My last few blog posts have been in the “list” category, so I decided now is a better time than any to speak my mind. Here we go…
It’s my birthday today, and I think I have come to realize two things as I have gotten older. First, it seems like the taxman keeps taking more and more money away from me each year. Not sure how I can change that. The second is that I’ve recognized I’m going to be a kid for my entire life.
There certainly are some days when I feel like I am 75 years old. It’s no secret that my hair is thinning out in different spots because of the crazy toxicity from some of my antibiotics, and the aches and pains come and go just like my overall energy level. Here’s the deal though, I feel pretty good most of the time, and in my heart, I feel like I am 5 years old. I am the kind of person who makes shampoo mohawks in the shower, loves video games and can’t help but look at sweet new Nerf Guns on the shelf at Target.
I’m not 100% sure why I still do the shampoo mohawk-thing. I think it goes back to when I had one of those waterproof CD players (before the iPod!!!!), and I used to listen to All The Small Things and What’s My Age Again whenever I was in the shower as a little kid. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve listened to those songs. The shower is where I let my inner Tom Delonge loose (if you don’t know who that is, you have zero punk rock inside you). You would be totally correct to assume that I belt out the lyrics just as loud now as I did when I was 10 years old. I can also tell you with the utmost certainty that each time I do shape a little mohawk, it brings me right back to my childhood.
There’s nothing better than being young. That’s the honest truth. As time goes on, we all crave the past. Not because we have regrets, but because we feel like certain memories link us to an unbelievable sense of happiness. I remember the first night of college, the Blink-182 concert in Montreal, every single one of my high school football plays (I got hit in the head too, and yes, I’m fine), my first goal of every hockey season I ever played in, my first kiss (YIKES), my mom’s surprise 40th and 50th birthday parties, my dad’s record-breaking game against the Redskins and Sydney’s college graduation like they all happened yesterday. Each memory strikes a separate chord inside me. While Sydney definitely will not admit it, she was completely filled with joy when she graduated from BC. Her face showed it the second she was handed her diploma, and as an older brother, that moment gave me an overwhelming sense of pride. It’s fun to think back to days like that. I used to think it was memories like that that were keeping me young, but I have come to realize it is far more than just memories (dissect that complex sentence, I dare you).
So many people think that college graduation represents the end of a person’s youth – maturity and real-world responsibilities set in. I disagree, though. When Frank Deford and his HBO crew were filming the Real Sports segment on my family last year (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C5avme09utQ), he mentioned to me that he thought CF patients were “old souls.” I completely agree with that. I have had enough experiences, good and bad, in my 24 years of life to fill a dozen lifetimes. I have been to 15 Super Bowls, hundreds of Rangers games and spent the night on the USS John F Kennedy; I have visited 36 states and 14 countries; I have more friends than I realize and a family that loves me; but I have also been racked up in a hospital bed more nights than I can count. If there is one thing CF has done for me, it has matured me beyond my years. My parents instilled a strong sense of responsibility in me when I was very little, and since then I have grown to realize that there is no worse person to let down than myself (and mom too).
I have every reason not to feel young. As I have said time and again, I just don’t have the stamina to sometimes keep up with many of my friends, but that is not the essence of youth. Youth is not measured in maturity, energy or health. No matter how mature someone may think I am, how weak I can sometimes physically appear or how “unhealthy” I may seem, I know in my heart that I am still a kid. Our youth is found inside our hearts. I think a person chooses to be young for as long as he or she wants to be. You, yes you, will be forever young (sticking with the music theme here) as long as you have a fire inside your heart. You have to have the will to be young, the will to live life on the edge, make mistakes, do a few stupid things, but most importantly learn how to become a better person because of everything you have done. Our youth very much shapes our personalities – every single thing we experience creates our ever-evolving personalities. The moment our personalities stop growing is the moment we give up our youth. (I used “personalities” three times, in two sentences – I am an awesome writer)
I know I am only turning 24 years old, and I know I’m not that old (let’s be honest birthdays aren’t THAT fun after the big TWO-ONE), but I can tell you this, my inner 5 year old will never grow up. Star Wars will always be awesome. So will my video game collection and Lord of the Rings. Nerf Guns will always be cool too.
And… I know this one is for sure, I’m going to make my shampoo mohawk for the rest of time, because God knows my mom would HUNT ME DOWN if I actually shaved a real one.
Here’s something new, because why not?
My 15 favorite songs of all time:
All the Small Things – Blink-182
What’s My Age Again – Blink-182
Carousel – Blink-182
Asthenia – Blink-182
Jesus Christ – Brand New
Summer of ’69 – Bryan Adams
Have Faith in Me – A Day to Remember
You Had Me at Hello – A Day to Remember
Don’t Forget to Write – Last Winter
The Adventure – Angels and Airwaves
It Hurts – Angels and Airwaves
Bring Me to Life – Evanescence
Can’t Be Saved – Senses Fail
Believe – Yellowcard
Cute without the ‘E’ – Taking Back Sunday