Growing Up Is Hard To Do

One Sunday afternoon, as I scoured OnDemand for something to watch, I landed on old episodes of Laguna Beach, the drug of choice for 28-year-old nostalgics like myself. As I watched them get ready for prom and talk about boys—not husbands or babies, but boys—it hit me: I should do something crazy, like get my nose pierced!

I’ve had this idea before—usually after my dad asks about my 401(k), when a radio DJ calls the songs I listened to in high school “throwbacks”, or once after a particularly bad trip to the dermatologist where she declared the small red dots on my chest “age spots.”

But then I think about Harrison Ford’s earrings, Pamela Anderson’s high-cut bikini bottoms and the median age of Leonardo DiCaprio’s girlfriends and it’s decided—it’s too late for me. A stud in my nose would look pretty desperate.

Until recently, one of my best friends was living in a trailer on the bed of a truck. She wasn’t traveling anywhere, it just stayed parked in a lot in her Pleasantville-type town in Colorado. She had the money should she want a kitchen, or say, running water. But no, she chose to live out of a car, Jewel-style. It could be that she was rejecting society’s emphasis on achievement, or status—or bathing. But I see it differently. I think she was clinging to the seductive idea that we’re still young enough to be screwups.

It’s liberating to think that we’re still within the realm of youthful indiscretion. That we can get hammered during the week, show up to work hung over, and people will laugh, Oh, to be young again. But all of a sudden, the “adventures” we took in our early twenties are deemed reckless, irresponsible, even selfish. And stories of our one-night stands—which were once met with sly, envious smiles—now seem a little sad.

The stakes have gotten higher. What used to be a funny quirk—Oh Lisa, you always forget to pay your rent on time!—is now a legitimate deficiency that leads to a tragic night of shame-eating.

Granted, there are parts of getting older that feel very natural to me, like drinking alone, self-help books and the decadence of a good night’s sleep. But the part I don’t like, as I sit nose-to-nose with 29 and begin to feel forever’s hot breath on my neck, is the need to “buckle down” and “think about the future.”

Maybe I’ll start small. One of my money-minded friends has been begging me since college to create a budget and, perhaps, the time has come to dust off an old Excel spreadsheet.

But only if I can set aside some cash for piercings.

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