I’m currently staying in a dorm with quite anti-social roommates. It just so happened that around 9:00pm on Saturday I was sitting in the hostels kitchen/dining area eating crackers and hummus (for reals, this is my life now) when a massive bunch of 18-ish year olds stumbled outside in their clubbing clothes.
I’d heard them loudly pre-drinking earlier (which is partly why I was there at 9:00pm, trying avoid the rowdy yoots) and now they were going out and seemed very enthusiastic about it.
One girl literally collapsed and had to be carried back to her room. A particularly lively boy started singing and grabbing cigarettes off not so impressed fellow travellers, and more and more of them stumbled outside in various degrees of intoxication. They ranged from the “they are so not going to let her in” stage of drunk, to the person who’s almost sober and is going to regret it later.
Soon about 20 drunk 18 year olds were sitting directly outside the window I was sitting next to eating my crackers. They were singing, some danced a bit, some tried to befriend passers by, some were very intent on their apparently deep conversations, all seemed very excited about their current situation.
Apart from being mildly amused at some of their antics, it made me remember a time not too long ago when I was 18. When I went to university and played drinking games. When I went out all the time and had sometimes amazing, sometimes terrifying and sometimes uneventful nights out. When I was in groups just like that and we acted the same way. I remember being of the age when drinking was newly legal and was literally the most exciting thing ever. When clubs were new and exciting. When you believed drinking really did make you more confident and more apt to deal with your love life. When all our lives were before us and we really could do anything. I’ll admit it made me nostalgic, and also a little jealous.
Because I’m not 18 anymore. I realize we 20somethings are still young. We can and will still go out. Plus, I have been ID’d so many times this week alone that I must still look about 16, so aging isn’t really an issue at the moment. We do still have our lives ahead of us, and some of our best memories haven’t happened yet. There’s still so much to see and do.
All of that aside, obviously getting too drunk isn’t a good thing, so being nostalgic about getting really drunk is a bit stupid.
It’s about that way of acting. That reckless plunge into life even if it is ill-advisably getting too drunk. Not having the inhibitions and/or common sense not to act like that. Not having spent so long working in clubs that it kind of turned you off them when you saw what they are really like without the drunk goggles. When the so called ‘adult world’ was still new and exciting. When clubs were exciting. When the idea of working full time was still “something adults do.”
That feeling that may not even exist, and I just think I can remember. The feeling that is present in some of the more up beat club hits. It’s not exactly happy, it’s just… excited, I guess. That’s the only way I can describe it.
We are a lot of things, but do we get “excited” anymore?
Sometimes I wish I was younger and more stupid. Obviously I still am a bit, but I mean really young and stupid. Before I realised drunk texting guys at 2:00am isn’t always a good idea. Before people started acting prematurely middle aged, and we suddenly stopped clubbing and started sitting around watching TV whilst on our phones. Obviously we were on our phones at the clubs too, but at least we were outside. Before work. Before we started being too apathetic or tired to go out in our spare times. Before clubs stopped being exciting and started being effort, a disappointing and expensive effort at that. Before we basically stopped having those crazy deep and emotional drunk conversations with our friends. Before our first loves burned or fizzled out. Before our friends started getting married and people started talking about careers and mortgages as part of regular conversation. Before we were racing towards the next chapter in our lives when we hadn’t even finished this one yet.
Obviously people of all ages can enjoy clubbing and can run around singing, but somehow I still think that feeling, that excitement about all these things we now take for granted, only comes once.
I don’t mean it has to happen when you’re young. But I think when you first start doing all that stuff, it’s only a matter of time before experience creeps up on you and you start, however much against your will, to mature. And obviously that’s a good thing, obviously we need to stop being naive and gain experience to grow as human beings. But sometimes, just sometimes, don’t you wish you were still that young and stupid? Just so you could do it all, and feel it all, again.
Maybe I’m biased, despite all the problems and bouts of depression I loved being 18. It wasn’t perfect, bad things happened, but I still look back at it with a mixture of pride, longing and fondness. Perhaps that’s how I’ll feel about 23 when I’m 28, and 28 when I’m 33 and on and on. I probably will.
Going back to the drunk 18 year olds for a moment, realistically the drunk ones will be turned away at the door and the less drunk ones will have to decide if they are going in or going home with their friends.
If they do stay out they may not remember the night. They will spend loads of money and will probably have some greasy take away at 3:00am that they will later regret. That particular moment in their lives is not nearly as significant as this post makes it out to be, and before you know it they themselves will be nearing their mid-twenties and may think the same thing about the next ‘younger age group.’
Perhaps all of this is in my mind, and I’ll think the same thing of my younger self and all her contemporaries every five years. But I can’t shake the feeling that something, not a big something, probably not even a good something, but something nonetheless is lost, and sometimes against all rationality, I miss it.