Adolescence, as we all know, is a transitional stage from childhood to adulthood that’s marked by disruption, disorientation and discovery.
And as I recall it from the first time around, it also was exhilarating and soul crushing all at once. I mean, c’mon — did we learn nothing from The Breakfast Club?
Lately I’ve been having a bunch of feelings that I know I’ve felt before, and until I started poking around the Internets, I didn’t realize that a “second adolescence” is not only normal, but to be expected from people of a certain age.
This makes me feel better because I’d hate to be going through something without the camaraderie of my peers. (AHA! Another sure sign of adolescent behavior!)
Speaking of peers, I will say that astute readers of this here blog have noticed a trend of late, a certain inner wrassling that is spilling out into the world like a live-action diary cuz you know — the struggle is real. Literally, as in I’m getting in street brawls, screaming about reemergencies, refusing to age gracefully (unlike Cindy Crawford), scrawling To Don’t lists a mile long, and cursing out people for being mean to my fellow GenXers and me.
Put this all in context as the hormonal jungle swallows our brains whole, and the idea of a second adolescence being a real thing that happens to otherwise grown ass people makes a whole lotta sense.
How do you know, then, if you’re in the throes of re-teening? I submit there are 10 sure signs that you’re in your second adolescence:
1) You’re a rebel — against your causes: The first time around, it was our moms and dads that laid down the law with curfews, house rules, chores, mandatory activities, and so on. As grown-ups, our dance cards have been filled for years, trying to do the right thing, volunteer, be good role models, and even lay down the same gauntlets as our folks before us. All of a sudden, though, there is something divine about skipping out on that mandatory meeting, deciding to go out for a drink on a Monday night and passing up on jotting down our names on that eternal sign-up sheet. These are some of the more innocuous rebellions — maybe you’re thinking bigger. Me, I’m trolling through tattoo design options and thinking about getting some fresh piercings. And I did just buy my first faux leather biker jacket and spend my days looking for a hog to jump on and roar out of town. Currently this is just a fun fantasy… but you never know.
2) Your skin looks like hell: You have zits AND mottled skin. Dry patches and oily swatches. You’re investing in wrinkle cream and also slathering on the Clearasil. If you’re someone who gets cold sores, they are reaching a feverish pitch this winter. Your cosmetic bag is overflowing as you try to figure out just the right combo, which is less time consuming than say, plucking chin hairs. Which you also do nowadays, too.
3) You’re taking crazy risks: Is there any coincidence that you and everyone you know are trying new and perhaps nutty things? Running your first marathon, taking up skydiving, getting in fights (like I said, that’s me =), climbing mountains, and generally pushing your physical limits like crazy. All to get a little wind in your hair, some sass in your ass. Feels good though, don’t it?
4) You’re getting yourself a fake ID: I am so damn sick of getting carded, only to see the look in the bouncer’s eye like he’s going to bust out laughing and call me mom (or worse, grandma) that I’ve decided it’s time to get myself a fake ID. Unlike the old days, when it was all about trying to pull of a plausible older look, nowadays it’s all about lowering those digits. Thanks to all that new makeup I’m buying to conceal the aforementioned skin problems, I think I can paint my way into early 40s, possibly a haggard late 30s if I really cake it on. Oh, and pass the push-up bra, too.
5) You have at least one involuntary eye roll each day: Once upon a time, I was so patient. But now maybe because I’m so conscious of how precious time is, I don’t want to waste it repeating myself asking the people in my life to do the things that they should actually be doing without being asked. Know what I’m saying? (This is coming from that same place that makes bumper stickers and magnets that say, “I’m turning into my mother.”)
6) You’re self-conscious about your body: Nora Ephron famously felt bad about her neck, but truthfully we all have some part of our body that we feel crappy about. My teen gripes about her thighs, and even as I buck up her confidence and tell her to have a positive body image, I have to admit I’m thinking about my “bye-bye arms.” (A personal trainer once told me that the flab under my arms waves ‘bye-bye’ all by itself — I was in my late 20s then and so I did, for the record, allow them to wave bye-bye to him! But I’ve never forgotten that unfortunate expression.) And my perma-pooch belly. And various sagging bits. I’m even thinking about getting braces because I hate how crooked my teeth suddenly are (again). Oh, and yes I am bummed about my neck, too.
7) You’re searching for your identity: Once upon a time, you — I — knew exactly who we were. Well, at least we had the time and space to get clear on our likes and dislikes, and it was all about getting in touch with the stuff that makes us tick. But then came the melding with a spouse or partner, kids, animals, work and others that sucked us in (and occasionally chewed us up and spit us out). As the people around us age and start doing their own separating (which means we are doing our job right when we’re talking about kids, maybe less so about partners ‘n pets), there suddenly is room to go back to wondering who you are and what you want. And that begs the question: what do you want to do OR, more importantly perhaps, who do you want to be when you grow up? (For reals this time!)
8) You’re sex-obsessed: OK, once you stop laughing, riddle me this: who are the people that couldn’t put down Fifty Shades of Grey? It wasn’t the young’uns — it was older people (yup, even 55+!) and not just female… male, too. Going back to the idea that there is more time and space available to think about your own needs and desires, it’s only natural that we all go a little bit crazy. This, my bitches, is a good thing.
9) You’re acting out… of character: When I was a teenager, my mom used to ride me about my stomp. I’d tromp around my house in a snit, admittedly for no better reason than it feels goddamn good to smack your feet against the ground when things aren’t going exactly how you want. Well, I’ve noticed that the stomp is back. It slams doors, storms into bedrooms or bathrooms, kicks the refrigerator when it’s time to make dinner, and gets especially, well, stompy when people leave their damn socks on the table. Tantrums aren’t just for toddlers and teens, you know.
10) All of this is happening… and yet you give exactly zero fucks: Amiright?
So if you see me poppin’ zits, rollin’ eyes and back-talking like a mo’fo’, just know that angst is ageless, the struggle is real and in the end, it really is only a teenage wasteland, if you think about it…!