July 10, 2012

Face it, Your Sweet Adolescence is Gone. ~ Anne Clendening

I miss the days when life was easy.

Remember when you were young? In my day, we could eat Twinkies and drink Coke for breakfast. No one cared about carbs, second-hand smoke or mercury poisoning. We barely even used seat belts.

There was no mortgage to worry about, nowhere to clock in and nowhere to be. I actually spent every single day of the summer of 1984 on the beach with my friends, Pabst Blue Ribbon and Led Zeppelin I. I don’t even remember using sunscreen.

Those days are gone. It’s difficult to admit but…I’m an adult now. Have been for some time. I can’t just hop on my skateboard and ride off when things get rough. And I’d just end up breaking something if I did.

Coming of age in sleepy West L.A., life was… uncomplicated. Fantastic, actually. I don’t really know what the big hurry was to grow up and muddle everything up when it was all so sweet and easy, but like the young, hotheaded Holden Caulfield, I was cynical and dissatisfied by the time I reached 16-years-old. Thanks to The Catcher in the Rye, I developed a burning desire to bust loose and rock the proverbial boat. (People like me are the exact reason book-burning zealots exist, by the way—those books gave me “ideas.” that may have been “immoral.” Bite me.)

I think I also read some 60s hippie propaganda around this time and made a decision to be a liberal thinking anti-establishment earth child. I never wanted to have much responsibility, or God forbid, reach the age of 30. I was told not to trust “the man,” not that I knew who that was, or why The Velvet Underground was waiting for him.

No one ever asked me what I was so “anti” about, and I wouldn’t know what the hell to say if they did.

So young. Why do we make life so difficult? Wasted youth. I miss my Slip n’ Slide.

Photos: Sally Mann

Then there’s that murky time between adolescence and adulthood where some of us are stuck. You don’t want to be a kid anymore, but adulthood sounds utterly horrifying. It’s a very real phenomenon, like a good old-fashioned Peter Pan complex, or even a phobia. Actual word: Gerontophobia, the fear of growing up. Rolls right off your tongue, doesn’t it? (It’s no worse than Arachibutyrophobia, the fear of peanut butter sticking to your mouth. Not kidding.) 

Like it or not, it’s happening. There comes a point you just don’t seem so cute anymore with a clove cigarette dangling from your mouth, a bad attitude and an overdrawn checking account. Grow up. You would gag if I told you what year I was up to in high school reunions. And while it may be true that I can still fit into my robin’s egg blue silk taffeta 80s prom dress, it doesn’t mean I should run right out and dye some pumps to match.

Ernest Hemingway wrote, “All things truly wicked start from innocence.” Why? Because we have nowhere else to go from there, baby. I know, it’s a bittersweet thought. Don’t be sad. Scandal and immorality can be fun too. Take that, book-burners.

I know you’re a stand-up kind of cat who pays taxes and gripes about the price of gas and Jack Daniels. But here’s some life advice: Get it out of your system. Blow off everything, get in your car and crank some Zeppelin. Turn your damn phone off. Work can wait. Do something completely immature and stupid—maybe you show up in Vegas with just your rent money, slide up to the $100 black jack table and put it all down at once. (I’ve always wanted to do that.) Then get back to us. We all really want to know what happens.

Look, we all just want to feel young again, feel alive and buy the world a Coke. I can see my skateboard in the corner of the room. I’d get on it and ride off now, but it’s dark out, and I really don’t want a broken leg.

Anne Clendening was born and raised in L.A., where she came of age lying on the beach, listening to  Pink Floyd and reading F Scott Fitzgerald. A yoga teacher and kind of a dark little hippie, Annie is especially inspired by horror flix and anything chocolate. She writes about her life at www.mysweetyoga.com. If you’re not easily offended, her darker thoughts can be read at www.dirtyblondeink.com. She’ll be kickin’ it with her two boxers and her hot Australian boyfriend.


Editor: Kate Bartolotta


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