When I was 18 we watched Bring on the Night and Better Off Dead and ate nachos. We got caught for hanging out at the fire hydrant for a little too long and accidentally leaving notes that incriminated us. When I was 18 we had busy signals and *69 to see who had just called. Our phones connected to the wall and we carried quarters for emergencies. We were silly and stupid and pretty immature. We wrote notes and ate circus peanuts and life was ok. We had long talks on the swings at the playground and kissed behind trees.
I never met a vampire when I was 18. I met a couple of boys who could kind of kiss but they definitely didn’t suck blood. When I was 18, I was skinny and looked more like 15. At 18, I didn’t find the love of my life or have wild passionate sex. I was a dreamer who hadn’t woven all of her dreams together. I had passions I didn’t know about and loves still to find.
Why you ask I am thinking about this? You see, lately, I’ve read quite a few books about 18 year olds and they’re nothing like I remember. The New Adult genre is all the rage and it really leaves me wondering. I know “kids” today are different. They have cellphones and email and can text through the night but how did they grow up and become these people so in touch with love? I just can’t fathom it and can’t stop thinking that it can’t all be true. Or maybe, maybe it’s me and I didn’t get it back then but how is it possible to have a great love affair before you can legally drink your first beer?
And why you wonder does it even matter? I have this boy, this boy who is about to turn 14 and that’s 4 years away from 18 and I want him to know, I need him to know that’s not how life works. Yes, I know for a very small amount it is. But I want him to know that 18 is just the beginning. And for my girls, I need them to know that the loves of their lives at 18 are not what they should settle for. They need to grow and learn and experience the world.
Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been absorbed by the tales that I’ve read and lamented reaching the end. I just can’t help but wonder if that’s what 18 or 20 really looks like…or if we’re telling them that’s what it should look like.