As I somberly careen towards the upper end of the decade where my age begins with a 2, I’ve found that I’ve aged in a very real way with very little knowledge of it. I actually didn’t even know it had happened… until I spent an evening attempting to socialize with a group of 19-22 year olds. They were nice. I didn’t dislike them. I did want to rip my own arm off just for a bit of interest.
My evening of awakening began in Galway, where I went solo to a pub crawl. Usually I find with a pub crawl it takes at least 1 or 2 pubs before you find the people in the group you actually want to mesh with, and this was no exception. My initial pairing was with a group of Americans, studying in Dublin for the summer. Though they each had traveled with a friend, the group overall didn’t know each other, so we spent a bit of time getting to know each other. It turns out that when you’re 19 this entails the classes you take, the time the girl in your dorm was late to class, and the exciting moment when you get 25 cents off a beer from a bartender. the thrill.
When I informed my new mates that I was indeed out of school they were consoling, like it’s a bit sad for an adult to be pubbing. Let me tell you something friends, adulting is when the real need for a pub begins. I’m sure classes are stressful and your professor is tough, but one day that class will turn to work, and the professor turns to your boss and the class turns into your life and your consequences aren’t valued in letters on a paper but in tangible failures that are the roadmap of your career, family, finances… so yeah you need a pub every now and then. Believe me when I say I need a bit of tequila, I’ve earned it.
They probed onward asking if I graduated 1 or 2 years ago, which was sweet, but when I had to spill my graduation year of 2008, one of the blond ones said “oh it’s ok, only 4 years”. Yeah, that’s not 4 years ago but the positive vibes were appreciated.
At the second pub I tried to make an effort with a few of the other girls, and though they were friendly, I couldn’t help but feel like I was talking to a different species. They thought I was exciting because I had once been a bartender, which I learned to be “OMG such a cool job”. Oh dear sweet youths, no.
Things started to go downhill when a few new girls arrived who were really exciting about their sorority. I masked my snort of laughter into my cider, and bit back my questions about buying friendship and being the worst. I was officially not on board with this lot when we left the pub and one of the guys tried to impress the girls by doing pull-ups on the road sign. It was pitiful and he was obnoxious. They were still in the stage where this was funny. Overall it seemed they found the boys who were the most d-baggy the most entertaining – oh no. I truly had forgotten this was ever a thing. I think somewhere around 23 you officially recognize d-baggery and realize that nothing good comes from promoting it.
Thankfully, my school friends were not the entirety of the group, and I was relieved when a group of friendly Irish were found. They varied in age from around 25-28. It’s not that we really had that much more in common, or that we were all inherently more interesting, it’s just that there’s a marked difference between people who look back and laugh at themselves at 20, and people who still are. The difference is the “cool” factor. The notion of still trying to impress other people seems to still be alive in those existing before 25. This idea is something I think most people realize is not only completely unattainable, but extremely boring. I just have no interest in it, whether that be because it’s so completely out of my wheel house, or because I’ve just aged out of the idea, I’m not really sure. Being ridiculous and out there and laughing at yourself is really all we have.
I was a bit sad to come face to face with aging out of something, but even just a hint of that time made me have zero interest in returning to it. I often feel like I have very little figured out, but this evening made me feel like I’d at least gotten a tiny bit of wisdom. I fully anticipate that if those dear youths remember me at all the word “weird” will come up, and I’m completely happy about that.