Aging: the epidemic
Today I write to y’all from my couch, where I’m trying to overcome what might be the worst hangover of my life. Despite the five Advil I chased with two gallons of water and Pedialyte, my head is pounding, and I can’t fully open my eyes. It’s 5:00 p.m. and I just ate breakfast. I feel like a useless blob of wasted potential and liver damage. Ughhhhh.
My hellish hangovers are a fairly new occurrence. Freshman year, I could guzzle a bag of Franzia and go jogging the next morning. Now, two glasses of fancy(er) wine at dinner, and I want to wear my Snuggie to class the next day. Sadly, my morning-after-boozing appearance has also worsened. I like to think that my 18-year-old self woke up looking like Gwyneth (or maybe her third cousin), whereas, nowadays, I resemble Ke$ha—with the flu and no glitter.
Why is this happening to me? I quit the Franzia freshman fall—shall I call this the Franzia paradox, then? Actually, no. After some desperate Googling and too much time reading Women’s Health, I made a startling discovery: I am aging! My liver is loosing efficiency, my metabolism is slowing down, and, eventually, I will die. Ahh!!! I will never be as young as I once was. Oh my God. My 22nd birthday is rapidly approaching—it’s all downhill from here, right!? F---. I just bought a case of beer and wasn’t even ID’d. I might as well go buy some anti-wrinkle cream and a pair of mom jeans. Quarter-life crisis, anyone?
The more I think about it, the more I realize that I’ve been ignoring my impending adulthood for a while now. Maybe it’s because, most of the time, I still feel like a kid. I’m nearing the big two-two and live in a real apartment (with my own dishwasher and laundry room), but I’ve been known to confuse the dishwashing soap and laundry detergent and usually forget to pay my electric bill. I’ve been trying to make “wrinkled-chic” a thing (I don’t own an iron), still love my gummy vitamins and high-five myself when I can parallel park in under ten minutes.
Now that I’m nearing the dreadful finish line that is my May graduation, does this mean my behavior should start to reflect my liver’s efficiency? Do I need to worry about my cholesterol? When must I stop wearing leggings as pants? Or drinking alcohol that comes in a box? Dear Daddy Duke, these are my suggestions for the curriculum. But, like the embarrassing habits of my earlier years (hello, gel pen obsession and windbreaker pants), I hope to seamlessly outgrow the characteristics that mark me as a mildly irresponsible Dukie. After all, I’ve made it this far unscathed, right?
My family, however, isn’t always pleased with my blasé attitude towards adulthood. This became especially apparent during my last Christmas dinner—perhaps because I spiked the eggnog? While my grandmother sobbed tears of joy upon hearing about my little brother’s girlfriend, my perpetual singleness horrifies her. “Chelsea, I am getting old, and I wish to see you happy before I die. We Sawicki women are a fertile bunch, and I just want to live to meet my great grandchildren! Is that too much to ask? I’m worried you are wasting your time. Will you finally let me set you up with a nice Catholic boy from my church?”
While the thought of birthing a brood of Catholic babies terrifies me more than death itself, my grandmother is a wise, caring woman who wants what’s best for me. Am I really wasting my most fertile years? (Ok. lolz, no way.) But does she really not think I’m happy? Hidden beneath her matchmaking desires and interest in my egg count, Grandma’s true intentions suddenly become clear. She wants me to know that thankfully, it’s not all downhill from here. Just as my last few years have brought forth various rites of passage (ahem boys, booze and buffoonery), I’m certainly not done having firsts. My inexperience and ignorance are the only reasons my coming firsts (ahem men, marriage, menopause) seem so daunting. Was I nervous the first time I got drunk? Drove a car? Had sex? Of course! Thankfully, time and experience helped me figure it all out and enjoy it. Let’s hope I’m saying the same about menopause when the time comes?!
With that, I’ve decided to treat my final semester as not the end of my raucous youth (come on now, that would be depressing), but, rather, as a transitional period. Ok, so I really need to buy an iron and should probably stop wearing leggings as pants. But does this mean I should start ironing my pillowcases and wearing pantsuits? No way. I’ve got four months left in this glorious Gothic Wonderland, and I am going to enjoy it.
Chelsea Sawicki is a Trinity senior. Her column is part of the weekly Socialites feature and runs every other Wednesday. Send Chelsea a message on Twitter @ChelsTweetzz.