The weather has officially hit its peak. It’s gorgeous, to say the least: That perfect mix of windy and warm is so perfect that even the sun wants to stick around for a few extra hours.
I always get sentimental this time of year. More so in the past two years.
The summer has always given me the fondest memories — especially during my high school and college years. During those eight years, we experienced the best of our “youth problems,” which typically consisted consisted of: Whose house are we hanging at tonight?; Which concert should we go to?; and Should we go to Seaside, Point Pleasant or Asbury Park?
It’s funny what two years can do. That sense of carelessness and freedom has been replaced with responsibilities and obligations. My friends and I have become…grown ups. Without a sense of where, when and why, we have gone from senseless road trips to who-knows-where, to calling insurance companies, paying bills and running errands. And we couldn’t even fight it because we didn’t even realize it was happening.
My dad used to tell me when I was a kid: “Enjoy your life. Because the older you get, the faster time goes.”
I never really understood what he meant until now.
A week or so ago I got a text from my best friend — and fellow writer — Courtney McManus: “My whole Time Hop today from six years ago is Bamboozle senior year of high school.”
She included a screen grab for good measure, and it instantly took me back. My mind raced back to that day. I remember the sun burn, the smell of beer and sweat in the air, and how freaking happy I was that I finally got that Armor For Sleep hoodie. Those were the best years of our lives…and I miss them.
I responded back to Courtney: “We were the best.”
“We were shameless and I kind of love us for that,” she added.
“Totally. We did it without fear.”
We did it without fear.
It’s funny what six years can do. We spent every ounce of energy living life, soaking up every little bit of it that we could. We were scared out of our minds that we would miss something. Now, it seems as though we are missing moments every day. They’re slipping away like grains of sand, and we’re too busy to try and catch them in our hands.
My favorite movie of all time — “The Breakfast Club” — was on the other night. It’s my favorite because it speaks so well to the fear and vulnerability we all had at that age. But there was one scene that hit me more than it ever has before.
It’s that scene where Principal Vernon talks about how each year kids get more and more arrogant. Carl the janitor then says to him: “Aw bull shit, man. Come on Vern, the kids haven’t changed, you have!”
The notion of being young, fun and carefree has never changed. I don’t think it ever will, really. The hunger to discover and truly live. That’s what being young is all about.
But what keeps us from having that desire as we grow older? What changes? Does life simply get in the way? Are we just too tired to notice?
Leave it to the summer to make me realize there’s so much more life I should be living. There’s so much more to do, see and experience. You just can’t let the demons tell you what “being an adult” truly means. Because then you’ll lose sight of what living truly is all about.
I definitely believe it’s possible to stay young at heart forever. You just have to let go, and learn it’s okay to be a little irresponsible once in a while.