40. I know they feel exactly the same way about me that I do about that kid with the peace sign murse. I know they look at me and think that I’m just some ass hole that wears black pants and floral patterned shirts who has more fun than they do. A kid who doesn’t know shit about the real world and should just sit there and do as he’s told.

Is this what being 25 is like? I feel like I have no place to call my home (except for my home, duh). I can’t hang around with kids younger than myself because we have nothing in common. I’m not a stoner anymore. I don’t listen to trap or trance or whatever they’re calling it today. I don’t use acronyms like ‘ICYMI’ and ‘FOMO’.

But I can’t be old, either. My sense of humor is lost on them. My ideas are too ‘outside of the box’. I’m a millennial, and those damn millennials think they’re entitled to everything and only care about themselves.

I really hope this isn’t what the rest of life is like: looking back on days past where you were the cool one. Being a pauper looking into the window of a Tiffany’s, seeing the ideal you flaunting their wealth and happiness. I feel this way a lot lately, and I hope this loses its effect as I get older. But I have a strange feeling it’s just going to get worse.

 

P.S. And then, I realize that I’m 25, have a job doing what I love, and can go do anything I want. I can go out to a bar and play pool until 2:00 am. I can go buy a gallon of ice cream and eat the entire god damned thing. I can get in my car and drive all the way to Alaska if I wanted to. I wouldn’t have a job after that, but still. It’s the principle of the thing. I can do things now that I could only dream of when I was 17, and I’ll laugh at that little 17-year-old kid any day. He may have a full head of hair. He may have his cool white Vans. But I have 3 things he doesn’t: freedom, love, and happiness.

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