Nobody likes you when you’re 23. At least that’s the warning that Blink 182 gave me my entire life, although I’ve never thought to heed it. That it, until now, as I face the last few months of my 22nd year, still feeling the weight of the one beer I drank the night before (to be fair it was a stout). On this day, I can’t help but remember that mere months ago, a younger 22-year-old Caitlin could have had 3 beers, and hell, 5 shots before feeling anything. Today, almost 23-year-old Caitlin wishes she wasn’t allergic to Tums.
More than the rapid disappearance of my party tolerance, I find myself noticing an age gap with my family that I thought would dissipate after graduation. You know, all that with age comes with maturity garbage? Instead, I find myself at war with people that I genuinely like and love. They use the word transgender in a past tense and I’m ready to fight. They misunderstand the purpose of a Burka and my liberal arts school senses tingle with rage. They admit to watching the Big Bang Theory, and I’m that much closer to starting a commune in Oregon.
I remember being an opinionated teenager, and how rebellious it felt to wear a green army jacket and notice the ignorance that exists in hetero-normative society (deep, right?). It felt like social justice just to call people out on their misinformation: my contorting face, held back tears, and loud, condescending tone made me feel like I was living up to the standards of MTV’s Daria. What I didn’t realize then, or even until recently, was that basing your principals off of a fictional teenage girl does not make you an activist. It does not help you communicate as a mature adult or help you educate those who don’t know the real purpose of a Burka. For all of her truth and insight, Daria’s emotional maturity level is frozen in time. I was 17, was 22, and now am about to turn 23. At this age, I want to close the age gap, change people’s views, and get people to like me. I would, however, settle for beer.