I’m surrounded by youths. Sons, daughters, nephews, nieces, young persons on Facebook I don’t even know…and I have a BAD case of youth envy.
Don’t misunderstand me, I don’t wish I was younger. God no. I’ve got better looking, brighter and (coincidentally) more boastful every year since I was twenty, there’s no way I want to reverse a trend like that, do I?
No, what I envy is the actual youth those youths are having. For instance, a month ago I went to visit my esteemed daughter, who’s just started a degree in a large, vibrant Australian city. We were talking about her social calendar.
Her: Yeah, I’m pretty busy, actually. The flatmate and me are heading off to a Comicon Conference – he’s going as Xena, in a backless leather mini-skirt and I’m going as the sidekick. Should be fun. And then there’s a birthday party on Saturday night – couple of gay girls I know, they’re so nice. And then next week…
Me: When I was your age I went to a party. Just the one.
It’s not just me. The Man also has youth envy. In his case, the conversation goes something like this (on the phone, as his Wildly Popular and Socially Successful Offspring live rather further off).
The Man: So what’re you doing this weekend son?
Son: I’m MCing a mate’s wedding…it’s the third frigging wedding I’ve done this year, I’m really gonna have to stop saying yes…oh yeah and then I’m heading off to the footie – another friend’s playing his first match for the Big Note A-Grade Footie Team, so I’m in the VIP area with the entire sponsorship team from Our Beer Puts Hair on your Chest Inc…
The Man: Know what you mean son. I had a mate, once.
I’m exaggerating, slightly. I may have gone to more than one party (two, if I remember right – or is that the number of people who turned up to the last one I threw. Whatever.). The Man has, and had, more than one mate (he’s deservedly more popular than I am, although shy as a platypus).
But, you know, if you didn’t have a ripping good time when you were in the official wild-oats sowing, bacardi-drinking, Xena-skirt-wearing years of your twenties – you, my friend, have missed the boat. Oh yes, you probably think you can catch up in your forties – but you can’t. A youth is a youth, and if you didn’t have one when you were young, you’re not going to be able to have one when you’re old. Or even middle-aged.
It’s sad really. All I can do is look at my girl over my spectacles and say things like ‘well…just don’t drink to excess, ok?’. And have a lovely party! Through gritted teeth.
The lesson: get yourself a misspent youth while you’ve still got a youth to misspend it in.
How about you? Were you a teenage swot or party central? What did you do with YOUR youth?