Because my birthday is fast approaching

Posted: August 31, 2010 in WHOZITS & WHATZITS

On Angst, Citysickness, and Adulthood

It’s a common misconception that angst was something that belonged to the youth. In truth, adults have it too, and just as bad. The difference is that an adult is not blessed with the same luxury of time a teenager has to rant about existence, get wasted over life’s questions, and piece together ‘rebellious’ outfits to define the individuality that is so important when you’re 16. Also, an adult feels obligated to be responsible for himself, and unlike the teenager, cannot allow himself to get wasted every weekend. That is why adults seem to have no angst. It’s not angst they lack, but time. Adulthood is angst without the glamour.

If you examine the true meaning of angst, you will find that it’s actually more of an adult experience. The word “angst” is so overused that people have lost the true meaning of it. It is often used mockingly in the term ‘teenage angst’ to pertain to immature mood swings of a brooding adolescent. In the dictionary, angst is defined as “a feeling of dread arising from an awareness of free choice”. It’s not being trapped or powerless that makes you anguished. What does is the knowledge that you’re free to make your own decisions, hence responsible for any and every consequence.

Most people spend their entire teenage years trying to define themselves as individuals through clothes, hairstyles, music, body art, places they hang out in, and the type of people they surround themselves with; only to make it into their early twenties and realize that it’s not the most urgent thing in their lives anymore. Teens often wonder why adults don’t seem to have a burning desire for individuality. Are adults simply boring and uncreative people, resigned to blending in with the masses?

Much of a person’s teenage years are spent trying to create an image, something that makes them feel they know exactly who they are. As one grows older, the self slowly stops being a muscle that has to be flexed. The self becomes something that just ‘happens’. An adult simply starts being who he really is. That’s why adults seem like boring people. Adults just don’t try as hard.

They say being a teenager is lonely, but adulthood is lonely, too. The difference is, when you’re an adult it’s harder to show that you need people because you’re expected to be learned, independent, and certain of yourself.

So what is an adult? A teenager with less room for error and with less time? Or is adulthood simply getting over yourself? Maybe it’s both and then some. Maybe it won’t be the way you imagined it to be at all.

***

When the Party Stops…

A Remedy for City Sickness

The metro’s endless buzz can intoxicate even the prince of sobriety. Stress, being the ultimo urban hangover, is inescapable. People just have too many worries nowadays, and too little time to do something to relieve it.

Weekends in the city are just another cause for stress. Come Friday and you’re all wired up on what to wear on another dress-to-kill night at the Meatpacking or who to “chill” with in the hipstery world of Brooklyn or even the LES. How can anyone unwind in a scene where superficiality reigns?

Pardon the anti-social vibe but in truth, everyone wants something more than just a good time; something that’ll echo on once the party music stops… Something substantial and REAL.

Weekend getaways are only good while it lasts, but what happens when you go back to the madness? The trick here is to try and befriend the city and remain open to the possibility of loving it again, for all its toil and trouble and accidental beauties. There’s no need to drive away or load up with cash. The cure to city sickness can be a phone call away; a bit of good conversation with an old friend or with a total stranger over cigarettes and coffee.

The key is to slow down and keep grounded. Tap in to your roots. Those who’ve known you since you were sporting bugs bunny diapers and riding your bike with trainer wheels. Those are the people who know you best; who can satisfy your fix for something real right when you need it – may it be in the middle of a swamped day at work or a lazy Sunday afternoon in the park. Time can pass by so quickly yet feel so slow that it’s comforting. Whereas the party scene offers comfort with a price tag, yet none for take home.

Social events in “happening” places are there for a purpose, but rarely will you get anything substantial from all the glamorous forms. At the end of the day, we’re all the same – looking for that something more out of life, out of our own selves, out of everything and nothing… something seemingly out of this world yet very much in it.

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