What Your Teenage Self Didn’t Know About The Person You’ve Become

Sweatpants. Other than “nap”, “pizza”, and “chocolate”, few words have the ability to bring the type of joy to me that “sweatpants” does. Sweatpants mean comfort, relaxation, warmth, and comfort. Did I say that already?

When I walk in the door of my house, I take off my shoes and coat and walk directly to my sweatpants. In fact, as this winter comes to an end, I’d go so far as to proclaim it, “The Winter Of The Sweatpants”.

Yesterday I spent the majority of the day cleaning the house and the entire day in sweatpants. Ponytail, college basketball hoodie, and sweatpants. When late afternoon rolled around, I decided I needed to run some quick errands before the start of the highly anticipated college basketball game, of the team from the aforementioned hoodie, started. You know, wash the car, fill up the gas tank, stop at the store. Okay. Let’s be honest. I realized I was out of chip dip. I wouldn’t have left the house just to wash my car.

Time was of the essence and my mindset was of the laziness. I threw some warm-up pants on over my sweats (not to mask the look, mind you, to keep the sweats clean for sleeping later) and hopped in the car. As I turned the key, I realized I had zero makeup on and my ponytail was so messy, my curly hair looked like the top half of a lion’s mane, after the lion got a bad perm. And to be clear, when I say no makeup, I’m talking my dark under-eye circles looked like I came out on the wrong end of a street fight and I had the Mount Vesuvius of zits on my chin.

I paused briefly, considering the wisdom of going out in public like this. Then I thought, nah, I’m good, put the car in reverse and was on my way.

As I drove, I thought to myself, “Teenage Me never thought I would be this person. When did Twenty-Years-Older Me become her?”

I recently turned down plans to go out, because I bought a new chest freezer and was super excited to unpack it and get it up and running. My rationale: It takes four hours to get this bad boy down to freezing temp! I can’t possibly go out. I cannot wait to start filling this thing with extra boxes of frozen waffles and leftovers!

Words cannot express my excitement over this freezer!
Words cannot express my excitement over this freezer!

When you’re a kid you won’t be caught dead wearing a jacket let alone a hat and gloves when it’s cold out. Now I can’t stand being cold. I will live with an entire day of hat-head hair at work to keep my head and ears warm on the six minute walk into my building when the wind chill is below zero. Yes, those are faux-fur lined ear flaps.

I actually think my hat is super cute, but more importantly, it's super warm!
I actually think my hat is super cute, but more importantly, it’s super warm!

I have to DVR The Tonight Show, because I love Jimmy Fallon, but he’s on waaay past my bedtime.

I nearly jumped for joy in the barbecue sauce aisle the other day when I stumbled upon a green silicone trivet I had been looking for in the kitchenware aisle.

I thought they only had blue!
I thought they only had blue!

I’m absurdly excited about this breakthrough in dairy product packaging technology. They fit so well on the shelf. And the cottage cheese package is now my favorite shade of green! It makes me happy every time I open the fridge.

I find myself eating more cottage cheese, simply so I take it out of the fridge and smile.
I find myself eating more cottage cheese, simply so I take it out of the fridge and smile.

I listen to classical music. A lot. Nightly. I literally gasped and said the words, “Oh! Pipedreams is on!”, out loud last Sunday when I turned on the radio and heard my beloved pipe organ belting out a favorite Bach composition.

I love this commercial for Alive Vitamins. I love that these ladies in yellow are dancing through their everyday lives. I guarantee I look every bit as awesome singing the song and dancing in my living room when this commercial comes on.

I cry at sappy movies, and at emotional youth and college sporting events that remind me of my own happy playing days…and the occasional inspirational YouTube video. In my defense, those things are manufactured to spring tears from your eyes.

I have one dance move. (And actually, that’s one more than Teenage Me ever had.) It comes out whenever I hear a song on the radio that I really love. It involves a sort of awkward stutter step that even I don’t understand. There’s snapping and hips and too many elbows flying. It’s like that 1980s Wham! “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go” video gone horribly awry. But, what can I say? The music moves me.

On paper this all looks…uncool.

Teenage Me would have said, “Wow. Just…wow.” Teenage Me wouldn’t have been rude, even to Twenty-Years-Older Me, but she would have shaken her head and chuckled. Teenage Me would have thought, the older generation just doesn’t get it.

What your teenage self didn’t know about this person you’ve become is…you still think you’re cool. In fact, you KNOW you’re cool. While Teenage You is shaking her head and thinking, you have no concept of cool, Next Generation You is shaking her head right back and saying, neither do you.

Your definition of cool changes with every passing year.

Different things make you happy and make you laugh and make you cry and make you think at different stages in your life. As your experiences grow and your circumstances change you see the world differently. Through new eyes. The circumstances of my life have finally brought me to the point where I want nothing more than to be myself.

And this is me.

Sweatpants, no makeup, freezing leftovers, ear flaps, pipe organs, vitamin commercials, unbridled emotions, ridiculous dance moves and all.

This is me. And I am STILL cool.

I will be turning 38 in 24 days. And I am not lamenting it. I am embracing it. I’m loving it. Each year I am changing for the better and my definition of cool is changing right along with it.

Forty years from now, I’ll be walking into the mall in my matching pink, bedazzled track suit to meet my friends for our weekly social group. We’ll see a table full of teenagers who think they’re cool. My friends and I will look at each other knowingly and shake our heads thinking, the younger generation just doesn’t get it.

Thus is the cycle of life.

I gotta go. Pipedreams is on.

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7 thoughts on “What Your Teenage Self Didn’t Know About The Person You’ve Become

  1. Add extra body fat to the list and count me in. Of course I love this, and agree with what Heidi said. Ultimately I vowed I would never been on of those old me with my pants cinched up around my chest, shaking my fist at those hooligans, and screaming, “Things were better in my day.” Fair to say I’m nowhere near there, but I am grateful that I’m good with aging, and all the physical, and emotional wisdom that comes with it.

    Or more succinctly, I would actually feel sorry for the teenage Roy if we came face to face. But I would offer to help him see the world a little better from his own aging eyes…

  2. Oh, the Wham video! From my college days. I wish I were still as beautiful on the outside as I was then (not as beautiful as George Michael–those shorts!), but I am so much more comfortable in my skin now than I was then. The older I get, the more grateful I am for who I am now. Happy almost-birthday!

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