Today I’ve been wondering if there are people out there who feel as old as they are in years. I know that time as we think of it is a human construct and age is really only useful in terms of development and awarding people liberties, but I can’t help but wonder if there’s anyone who looks at how many years they’ve lived and thinks, yes, this exactly is how old I feel.
I’m nineteen, pushing twenty, and how old I feel fluctuates. Sometimes I feel only seventeen, but other times I fall somewhere between ninety and one hundred.
I was thirteen when I stopped caring whether I lived or died, and I think I felt roughly seventy; just old enough to leave me in purgatory, waiting in an in-between place, caught somewhere between life and death.
It was on my eighteenth birthday that I sat in my room absolutely dumbstruck, incapable of wrapping my mind around the fact that I’d made it that far. That was when I hit ninety.
Every moment since then has felt precarious, apprehensive, like it could all very easily end the next day, but I had made my peace with it. I had lived long enough, like I had ninety-some odd years of experience behind me.
I believe it’s on the days when I’m feeling the brunt my depression that I feel old.
It’s only when I’m anxious do I feel seventeen, but not my seventeen, not in my late eighties and most of my way to where I am now. It’s another man’s seventeen, the borrowed year of a seventeen-year-old with a mind that felt and perhaps even was ancient. It’s on those days when my skin is too tight and my fingers dance and itch and I feel scars between my shoulder blades. It’s on those days when I pace too quickly and I can’t take a deep breath and I feel the need to fly to another place even if it means having to fight my way out of this one. I feel the need to fight, to escape, because I can’t convince myself that I’m safe here, or anywhere people know me, where there may be someone who recognizes my face. It’s on those days where the only way I can describe the thoughts in my head is by borrowing the life of man I dreamt up, and we’re seventeen again.
I’m seventeen, today, and I look it. Already that’s fading; I’m growing older, back to the safety and impermanency of a grown man who knows his years are numbered but can’t make himself care.
I don’t know if I’m safer when I’m seventeen or ninety-nine, but I do know I’m safe here, tonight. I may make terrible mistakes, say or write terrible things, but no action I will take will kill me. Not while I’m in this house.
After all, seventeen is too young to know when to die.
I have no idea what I'm doing.