Yesterday, I spent the day lounging on the grass of my uni’s running track, soaking up the sun and listening to my friend flick through her Spotify playlist. The night before, I drank cider and played football (badly, on my part) until it got dark and cold outside – and it was great.
This is how I imagined my teenage years to be spent, really. For them to be alcohol soaked but sweet, filled with dancing amongst friends in bare feet and kissing whoever in the corners of house parties. Spontaneous car rides until sunset, dyed hair and screaming at the top of your lungs because you can. Because everything drips with youth and its temporary, incredibly temporary – and yet you still don’t care.
To be frank, this snapshot of how I thought the ages ‘sixteen to nineteen’ would go is completely unrealistic. Mainly formed from a few episodes of Skins I’d watched and American ‘coming-of-age’ films, the bubblegum bubble that encapsulated my teen idealisms has well and truly burst.
(I really hope it isn’t just me that feels this way…)
To me, this isn’t a new issue. Once I hit eighteen, the panic that I’d wasted my teenage years thickened, and I was convinced that I was past it. Two more years, and I’ll be an ‘adult’, with all that time that I’d had to ‘let loose’, go to festivals and enjoy my life without the worry of degrees or money or letting contracts had gone poof – in the blink of an eye.
‘But Lauren,’ my Mum would say, for the fiftieth time. ‘You’re not that kind of person anyway! You don’t particularly enjoy clubs, and you’re not a big drinker. If you’d have done all that – you’d have wasted those years on stuff you hated.’
And of course, Mum is right. I’m introverted, and whilst I do enjoy socialising, I have to
psych myself up before going out.
When I come home from University and occasionally pop into my hometown’s Wetherspoons, the ‘catch-up’ with people that I’ve not seen for months is lovely – but it’s exhausting, really.
Just get me home, give me a brew and get me to bed.
People often joke of how much of an ‘old lady’ I am, and I have to admit, I’m probably very wrinkled at heart. Recently, I caught up with a friend with a cup of tea and we watched Phantom of the Opera, singing along and putting the world to rights (with a fair portion of bitching.) And I couldn’t have enjoyed it more.
You see, there are no publicised or cool ‘introverted’ views of teenagerdom – after all, these are the ‘best years of your life’.
So who would choose to spend theirs with a book and indoors?
Shut-ins, that’s who. And I’m terrified that I’ve done just that.
Whilst all my friends are dancing in a muddy field with a bottle of Kopperburg in hand and faces painted with glitter, I’ll be watching the music clips on Youtube. If there’s a night out, then I’ll be scrolling through Snapchat stories at 3:00am. My Instagram feed is filled with bathroom selfies and professional club shots, of the girls whose bodies have been transformed by the wonder of puberty and were given the Goddess’ gift of Wonder Boobs.
Y’know, the kind that are nicely sized, but still perky enough to get away sans bra.
(Not jealous, FYI. Just bitter.)
Their fun isn’t an issue to me. In fact, I actively root for it, helping to fake tan and take photos and wishing them well as they get into the taxi, not unlike a proud mother waving her offspring to war.
I can go too. There’s nothing stopping me from getting inside sharpish, squeezing into a skirt and shoving on some lippie – but I rarely do. And it’s that choice that I must accept.
My flatmate often asks me to if I want to go out, or even if I fancy popping to the SU, and sometimes I go. Most times not.
Once, I apologised for being a bore and she breezily replied,
‘S’ok, mate. Different things for different people. It’s no problem.’
True. Although I’m not fitting into the rose-tinted cut out of the teenager I always hoped I would be, I’m awkwardly moulding into whoever I am instead.
Whilst I never went on that balmy summer night roadtrip (as I woefully cannot drive), taken all my clothes off and skinny dipped (or chunky-dunked) or thrown a house party (which will likely happen next year, actually. In my own house. Madness…) – I have my own memories that have shaped my teenage years.
Such as the recollections that I started this blog post with, interestingly enough. And there are many, many others, now I think about it. They might not be Polaroid or Instagram perfect, but they’re mine, and it’s likely I’ll look back at them with fondness when I really am wrinkly and rocking in a chair.
So who knows. Maybe I’m not a terrible teenager after all?
So, to you folk reading this – how did you spend your teenage years? And if you are also a teenager, do you feel like it’s gone by in a flash?
I feel like I’m going round the twist.