I think the thought of turning twenty was so frightening because when I was eight, I considered twenty years old middle-aged and only managed to reconcile the possibility of me one day getting that old by reassuring myself that I might die before then. I’m not sure why I care about the opinion of someone who found death a more appealing concept than growing up, but, hey, if I don’t, who else would?
But as October 14th drew closer and closer, even I had to recognize the chance of me dipping out before then was edging into improbable territory. At a loss for what to do with myself, I impulse-bought a ticket to Austin City Limits, an annual music festival in the area, rationalizing that even if I had no idea what to expect, I might as well kick off my third decade on a high note. I purchased a three-day weekend pass (Friday to Sunday, the 13th to 15th) because a) I wanted my last day as a teenager to grossly misrepresent how much fun I’d had over the past decade and b) my favorite hobby is obligating my future self to commitments.
You already know that the experience wasn’t smooth sailing because I’m blogging about it, but here are some of the warning signs of which I should’ve taken note.
Hints (that I didn’t take) of a rough decade ahead
- It was Friday the 13th.
- My friend and I managed to miss a total of four buses just trying to get to the park.
- Seeing an actual “L” float into the sky right upon entrance. (Urban dictionary for “L”)
- Oh, yeah, and getting stranded.
At around 9:30PM, to beat the crowd of ~200,000 people (extrapolated off a Wikipedia estimate) trying to get home at once, I slipped out of Jay-Z’s concert early. I’d planned on taking the shuttle back by myself but ultimately was convinced into ridesharing with my friend and her sister. They declined their mom’s offer to pick us up, and we walked toward the ridesharing lot.
The walk was a strange affair. With a group of about forty stragglers, we hiked in silence for about twenty minutes underneath some highways (and past Jay-Z’s motorcade!), all of us ridiculously solemn in outfits yellowed by harsh street lights. We were exhausted by the time we reached our destination, and, upon, finding out it was a parking lot where you were supposed to request rideshares without any phone service or functional Wi-Fi, lost all will to live and called my friend’s mom again.
11PM (an hour later) found us sprawled across benches in front of a random elementary school in the darkness.
Me: I think I’m going to turn twenty on a bench in the middle of nowhere.
Friend: Oh my God.
This exchange induced side-splitting laughter; we were deliriously high off exhaustion and probably some secondhand smoke from ACL. I mean, I try not to make a big deal of milestones, but I really felt that on the eve of my twentieth I should’ve been somewhere else, namely not stranded on a bench.
Friend thought she saw her mom’s car, and we walked out into the carpool lane. It wasn’t her mom.
Me: Would it be funnier if I sat on the curb instead?
Me: This is so fitting I can’t even be mad.
Her mom appeared after about ten minutes, and we piled in sheepishly (but thankfully.) (Friend’s mom’s first words to Friend: “So where are your leadership skills?”)
Friend’s mom: Do you guys want to get ice cream?
Friend: I think we should probably drop Nicole off first… Otherwise she’ll turn twenty in this car.
Friend’s sister (FS): Were you born at midnight? Because then it’s not your birthday.
Friend: Oh… my God.
Friend’s mom: We could always eat FS’s frozen cake. We got it this weekend for her birthday.
Me: When was your birthday, FS?
FS: Last week.
Me: Oh no, and were you all right with not eating your cake the exact moment you were born?
… Clearly, we were all not our best selves that night.
Miraculously, we made it to my apartment by 11:40PM. I climbed into bed and promptly passed out. The next day, some time in between copping free food, getting roasted by my friends (deserved, since two of them were subjects of my birthday ideas), putting off work with more live music, and coming home to a room decorated with GI Joe “party men” courtesy of a good friend, I turned twenty.
It’s truly a good life. Thank you for sharing in a part of it, and here’s to making it to 30.
Created an Instagram for a horrible pun–find me at @nicolesundays!
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