During one of my morning commutes, I listened to a quarter of an episode of The Nerdist podcast, one where Chris Hardwick chats with a post-Boyhood Ethan Hawke. My commute is fifteen minutes door-t0-door, sometimes eighteen when I need to defrostslashdefog my windows. After I finished binge-listening to the Serial podcast on our way to Atlanta, I have become a little obsessed with podcasts. I tried to listen to Unbroken through my Audible account but it took too much brainpower and it was just too long. Podcasts require less time commitment, less caffeine commitment.
(I love This American Life and if you haven’t listened to episode 544: Batman, I recommend that you do this right now. I can wait. I’m also a fan of The Memory Palace and Love + Radio. And I’m also a fan of hearing your recommendations. So shoot them at me.)
All of this is to tell you, really, one of things that Ethan Hawke said during his interview. Now, if we’re being honest, I didn’t actually love the episode. I listened to the one with Nick Kroll right before this one and was so in it. This was a lot of Ethan Hawke talking about things only Ethan Hawke understands. It was a bit self-indulgent and too existential for me. Also, Ethan Hawke says you know at the end of every sentence as a nervous habit and it was a little off-putting. But, you know, (see what I did there?) Ethan Hawke is Troy Dyer so he always wins.
(I promise one of these days I will get to what he said that stuck with me.)
Ethan Hawke is 44. I am 36, moving in the direction of my forties at what feels like a very rapid pace. I’m actually not all that FORTY! about it, since my sister hit forty three years and eleven months before I will — as she does with all major life things — and she is the same as she was when she was 39 (pretty badass with gorgeous skin, ps). But you get one email pitch about compression stockings and suddenly you are like, am I basically just Sophia Petrillo now? (Picture it: Thornhill, 2015)
What he said was this, and I’m paraphrasing his words here, since I was driving and didn’t write it down: I used to think I was a really old young person, but now I feel like I’m a really young old person.
That’s exactly it.
My daughter is almost in high school. High school.
I like to tell people that I was actually just a wee infant when I had her like I’m Lorelai Gilmore, and in my head my own high school experience doesn’t seem that long ago. Sometimes I even say this out loud “high school feels like yesterday” and it serves as a really embarrassing moment for my children who are all EW.
But I remember so much of it so vividly, and it really was such a great time in my life. I learned so much, I felt so much — and I had the most amazing friends. It was where I learned that I wanted to spend my life working with words. It was where I was introduced to publishing. It was first boyfriends, first parentless concerts, first car accidents on the way to said concerts, first having to call my mom from a police station to apologize for lying and telling her that Naomi’s mom didn’t actually drive us to the Cranberries concert. I’m excited for her to have this time and have these life-shaping experiences– although I could probably do without the lying about concerts — and for quite some time when I realize how many actual years it has been since I graduated high school (NINETEEN) I’ve been feeling kind of so old.
But, really, I’m not SO OLD. I’m just old in comparison to a high school student.
When you put it into perspective, I’m not an old young person.
I’m a young old person.
I really like this perspective.
I really like going out for drinks at an empty bar with friends and playing darts (poorly — well, I play poorly, everyone else is pretty good). I really like going to my book club. I really like board games. I really like listening to music at my computer while I edit photos instead of piling 18 people into my jeep and going to see the live show. I really like curling up with a novel and a mug of coffee. I really like sometimes eating dinner at 5pm. (OKAY 4:30 DON’T JUDGE) I really like listening to podcasts in the car.
And I might one day like compression stockings. You just never can tell.