I have come to the conclusion, during a mental review of the past year or so, that it is quite possible I have not emotionally matured past the age of 14. As a 20-something, I have seen both One Direction and Justin Bieber perform live, listening to their albums on repeat prior to the event in preparation, of course. If you are interested in hitting up a midnight showing of the latest pop culture phenomenon I’m your girl and I have an uncanny ability to turn any conversation into a discussion centered around the latest episode of The Voice or Glee (can Kurt and Blaine just get back together already, please?!). Among many other quirky, tween tendencies, there are times I can still be found indulging in a Disney Channel marathon on a Sunday afternoon, the list of headlining heartthrobs I am crushing on is long and ever-changing (Darren Criss, Zac Efron, Chuck Bass, Harry Styles, Adam Levine, Joe Jonas), I whole-heartedly believe the last episode of Gossip Girl represents the end of an era and yes, the new Taylor Swift album did, in fact, change my life.
Perhaps I shouldn’t be so forthcoming about my more “immature” interests; there are those among us who may even think it is a little embarrassing that any 20-something would let herself get wrapped up in seemingly silly pop culture fads. After careful consideration, however, I would highly disagree; I’m actually not embarrassed at all. When I start to contemplate the fact that I may be “too old” to be sucked in by the latest boy band or the new book-turned-movie craze I quickly think about what the alternative is. If you don’t let go and get immersed in something once in a while, feel the magic of something silly, you lose all that light-hearted wonder and positive outlook you gained as a young adult; you forget how to just have fun.
The real question is, what is so wrong with getting a little caught up in a world that isn’t so serious all the time? We bear the burden of having to “grow up” everyday. The expectation is that we are responsible adults who mature into reliable, successful people. There is a great deal of pressure to make something of ourselves, create a life worth living, be the people we set out to become. On a daily basis, we are working to live up to multiple sets of standards, reach the bar so many competing people have set for us. With all of this comes the need to let go of certain aspects of our youth. We must learn the art of independence, leaving behind childish behaviors as to not hinder our ability to move forward. In the midst of all of this, the one thing I don’t think we ever have to leave behind is the youth we have in our heart. Outward maturity is increasingly required with each passing year, but inward immaturity can live forever. There is a reason tweens are generally lighthearted and giggly; it just might be that we had life all figured out a long time ago!
It often seems like ladies that lived a long time ago are always the ones who are the wisest, right? Well, I find that to be the case with Margaret Mead. Even better, the proof that she may have been a tween at heart herself lies in the following quote I now vow to live by: “I was wise enough to never grow up while fooling most people into believing I had.”
So, good luck convincing me that there is a need for us to grow up and out of pop culture, as I am pretty sure my inner spirit animal is a tween. I proudly say I was a Harry Potter girl from first book to last movie, just rounded out the Twilight obsession and am on the edge of my seat awaiting the second installment of the Hunger Games. If you want to go see a concert at which you fear the only people older than you will be the parents who came with their ten year old, give me a call and i’ll happily join you. I also assure you it won’t stop there; I will still be a “teeny-bopper” at heart, even after no one knows who One Direction is anymore and it makes me happy to know that my office continues to be the one in which people drop off magazines touting the latest celebrity crooner. I wish to never have a change of heart but, if I do get old enough to forget how much fun it all was, it is my hope something comes along and pulls me right back in. Life is so much more fun when you are having fun and I don’t plan on ever letting anyone tell me I am “too old” for that.