16 Sep

Originally posted at Three Blog Night.

My friend Matt, who feigns authority over this blog, turned 20 on Monday. I grew up with him – we’ve known each other since pre-school – and there are only 10 days between us, so him being 20 now… it’s odd. Don’t get me wrong – I recognise that really, this whole age thing is arbitrary. We are constantly aging – I’ve aged by several seconds in the time that it’s taken me to write this sentence and you’ve aged by several months with the effort that it’s taken you to read it – so the day that separates being 19 from being 20 probably shouldn’t be so significant. But there’s something about it that scares me. I’m not going to be a teenager anymore, and that’s a pretty frightening thought. You can get away with stuff when you’re a teenager, like behaving in an overtly stroppy manner, or sporting illogical headwear, or sleeping with minors. When you’re a twenty-something? Not so!

If you’re reading this then you probably followed a link that I posted on twitter, and if you’re following me on twitter then there’s a pretty significant chance that you’re over 30. And if you’re over 30, there’s an even greater chance that you hate me right now because I am flaunting my youth in your face and you will die soon. But I’ve had a problem with the concept of ageing since I was 7 years old. I remember being in a newsagents when, as is customary when you’re 7 years of age and surrounded by overpriced confectionery and softcore pornography, I was struck by a profound thought. I can’t remember what that thought was, but I remember having an overwhelming desire to receive affirmation from an adult that I wasn’t close to old-age, incontinence and death. So I asked my mother, with relative confidence that I’d get a comforting response, whether 7 years was a long time. And she looked at me, with a tired exasperation that I will never forget, and answered, “Yes, Heather. 7 years is a long time. 7 years is a very, very long time.”

I was destroyed.

But it’s been over the past year or so that I’ve really started to become aware of the fact that I’m not going to be a kid for much longer. People have started to react to me differently. If a child ran in front of me, their parents used to ask them to “move out of the way of that girl”, but recently I was referred to as “that woman”. Replying with, “ACTUALLY, I AM NOT A WOMAN! Yet.” gets surprisingly negative responses from the parents of young children. And in Edinburgh I didn’t always get asked for ID when I tried to buy alcohol, although I’ll concede that I’m clutching at straws with that example; even the toddlers in Scotland piss gin. I’m becoming increasingly aware, though, of the fact that my time here is finite. I’ve done almost two decades. Nearly 20 years I’ve been here! That’s a long time. I mean, fuck. SEVEN years is a long time, as we’ve established. But twenty, and not only have I achieved nothing, but there’s always an army of utter bastards determined to highlight my inadequacy. From this website: “aged 19, paleontologist Richard Leakey launched his first expedition in search of human fossils.”

What a cunt. Richard Leakey didn’t even give a shit about fossils. A decision like that serves no purpose but to deliberately piss off your dysfunctional, underachieving peers by reminding them of what dysfunctional underachievers they are.

Now, I only have a week of not-being-elderly left so if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go and read all of Stephenie Meyer’s novels, watch One Tree Hill and listen to Jonas Brothers on loop. Whilst weeping.



  1. writerJames September 16, 2010 at 12:23 pm #

    Maybe I’ve been doing it wrong. My worrying about how ancient I’m constantly getting always seems to lead to guilt about how little I’m doing with my life. I missed the whole part where you attempt to joyfully capture the fleeting moments of youth while you can still feel entitled to them.

    P.S. Fuck you for being younger than me.


  2. Jim Compton-Hall September 16, 2010 at 12:29 pm #

    I recently turned 20 too but I’m not sure I’m going to miss my teenage years. Sure 18 was a great age but then 19 was just a continuation of 18 and had no real purpose of its own.

    I’m fine with not being a kid as long as I’m still a student. We can get away with stuff like getting dunk in the morning, wearing ridiculous clothing, protesting the stupidest things and like kids, we can put off worrying about the future for a few years.


  3. Beth September 16, 2010 at 12:50 pm #

    Thank you for expressing my current feelings so accurately. Only 7 more weeks of 19 for me! *hyperventilates*


  4. StormySan September 16, 2010 at 12:51 pm #

    I was fine with aging until a friend had the decency to point out that, when I hit 25, I was a quarter of a century old. It just seems so weightier describing it as such.

    Now, at 28, my Mother has taken to saying I’m “nearly 30”. This is intolerable.


  5. Handsaker September 16, 2010 at 1:57 pm #

    When you turn 20, you gain nothing new, you’re not suddenly granted access to formerly forbidden goods, you just lose the ability to act immaturely with an excuse. It’s shit. enjoy your last days as a teen heather.


  6. Nicholas Stewart September 16, 2010 at 6:03 pm #

    I’m in tears. I twice as old as 19… I think. I stopped counting after 21. Odd tho… I still like behaving in an overtly stroppy manner, or sporting illogical headwear, or sleeping with minors.



  1. Tweets that mention FUCK YOU, PALEONTOLOGIST RICHARD LEAKEY. « Three Blog Night -- Topsy.com - September 16, 2010

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Tim Minchin, Matthew Peacock, georgina hanley, Roxanne Sapra , Steven Scott and others. Steven Scott said: RT @timminchin http://bit.ly/bI4wzN Blog by @AbrasiveShrub. The little fuckers only 20. – this blog made me unhappy. I'm now even more old. […]


  2. The prize-winning writer Heather Stevens. « Three Blog Night - April 15, 2011

    […] But I have totally gone and found a project. I’m doing a palaeontology project, partly as a fuck you to Richard Leakey, and partly because I really dig […]


  3. The prize-winning writer Heather Stevens. « I have no idea what I'm doing. - December 30, 2011

    […] But I have totally gone and found a project. I’m doing a palaeontology project, partly as a fuck you to Richard Leakey, and partly because I really dig […]


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: