“Thankssss!” I slurred to my Uber driver as my friends and I stumbled into my apartment. It was 2 a.m., and we had closed down our favorite college town bar. After spending all day at a foamy as fuck philanthropy event, and all night getting guys to buy us drinks, we had one agenda and one agenda only: to keep the party going. We poured shot after shot of vodka and laughed about how we wished it was always this easy to drink, not just after we sufficiently killed our liver’s will to keep working. We flirted with the boys who had managed to convince us to take them home, we blasted music, and we annoyed the living shit out of our neighbors. Or at least we would have, if our neighbors weren’t doing the exact same thing. But they were. We were acting like every twenty-something college student is “supposed” to act.
At around 3 a.m. we had the profound idea to build a pillow fort. Ecstatic with excitement, I began to force everyone off the couch to collect pillows. One bitch, who is technically my friend but definitely my nemesis in this moment, refused to move. She was not amused by our plan, instead she rolled her eyes when we started to draw the blue prints. She bitched and complained about how she just wanted sit on the couch, that forts are stupid, and that I should “act my age.”
I’m sorry, but what does that even mean? Acting my age would mean going to better my education and kicking ass in my upper division classes, which I do. Acting my age would mean dragging my still half-sleeping body to my early morning lecture, which I do. It would also mean having the ability to respect everything I am a part of, including my family, my clubs, my jobs, my campus, my philanthropy, my sorority, and my country. All of which I sure as hell do.
Besides, how I am “expected” to act is conditional to so many things. Had I gotten pregnant at sixteen, acting my age would mean putting my heart and soul into motherhood. If I was born into a third world country, acting my age would probably mean working my ass off to earn a living. So, as an American, female, average-aged college student, “acting my age” means something very different to me. It means being responsibly reckless.
I work hard at all of my jobs, I keep an impressive GPA, and I can also outdrink some of my guy friends. I definitely go too hard sometimes, but I have never been arrested or woken up in a hospital. I think it’s perfectly acceptable to spend the extra 50 cents a box so that my Mac and Cheese will look like Spongebob, but I also pay all of my own bills and buy all of my school supplies. I have eaten chicken nuggets four times in the past 7 days (and yes, they’re shaped like dinosaurs), but I also bust my ass at the gym every week to keep myself healthy. I have sex with more people than medically advised, but I always keep up with my birth control and get checked regularly.
Nothing is more annoying to me when people act too classy or mature for fun. Who are you impressing? How I choose to blow off steam should be no one’s concern so long as I am not hurting anyone. As long as I can still act appropriate, given the situation, then why the hell should I give up my happiness? If I wear a onesie while watching Netflix in my room, and not while attending a seminar, then why should I be embarrassed? Because yes, I would love to go volunteer at that one animal shelter, but I would also love to go play laser tag. And you better believe I will dominate the field because fuck holding back to make the little kids feel better.
The point is, if I want to make a fort in my own home then I will. I promise to clean up my mess. I promise to not ruin anything. If you’re worried about the noise than of course I will keep it down. But I refuse to let the little kid in me die just because I am an adult under the law. To act my age is to build the best fucking fort in the world. A fort that my younger self could only dream of. And then to have way-too-over-the-top sex in it, because that’s what I consider fun. And if one day after I have graduated and gotten married, if I still enjoy it, you can count on me to build a fort then, too. .