ilona the pest

insecurity + narcissism = awesome!

Saturday, July 01, 2006

generation (non-)gap

on the plane from SF to seattle last night i had planned on reading or napping the whole time, as usual. then i ended up in a row with two fascinating seat-mates, and we ended up talking for almost the whole two hours. they were two teenage boys from washington, ages 14 and 15. these days, i hardly ever have the chance to interact with anyone younger than, oh, 22, so it was a really novel experience.

the most interesting thing was realizing how smart they were. i tend to think of 14-year-olds as closer to children than grown-ups, but i was pleasantly surprised to realize that these were basically fully-formed adult human beings - they're just lacking a lot of the information and experience that i've picked up over the past 10 or 12 years. (don't i sound like a zoologist or something?) it made me feel a little closer to, and more forgiving of, my own 14-year-old self. i bet a lot of her insights would still feel reasonably interesting and important to me today. maybe i'll start posting some entries from that diary to see if you agree.

right now i'm at this in-between age where i'm not sure whether i'm a teenager or a grown-up - although ever since i hit that mid-twenties peak i've been trying to face facts and view myself as basically a grown-up, albeit a
pretty youthful and creative one. so it was kind of comforting to realize that i really do still fit in, 90% of the way, with teenagers. we have most of the same vocabulary, cultural references, sense of humor. it's nice to know i haven't completely gone over to the dark side yet.

it's funny how hanging out with 15-year-olds can make you feel younger than being the youngest person in a room full of 30-somethings. a little regression now and then is healthy - i guess that's one reason people have kids!


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