I haven’t technically been 21 years old in awhile. Whether it be an insistent rebuffing of emotionally evolving, an intense fear of getting old, or just an inability to get with the program, I’ve been, mentally, 21 years old for far too long. What a sad little monkey I am.
However, after some soul-searching (I sound like a fucking hippy), I’ve decided I need to do something about it. I can’t act like a 21-year-old forever; not only does it get exhausting, but at some point it’s straight-up sad. No one wants to be that 45-year-old rocking out to some band at a warehouse in Bushwick at 4am on a Tuesday. I mean, it might be cool for a few minutes, but when you realize the dude next to you is young enough to be your kid, you have to stop, drop and roll away from the situation. Roll fast, you guys, roll fast.
So, dear 21-Year-Old Self, let’s get the end of this party started, so we can part ways as friends.
We’ve had a good run, you and I. Since turning 21, there have been laughs; lots and lots of laughs. In fact, we’ve had those laughs, those drunken stupor type of laughs that led to a world of both tragic and happy mistakes, for over 10 years now. That’s a long time! I don’t regret those mistakes, because they make me who I am, but after I turned 30, those mistakes seemed less cute. And by the time I was officially in my early 30’s, they were flirting with something I like to call pathetic. It might be adorable in theory to hide out in the bushes of Macri Park with a six-er of PBR after being kicked out of Union Pool for being too drunk, but when you’re 33, it’s kinda lame. Hiding out in the bushes getting wasted on cheap beer is actually something a 17-year-old might do after prom.
Then there’s the responsibility part of our relationship. The 21-year-old in me feels it’s completely rational and sane to throw out bills I can’t afford to pay right then and there, than actually deal with the situation. This isn’t cool. This, I’ve learned, leads to bad credit. Grown-ups don’t want bad credit, because this means no bank in their right mind will lend you the necessary cash to buy a house. You can’t have a white picket fence without a house (or you can, but it might look weird leaning up against the bedroom wall of your apartment.)
Next we’ve been dealing with this “end of the world” issue. It’s fine that I’m dramatic and some of that drama I can blame on my emotionally stunted self, but not everything is the end of the world. The dude didn’t call when he said he would? OK. I didn’t get my dream job? Whatever. I broke the heel on my favorite pair of shoes they no longer make? Big fucking whoop. It’s time I brush myself off and deal, instead of throwing myself into my bed for days and sobbing wildly as if in some sort of competition to prove ultimate dramatic skills. (A competition I would totally win.)
You see, there’s this major co-dependeny thing, 21-Year-Old self, that we have. It’s not healthy. For some reason I’ve decided I can’t live without you. I not only use you as a place to lay blame, but as an incessant excuse for every immature move I make. I can’t breathe a word of sheer stupidity without you as a side note, and it’s not fair to either one of us. I look like an asshole who can’t take the heat, and you look like an enabler. I don’t think you want to be my enabler. I want to believe you love me too much to be such a thing in my life.
Listen, I get that it will be hard. I know that there will be moments where we’ll given in and come racing back to each other, but we need to let go for the sanity of everyone around us. I’ve already started to accept life without you by doing little things like actually taking my bills out of the mailbox instead of just the magazines. I’ve also painted over the song lyrics written on my bathroom wall in Sharpies and finally bought a headboard for my bed. They may not seem like much in the grand scheme, but for me, they’re important steps in this evolution. Yes, my dear, sweet 21-Year-Old Self, I’m evolving. And honestly, you need to evolve, too — to what, I’m not sure, but I know you’ll figure it out.
So, before either one of us makes a scene, let’s just say goodbye. Let’s not block each other on Facebook or anything silly like that, because we deserve to remember this; we deserve to never forget what we had. We’ll always know where to find each other, what this all meant, and how necessary it all was, but it’s time, my love, to let go. It’s for the best, and we both know it.
I’ve finally learned how to quit you, and honestly, I’ve never been more stoked.