On Being 23

I think a lot about what it means to be a 23-year-old. Growing up I always had this vague feeling that I was going to die at 18, that there would be nothing after high school. In my family, going to college was, like high school (and dying), another automatic thing you did. So I’m fascinated with the reality of surviving my teenage years and living, for the first time, when my life isn’t scripted for me.

I’ve noticed that there isn’t a lot of cultural input for our age group. I think this is because we have no money, generally. There aren’t many financial benefits making us the target audience for commercials. So there’s no pressure in what our living spaces should look like, what deodorants we should wear, how to feed our kids, etc. And those of us who are graduated or conscientious undergraduate objectors don’t have homework or class to tell us how to use our time.

Sometimes I feel happy for no other reason than my age. I mean, look at us 23-year-olds. We’re beautiful. With nice skin and taught bottoms.

It feels a little scandalous that I can function in society like this. I mean, I make enough money to live on by working part-time at the Y. And when I’m not working I spend my time buying food, doing laundry, riding my bike, drinking beer, and hanging out with friends. It seems too good to be allowed in a competitive capitalistic country. (This was going somewhere, but I’m a dogfish head 90-minute IPA in and losing my focus.)

I feel somewhere in between brushing my teeth with a bottle of Jack and a dish soap commercial, which leaves a lot of wiggle room. Which is excellent.

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