When we were younger, the mere thought of someone older* showing any level of interest was justification for anything. A Facebook request was justification for staying out late and skipping class. A daytime text was justification for ordering that new dress on ShopBop, or skipping a meal. A drink at the bar was justification for sleeping with them, or whichever of their friends they suggested.

When we were 18, older equated God. Male or female, smart or not. If you were older, and you showed any interest in our time, you had it. It wasn’t to brag to peers, it wasn’t to learn what they knew. It wasn’t to make other girls jealous, make a new Facebook album, or prove to home friends that we were cool in college.

It was that, despite the age on our drivers license, our inability to walk in heels, our nervous stomachs when we missed home, our loneliness that was only escaped by being intoxicated, someone, we thought, was viewing us as that adult that we were ready to be. And that felt amazing.

Therefore, to reach adulthood, we did whatever it took to “fit in.” Chugging vodka as sorority girls poured chocolate sauce in our hair and we threw up on our shoes. Taking unidentified pills to be considered a badass. Forgoing a condom so that an older boy may ask you to formal. Agreeing to go home with him even though he knowingly slept with your roommate the night before. And had a girlfriend.

And this is what we did, because we thought we had to. To be taken seriously. To be older.

Thank God we finally grew up…

*The definition of older (at age 18, probably only if you were a girl): aged 20-23, lived off campus, whipped high school car, no class on Friday, themed parties only, roommate dealt drugs, occupied entire corner of bar, carried keys around risk, smelled delicious, dated recent graduate, invite-only pregames, studied abroad, danced in circles, had sex with your crush, called you a slut, did not say hi in daytime, pushed down head, piled you in trunk, squeezed your fat, snorted coke in bathroom, wanted you to rush, had great tagged photos. 

Hustla by day, Top Chef by night, Amanda lives in New York via New Orleans via Boston and is thoroughly enjoying the last year before the Quarter Life Crisis begins.

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