One of my friends recently complained that during an after work outing some twenty-something co-workers wanted to go to a popular (aka crowded bar) and once there had wanted to leave again (for another popular bar) because someone’s crush was present, but it was all an “awkward love triangle!” Having had just about enough of that nonsense, my friend co-opted the group and went to a less crowded bar where everyone could hear each other AND sit down at the same time. Her conclusion? “Man, is it nice to no longer be in my twenties!”
The thought made me laugh because I could not agree more, but I do remember the angst of turning 29 and realizing that all marketing was no longer going to be aimed at me! If movies, music, and all popular culture is no longer aimed at me how can I possibly validate my self-worth? Oh wait, that’s right; I was never that cool to begin with. This was probably strongly correlated to the high premium I placed on sleep. If I wasn’t going to get at least 8 hours of sleep then the night-club we were going to had better dang well be AWESOME, or it just wasn’t worth it.
On the other hand, it does make writing younger characters problematical. How do I realistically write a twenty-something when I find all that gadding about just a little bit silly? Yes, that’s how old I am – I use the word “gad”. Well of course, I could try using my imagination (What? A writer using their imagination? P’shaw!). Aging does make me worry about the authentic feel of characters I never used to worry about. Actually, aging makes me worry about plenty of things that I never used to worry about. Like, drinking out of a hose; when I was 10 we did this all the time. It never used to cross my mind that it could have something wrong with it. But maybe the ignorance of youth is double-edged sword. Perhaps I will later get hose cancer and perhaps the twenty-something characters I wrote in my twenties weren’t all that great. Or perhaps I should just stop worrying and write with the same gusto that I did in the twenties, trusting that it will all work out, and then go drink out of the hose, because really it’s the same water that goes into my kitchen faucet, and the hoses under the sink are made of rubber too and honestly it’s not going to matter any more or less than the donut I might be having for dessert.