Nostalgia Layer Cake

Chocolate icing on a vanilla layer cake

Chocolate icing on a vanilla layer cake (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Getting older is sometimes weird. I look back on my early twenties with a mixture of longing and regret. Many folks remember their early adulthood as the best years of their lives. I suspect many look back with rose-colored glasses. I see a mix of mistakes and reckless fun, much of which I would not change though I realize how lucky some of us were to get out of our twenties alive. It is an often meditated upon truth: when you are young you think you are invincible and the center of the universe.

It is common for youth to spend their first years of adulthood going a little wild. We were no different. I like to think that in many ways we had a better head on our shoulders than most of our peers did, my friends and I. Yes we did drugs, some of us quite a bit. We drank and played our music loud, though my roommates and I were always polite and made sure our elderly neighbor (we lived on a semi-rural road) knew she could always tell us if we were being too loud. We often asked her the next morning and she would just wave and laugh.  We had way too many people in our apartment sometimes, and it was not uncommon to wake up to a complete stranger sleeping in our living room. “Who are you? A friend of Brians? Who’s Brian? A friend of Simone’s? Who’s Simone? A friend of James’s? Which James? Oh… OK.” (The first two names have been changed due to lack of recollection, there were no innocents.)

It was a strange and uncertain time for me. I was still in the closet about my gender ID, but not my sexuality. I spent my teen years completely avoiding intoxicants so jumping into a world of psychotropics and other chemical enjoyments was a bit of culture shock for me but we were never as heavily into it as we boasted and/or joked about. The group I mostly hung out with were hardcore iconoclasts, rejecting any convention you sought to yoke them with, including the conventions of how people “like us” were supposed to behave.

Looking back it was a blur of work, going to shows at the punk and goth clubs in Rochester and parties, usually at our place. We were rebels without a single guiding principle. We had a bit of attitude, but mostly, if you let us do our own thing and just did yours we did not have a problem with you. I did not accomplish much, but I had a damn good time. I guess that’s all I ever could really ask for. My only real regret is that I had given myself the opportunity to realize what a good time I was having.

Some times I wish I could get just a little of that time back. Hanging out, getting stoned, writing really bad poetry and listening to real good music. The nights hanging out on the roof of our garage. The fights we got into and the ones we avoided. Sneaking around the parks well after they were closed. The misadventures of  youth. It comes with some other baggage though, that I long ago unloaded and am better off without. So I will partake of what life serves me now, rather than cut into that sweet, aging, cake of yesterday.




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