i’m still a teenager.


when i turned 19 i felt as if i had finished teenagerdom. i had lived an entire year as a legal adult after all. it wasn’t until i read a birthday card from my friend that said “enjoy your last year as a teenager!” that it hit me – nineteen is still a teen.

(at this point, many of my friends would probably say that they made this mistake because they’re not good at math. i would disagree and say that it is a mistake more relevant to language. “teen” is in the word itself, is it not?)

regardless, measuring age, experience, maturity is a strange thing. i consider myself to be the same age as everyone in my same year of schooling to be the same age as i am even though we could be as many as two years apart (or maybe more, who knows!) and for some reason it’s hard to determine the ages of people from other countries. i know people younger than i who seem years ahead of me, and adults decades older than i who sometimes act like children.

i want to be a teenager and i want to be an adult. i want to do something great and be commended for doing it at such a young age. i want the respect we grant people of a certain age just for being a certain age.

why do these things matter? they’re just labels, ultimately, and being young shouldn’t make a great thing any more or less great. as i get older i lose perspective on what children, younger teenagers, can do. they’re smarter than we give them credit for, i think. when i was five i directed a play. when i was seven i wrote a chapter book. at those ages i didn’t have a sense of what age you’re “supposed to be” to do those things, so i just did them. it was actually easier when i wasn’t as aware of how other people do things, what i’m expected to do.

the other day someone made the comment that these days adolescence has extended to the age of 30. whether or not this is true, what IS true is that adolescence is what you want it to be when you want it to be. there isn’t a turning point in which you’re thrown into adulthood, forced to leave your hello kitty toys behind. tomorrow i’m not a teenager. technically. but at heart? i can dream at whatever age i please. let’s shed the labels, including the burden or blessing of age, and live how we please.

today i read a book

i’ve been home for a few days now, just enough to be settled, almost enough to sink into the routine of waking up late, finding something to watch on tv, playing the sims, thinking that it would be more productive to just relax and get a fresh start the next day, and putting off doing anything of value.

uninterested in any of today’s dvr options, i sat in front of the shelves of dvds, thinking of returning to an old, light-hearted favorite. one of my choices was the sisterhood of the traveling pants. ‘but it’s not as good as the book,’ i told myself. then i decided to go up to my room and retrieve the paperback itself from the shelf of books that i have held onto because i might reread, but in reality never do. today i changed that reality. i sat outside on the cushioned lawn chair we own apparently for this type of thing, and read the entire book. and i might pick a new one and do the same thing tomorrow.

insight from today’s reading:

It was the first time in days she had felt that particular feeling of looking forward to something. […]

Maybe happiness didn’t have to be about the big, sweeping circumstances, about having everything in your life in place. Maybe it was about stringing together a bunch of small pleasures. Wearing slippers and watching the Miss Universe contest. Eating a brownie with vanilla ice cream. Getting to level seven in Dragon Master and knowing there were twenty levels to go.

Maybe happiness was just a matter of the little upticks – the traffic signal that said “Walk” the second you got there – and downticks – the itchy tag at the back of your collar – that happened to every person in the course of a day. Maybe everybody had the same allotted measure of happiness within each day.

Maybe it didn’t matter if you were a world-famous heartthrob or a painful geek. Maybe it didn’t matter if your friend was possibly dying.

Maybe you just got through it. Maybe that was all you could ask for.

The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants by Ann Brashares