Ok, I’m actually twenty. And not a teenager. But Flan let me into Costies for free. And I was wished happy birthday by Darren Shan. I’m such a fan girl.
But yes, what an epic night. My best friends from when I was 14. My best friends now. Surprise visit from my friend who gave me the impression he wasn’t coming. Ridiculously high heels and the removal of the aforementioned heels to dance (with the aforementioned Darren Shan.) What a way to enter a new decade.
On Sunday I will no longer be a teenager. Its fitting, really; the end of my first year of college, the end of another cornerstone of recovery, the end of my childhood. The start of lots of new things. Vice president of Out in UL. Entertainer in a castle. Legitimate adult. I’m excited about these things. Extremely so. And in combining these things, I feel like I am finally forming an identity that is not Kate, the smart girl or Kate, the fat girl or Kate, painfully thin girl who dropped out of medicine. I’m starting to believe that being just Kate is not such a bad thing.
Its moments like these that I am too often reminiscent. This is fine when its the photo book and friends and remembering the times when you were 17 in a country pub and thought you knew everything you possibly could know about the world. Its not so fine when you’re thinking about the times when you drank too much and acted like an idiot, or worse, when you were completely sober and acted like even more of an idiot. The girls who you fought with and the boys who made you cry and the years that had the capacity for pure brutality. In some ways, I am the same. The same things and the same people still have the horrible capacity to reduce me to an impulsive tearful mess. The same things and the same people still inspire me and give me joy. In some ways, I haven’t changed since I was 12 years old.
In spite of this, I am hopeful. For the first time, I can honestly imagine the future. I’ve been weary with life since the grand old age of thirteen and have never been able to imagine myself older than eighteen. Then it was nineteen. And now… I’m hitting my quarter life crisis 🙂 And I can see it, I can see being older, I can see having cats (maybe even kids), I can see being out of education and having a real job. And even if I couldn’t, even if it passes, at least I see myself alive.
Its amazing how suddenly the concept of change can occur to you. I woke up the other day and realised I’ll be in 18 in 9 months. Yes, it’s enough time to have a baby in, but still, adulthood is so close you can taste it.
And once you realise this looming age, more things occur. You realise you need to take responsibility for yourself. You need to learn those simple things like using a washing machine and cooking scrambled eggs. You need to start acting somewhat sensible.
But there is also this incredibly liberating freedom. You’re trusted. You get to do fun things like going out and learning to drive. You aquire a new confidence which lets you think for yourself. And all those things that bugged you so much when you were 14, aren’t so important anymore.
You realise that those people you thought were going to be in your life forever are suddenly up and leaving not just your school, but the county and soon you’ll be off too, leaving people behind in the same way. In a few years, maybe you get married. Replace a job with a career. Have kids. And once again, you’ll have an excuse to go see Kung Fu Panda and search out what shops still stock Double Dip.
Plus, no matter what age you are, once you’ve lived through a currency change and a recession, you can finally start saying “Back in my day…” 🙂
Admittedly, the time difference in which all this could happen is the same difference as between now and when I was 7. When I was 7, I couldn’t comprehend even going into secondary school. I was too proud of the fact that I was allowed play on the computer while everyone else was still on readers. These days I plan. Never rest on laurels and all that jazz. And the future seems so clear now.