Whenever I see a film with young people driving around at night, with cicadas going wild in the background, I always get a little nostalgic. I’m instantly transported back to my own youth, with the warm summer air, driving too fast with music too loud, sometimes skinnydipping out at the lake and sleeping in our cars. I saw Adventureland tonight at the Mission Theater, which is a mere 5 blocks from my apartment, with my friend Caryn, and while the movie was pretty great (with the exception of Kristen Stewart – somebody tell the girl she’s a human, not a robot; she’s about the most bland actress I’ve ever seen in my life), what it really did was make me miss those heady, stressful days of post-college.
It’s different from being post-high school. That particular summer seems so rife with promise, and every moment is bittersweet. The summer after I graduated from college (the first time), I moved back in with my parents after living in Dallas for 2 years, and we fought all the time, and I worked in a warehouse for, like, $6 an hour or something while I went to see punk shows every night and slept until 3 in the afternoon on Saturdays. It was sort of fun, but I was bored, and restless, and wanted more than anything to move to Los Angeles, and I already knew at that point I had zero interest in using my new degree. Which is a fairly good thing, because it was pretty useless anyway.
It took me a really long time to grow up (about 29 years, I’d say), and while I wouldn’t go back to being a teenager or to my early 20’s for anything, it’s still fun to remember what it was like and how much potential and how many options I had. Not that I don’t still, but when I find myself realizing that if I go live in Italy for a year after I graduate, I’ll be 40 before I have my PhD, and I want a kid before I’m 40, and my boyfriend has his own future and education and dreams to think about, so I need to start making some choices. For instance. Remembering when you had all the time in the world puts things in a little bit more perspective. But having a narrower band of choices doesn’t make things harder, or less fun. It just means I’m finally getting to where I want to be, and where I thought I’d never be when I was 22.