“You learn a few things when you get to my age. Like friends don’t lie and it all tastes the same in the dark” -The 1975, Give Yourself a Try
The 1975 is one of those bands I was never a die-hard fan of, but was always listening to. When this song came up in a recommended Spotify playlist (this is why I love Spotify over Apple Music, but that’s a whole other story) this lyric stuck with me.
The song itself is a reflection of growing older, off their album A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships. The band´s lead singer Matty Healy is 30 years old. That’s thirteen years older than me. Tell me someone is thirty and I’ll shrug it off and say, “that’s so old”. Tell me somebody is 13 years older than me and watch my jaw drop. My brother is thirteen years old. He’s a KID. 13 years is basically NOTHING. I might as well book my first senior cruise at this point.
At thirty, Matty Healy has not only reached a spot in thousands of tumblr inspired playlists, but also has a vinyl and coffee collection (like most of his fans, probably), and here’s what he would tell his younger self:
Growing a beard is quite hard.
Whiskey never starts to taste nice.
You’ll make a lot of money and move to a sunny place and start buying seeds… or something like that
I don´t know much about growing beards, whiskey tasting bad, or buying seeds online, so it´s safe to say that (if it wasn´t obvious before) me and Matty Healy live two very different lives. And so I would give my younger self very different advice.
I have always seen my younger self as a friend of mine who I don’t talk to anymore. Maybe as someone who passed away, even. In a way, she has. I’m not the Antonia I was five years, four years, even one year ago.Fourteen year old Antonia would never do the things 17 year old Antonia has done and is doing. As humans, we are constantly changing, evolving, and growing. I have definitely outgrown my comfort zone from two years ago. I’m sure your thirteen year old self wouldn’t have done the things you are currently doing. It’s human! It’s beautiful!
Last week I had a concert date with my family. I arrived at the venue at the time I was supposed to be there, 7:15 pm. They decided to arrive almost a complete hour later. Picture this: a theater in a sort of sketchy part of Düsseldorf, Antonia on the street across from it, and, across the street, a teenaged boy in a neon orange safety vest telling cars where to park (well, mostly where not to park).
The moment I saw this boy I wanted to talk to him, he reminded me of a friend of mine that I miss. Half an hour- and a scary cat call- later, I did it. Ripped out out of my comfort zone, which included listening to ABBA and watching the sun set, I took a deep breath, told myself you can do this, and took a step. THE step. He watched me cross the street and when our eyes met I smiled at him. He smiled back, politely, but then averted his gaze away. Until I walked straight up to him and said Hi.
That´s all it took. “Hey, can I stand with you? I don´t want to keep waiting alone.”
And then he smiled and, I think he might have been laughing at me a bit, said “sure”. I could’ve just stood there and waited for my parents. He saw what had happened on the other side of the street before I came up to him, it would have been “normal” for me to just stand with him as a form of security or protection. But I didn’t. Instead, I started a conversation. I started it off in the easiest way you could ever start a conversation with someone in Germany: by complaining (Seriously, try it. Weather and the Deutsche Bahn work best but a German will take anything to complain about if given the chance).
I complained about my parents being late and made a joke about usually being the late one. I got lucky, he returned the effort and we introduced ourselves, shook hands, and started talking. One smile and a handshake, and we were momentary friends. It wasn’t a long conversation, it wasn’t flirtatious, we didn’t exchange numbers or instagram handles. But we exchanged a piece of our story, and it made me feel so human. When my parents car drove past us he laughed and said he was nervous, and I made a joke about how quickly he was meeting my parents.
When my mother walked up to us, Hussein wished me a good time at my concert, and I wished him a good time at the Kirmes he was planning on going to after work. And that was it. My comfort zone had extended itself, and along the way I experienced a genuinely cute and human experience. The whole thing was something I would have never done at fourteen, let alone in German, a language I constantly mess up.