Du: Quickly losing youth


It’s easy to start feeling old when our favorite artists fade into obscurity. Ed Sheeran is one singer who can make us feel old even as he’s retained relevance. Courtesy Eva Rinaldi

Erya Du, Staff Columnist

Just as math instructor Chris Butler predicted during our first math class this semester, the weather in Cleveland was terrific until we came back. These days are just so cold that I have to drag my Canada Goose coat out every day so that I don’t get too chilly. However, the jacket only covers my upper body, and I don’t have any pants as thick. The wind rushes through my pants and kills my legs.

I still remember the days when I could handle winter with a pair of summery jeans and no boots. But ever since my 18th birthday, I feel cold just by seeing other people wearing thin shirts and pants.

And it’s not just me, either. My roommate also got herself a pair of wool knee protectors so that her legs would not feel sore when sleeping at night.

“I am like a grandma now,” I’ll say to myself, before taking comfort in the warmth contained by my thermos.

It never occurred to me that aging occurs this early, and it is not only happening to our bodies but our minds as well.

The other day, when my friend and I were discussing current popular songs, we suddenly found that we were already like our parents, knowing little about contemporary pop songs. We only keep up with stuff from our era, just like our parents did years ago. My mother used to recommend ABBA and many other either Chinese or European bands to me.

I didn’t hate it, but I was more likely to listen to songs by younger singers, who mostly have become has-been pop stars. I didn’t realize I was behind the times until finding out that the newest album I know well is “Shape of You” by Ed Sheeran. I even had to Google it so that I can make sure that I spelled the name of the singer right.

It is happening all around us. Just listen to what people sing around campus. You would never hear “Baby” by Justin Bieber nowadays, and Justin Bieber, who has stayed a sixteen-year-old boy in my memory, already got married.

People around me call this early aging, indicating I am no longer young. So what does youth mean? Is it just a biological display of your age? Or does it mean an intrinsic critical view of the system of culture or other forms of introspection? Is youth just a hormone secretion of consumer ideology that is closely linked to pop culture?

Regardless, time has passed, and I am no longer under 18. Feb. 6, my birthday, just passed. I am 19 now. Hopefully, I will become young and excited again and stay a teenager during my last teenage year.

Erya Du is a first-year pre-law student double majoring in international studies and economics. Her birthday is Feb. 6, and she wants everybody to know that.