Thursday, April 19, 2012

We Are Young

Youth. It comes and goes so quickly you don't even realise it's gone. When you're in it, it seems to last forever, all through those tumultuous teenage years, I couldn't wait to grow up. Now that the inevitable has happened and I'm groping my way through these twenty-something years, I find myself wondering if time machines do exist, just so I can turn back the damned clock to indulge once again in the bliss of being free of responsibilities and grown-up issues. Adult issues just eat you up from within, slowly but surely, gnawing at the ideals you thought you could uphold, erasing precious memories as you chuck those into cold storage to remember other 'important' things, like the meeting tomorrow at 3 pm (or was it 4?) and the campaign that is supposed to run next week but oh wait, there's another event to settle by Monday, oh damn, that means I have to work over the weekend, oh fuck it I can't sleep in on Saturday anymore, looks like I have to cancel dinner, or maybe I should just do it when I get home... and this internal monologue between you, your mind and body will just never end. Till one day, in one of those #fuckmylife moments, you're celebrating your 50th and you're spent, tired of life, wondering what in the world you did in the past 30 years that can justify your time on earth and assure a peaceful passage into heaven or hell, knowing you've done all you can to make life as meaningful as it could be. 

It could be the fleeting quality of youth that has everyone scrambling to regain it, to recreate it, lusting and chasing after it even though we are all well aware of the futility of such behaviour. Pop culture is so entrenched in upholding the ideal and possibility of youth; just look at the Justin Biebers popping out of Hollywood and Youtube like magic mushrooms. Where pop culture places youth on a pedestal, the antithesis of pop i.e. rock and perhaps indie, reminds us of the magic of youth, the spontaneity that is associated with being young, doing stupid things, being 'emo' and the sweetness of young love. At least that's how I feel. Take a trip to Midnight City yelling We Are Young because it's Time To Pretend that there's some Young Blood in us and then in 5 Years Time, recall that moment as part of an awesome Endless Summer. 

These twenty something years are actually more formative than the terrible twos or the tumultuous teens. With some semblance of financial independence and a less volatile mind and temperament, it's these years that you really figure out who you are. A friend once asked if I, like her, felt that growth was exponential between 21 and 23. You don't remember how you lived your life at all before that and it's just those years that you felt like you grew so much. How true. Before you're done celebrating your awesome growth, in marches the quarter life mark. Afterwhich, there  are all sorts of reminders about how time is short. For instance, filling out a form and checking the second box marked 25- 30 instead of box number one 21-24. Or having people start calling you "Aunty". Or aching like crazy after a couple of hours of intense exercise when the young ones don't feel a thing. Or having to buy insurance and taking on housing loans. 

Facing facts, youth cannot be regained. Sure, time machines may exist but that would mean that youth wouldn't retain its once-in-a-liftime essence and it will lose its magic. There's no fighting time because we lose for sure. Why waste time fighting a losing battle with time. Cue the cliches about living for the moment: the present is a gift, you're only young once, yada yada. If everyone gives the same advice, it must be for a reason. Yet it's so hard to truly live your life the way you want it. Job sensibilities, familial expectations (nuclear and extended), peer judgement and financial security are just some of the considerations that play constantly through the twenty-something minds, crowding out the un-pursued dreams. That's life, isn't it?


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