Issue 6, Semester 2, 2019
I don’t want to scare you or anything, but you’re going to die. Not right this second (well, I hope not right this second), but it’s going to happen one day. It’ll happen to me, it’ll happen to you, it will happen to everyone you know. Any you know what? That’s okay.
Already, I feel older than I did this time last year. Which, when you think about it, makes sense. But I feel older on a larger scale than I ever did before. I’m twenty now, but I feel as though I can relate to someone who is in their thirties, whereas last year, anyone above twenty-three seemed really, really old.
When do we cross the threshold from young adult to adult? When did I suddenly become a grown up? The scariest thing that has happened to me in recent memory is when a child bumped into me at the supermarket and her mother told her to apologise to the ‘woman.’ Woman? Where? Oh. Me.
Or maybe it was when I went to the local bottle shop before some drinks with friends. I bought some ciders (strawberry and lime Rekorderlig), a bottle of Passion Pop, and a small Smirnoff vodka. I’m the first to admit that these are drinks that tend to attract the under eighteen crowd, and so I’m used to being asked for about three different forms of ID before I’m let out of the shop, my purchases wrapped in a brown paper bag. Only this time, I wasn’t. This time, I didn’t get the suspicious up and down from the cashier that I have become accustomed to. Instead, I got a smile, a ‘have a good night,’ and an offer to put my drinks in a box to make them easier to carry. I felt as though I had aged overnight.
We live in a society that values youth above all else. It’s not dying that we’re afraid of, it’s getting old. But, at the same time, we’re scared of dying young. We value an eternal youth that doesn’t exist, except on the advertisements for miracle anti-aging products that we can’t afford. We’re worried about growing up, we’re worried about looking our age. There never seems to be a time when we’re happy with how many years we’ve survived on this planet – we’re always trying to look older or trying to be younger.
We have information thrown at us from every direction about how important it is to be special, and how important it is to make a difference. ‘You can be the change!’, ‘it only takes one person!’ This is the reason we feel as though we’re getting so much older – when people have won Olympic gold medals in their early teens, being awarded for impressive scientific research before they’re even legally allowed to celebrate with a drink, it’s easy to feel like an old failure when you’re still trying to stumble through your university degree.
And so, my friend, here is a reminder for you. You are still young. You may have been younger in the past, but don’t be so scared of growing up. You will die someday and growing older is a privilege. We’re growing up, we’re getting older, but that doesn’t have to be a bad thing. Happiness doesn’t stop visiting at a certain age, and neither do love, adventure or excitement.
Let’s drink (a glass of Passion Pop) to that.
Laura is a First Year JD Student.