Today I turn 20 years old, thus beginning a long (hopefully) process of lamenting my youth. I’m kind of sad to be turning 20, admittedly partly because I feel like how the Sex and the City characters feel whenever they get older, but mostly because I don’t feel like a “twenty-something”.
Having spent the last 10 years with a “1” in front of your age, it feels like I don’t yet fit into the next decade. More than that though, before this moment I was able to glaze over media targeted at “twenty-something”, I was able to view and understand messages targeted at a demographic I didn’t technically fit into. To illustrate a very similar feeling to anyone over 20 reading this, imagine viewing a message targeted at “teenagers” or the “middle aged”. You understand that you once were or will be included in these demographics at some point, but you are able to observe the message with some distance because you do not feel specifically targeted.
Having spent some time lately thinking about youth culture for CMNS 221, I can see some cultural values being reflected in my own life. The fetishization of youth culture, and the prevailing of the narrative that youth are innocent, beautiful, not to mention constantly and unequivocally in style. These values and ideas are partially reinforced by advertisers and marketers, who have for centuries pursued the affluent youth demographic.
And even though I know that these notions have been largely fabricated, and that it’s ok to grow up, I can’t help but lament this transition. I think that if Peter Pan offered me the opportunity to go to Never Never Land, I’d take the offer, if just for a little bit to experience a retirement in my youth (which reminds me of this Chris Merritt song).
Oh well, aging is inevitable so I’m just going to have to suck it up. When I look back on this blog at 70 years old I’m going to be embarrassed at what a huge nerd I am. This is for you, future Therese!
Bill Osgerby. “” in Youth Media. London: Routledge, 2004 (2010).