Teenage Dream

Saturday, January 11, 2014


In kind of a panic/heart plummeting/hands shaking little internal moment yesterday I realized that I only have two months left of being a teenager. Like, what? Seven whole years of my life have been consumed with teendom, and suddenly it seems insane that I won't be able to be deemed a teen anymore once I turn 20 in March. Believe me, I've fully accepted the inevitability of growing up, and I'm not afraid of 20, I'm not dreading 20, and I'm certainly not willing to go back and relive seven years of the teenage dream, but there is something nostalgic and magical about really being a teenager, not just a young adult.
The panic came from Monday afternoon's perusal of RookieMag.com, one of my favorite online publications edited by Tavi Gevinson, teen extraordinare. The website is written for teenage girls and includes all kinds of wonderfully relevant topics like an interview of Lorde done by someone her own age and "How To Approach the Person You Like Without Throwing Up," respectively. After reading a few of the articles I ended up watching Tavi's speech at the Melbourne Writer's Festival and that's exactly when the mini heart plummeting action happened. Tavi explained her world, the world through the eyes of a 17 or 18-year-old and it was beautiful: all color coded lyrics and bits and pieces of journals and dreams and an undying respect for fangirls. As I sat there watching her speak, I realized not how incredibly frustrating and difficult it's been being a teenager, but how beautiful. Realizing this beauty is a mature acceptance: thinking back on awkward or traumatic years as beautiful is certainly a Romanticized notion, but it is also an appreciation of the hearts won or broken, the lyrics silently understood, the concerts cried at, the research papers written, the yearbooks signed, the journals destroyed. In honor of my remaining weeks of teendom, I've decided to author a variety of posts on why being 19 is actually the greatest in order to live presently.

First, I'd like to catalog the last 7 years of the teenage dream, because you've got to know where you've been to know where you're going, right?


2007, Thirteen - I was writing songs and poetry in a little marbled journal and starting to care about what I was wearing and that I was or wasn't wearing what everyone else was wearing. Thirteen is when I had my growth spurt. 

2008, Fourteen - I got my first cell phone for my birthday. And I had braces. And I wore black nail polish for the first time. I got my splits and got an iPod (nano, it seems ancient now) and subsequently making playlists became a hobby. I moved towns and started high school.

2009, Fifteen - Taylor Swift's song about this age is pretty accurate. I was in love with the boy that sat behind me in math class and sometimes I think that was the best relationship-that-never-was. He had a lot of playlists inspired by him on iTunes. I took guitar lessons. I got my learner's permit. 

2010, Sixteen - Lived the dream and had a mini dance party with my little sister to Hilary Duff's Sweet Sixteen on my actual birthday. And I went to New York City for the first time. It was just as magical and sparkly as I'd imagined despite the permanent thunderstorm present that weekend. In a lot of ways I think life is like that New York trip: it's only as good as you make it. I made a lot of scrapbook-y videos documenting this era in my life.

2011, Seventeen - "and i went forth with an age old desire to please / on the edge of seventeen" 
Seventeen felt rebellious in the sense that it's the last age before adulthood, and yet you're not a child anymore. Seventeen is ethereally awkward with its long limbs and flat chests and new realms of tingly emotions and intellects and anger to explore. There was a boy at Seventeen that I don't like to think about anymore except that I wish he'd been as rebellious as me. I also started my blog at Seventeen.

2012, Eighteen - My first words were "I'm a legal adult and you can't tell me what to do." I graduated high school and started college. 18 wasn't nostalgic or Instagram-filtered like Seventeen; 18 was shiny and new: new friends, new responsibilities, new life.

2013, Nineteen - 19 has been a year of self discovery. Italy was incredibly self reflective as I had a lot of time to just sit inside my head and think. Things that were once second nature or nonchalant as a kid are now decisions as an adult: to be productive, to be friendly, to work hard, to be myself, to not care what other people think. Now, at the end of 19 glancing at 20, I'm starting to realize what teendom has taught me and what teendom has meant to me. But to learn that, you'll have to read on...

{currently listening to} 

Edge of Seventeen by Stevie Nicks on Grooveshark

Images in the collage from pinterest.com

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