Tuesday, August 25, 2009

If My Age Were a Coin, You Could Play an Arcade Game With Me

Just over a quarter of a century ago, three people were born in Nuremberg, Germany. Well, I'm sure there were more than three people born in Nuremberg on August 23, 1984, but two of those three happened to be my brothers, and the third was yours truly.

I know that I'm 25 because, though I've been talking about "kids these days" for years now, I can no longer tell if I'm being ironic. Last night I got up at 2:40 AM to tell the college kids in the next apartment to keep the noise down. Earlier that day, the cashier at the grocery store had asked me if I was a Cal student. "I'm afraid my college days are behind me," I replied. "I'm an adult now. I don't know how that happened!" I was trying to make a joke, but she must have misunderstood. "Finally, huh?" she asked.

My generation seems to be having trouble adjusting to adulthood. Webcomics and blogs are full of jokes about people who are confused about suddenly being saddled with all this responsibility and wondering why they can't just sit around and play video games or watch cartoons all day.

Though I sometimes feel that way, myself, an even stranger thought has occurred to me: I like being an adult. I like people treating me like I know what I'm doing. I enjoy paying for my own rent and food. I enjoy having a job where I can contribute, as opposed to doodling in my notebook margins while learning what I need to ace my next test.

That's not to say that I don't enjoy video games, or comic books, or cartoons, but I can't spend a Saturday in front of a computer killing goblins and feel like I've accomplished something any more. I enjoy the same things I always did, and maybe I still wish I had a lightsaber, but those are all things that I do for fun, and I have those things firmly compartmentalized in my mind.

I know that I've got a long way to go, and I am not a wise man yet. But perhaps, at 25, I can at least be a man, and no longer a boy.