I can’t believe I’m already 20. The teen years are gone and will never come back. Who am I? I should probably know by now but I don’t. The string of expectations this next decade is laying on me is a little overwhelming. In less than a year, I can drink alcohol legally. At 25, I can rent a car! A whole car! Oh joy! I’m not sure if I can handle this much responsibility, it’s all too much, too soon. Whatever happened to frolicking in the streets with friends when a fire hydrant burst in the middle of summer? That never happens by the way, only on TV.
I miss having no responsibility, worrying only if the Saturday morning cartoon lineup would be good or not. Oh god, it’s all a faint memory now. Is that even my memory? Or am I projecting on what others have told me? I had thought dementia would come a little later. Gray hairs must be coming soon. I swore I saw one last week. Is this really the end? No, it can’t be! I never got to be the crazy grandpa who sneaks his grandson whiskey when Mom isn’t around. I never got to make a bucket list with Jack Nicholson. What happened to the golden years?
I feel like I’m constantly being haunted by the life milestones being crossed prematurely by fellow high school graduates and friends from college on Facebook. Marriage, girls knocked up, babies… These are the same people I graduated with? My age? I must only have a few more years before I come home late from my 9-5 to a disappointed wife with meatloaf waiting for me in the oven to be reheated. I picture my wife wearing 60’s housewife attire and an apron at all times. She’ll yell about how I don’t care about making time for family, I’ll scold her for making meatloaf every god damn week. Ah shit, I woke up the baby. “Why should I get him? I put bread on the table!” I’ll say. It’s probably late in the marriage at this point meaning that my masculinity has been reduced to a small area in the back of the house men call their “man cave” which really means “I’m a pussy and let this girl stomp all over my dreams and now I can only retreat to this corner and watch football.”
I guess I just have to splurge on some ridiculous car I don’t look right in. A muscle car will do the trick. Stick shift? No I don’t know how to drive stick, but it doesn’t matter. I’m just buying it to remind myself of when I was young. Back in those teen years when my skin still had color and I still had a kick in my step. I’m just buying it to sit in my driveway, a withering old man doesn’t look right in a new mustang. Everyone will pass my house and go “Wow… He must be some successful 20-year old” or something. But they’ll never know that it’s really an old man sitting inside, having his quarter-life crisis, completely unaware of the fact that police are looking for him for robbing a Ford dealership who reported that he said he needed the car “so the kids know what grandpa’s packing” before paying with a piece of paper that said “stock options!” on it and driving away maniacally.