Picture by Keith Griner of Phierce Photography

Written by Elise Olmstead.

August is my birthday month, which always leads to a particular fondness for this time of year. As we face the sun head on, looking straight into the rays of late summer, it lends to an exciting feeling in my belly of more sunny days and the anticipation of the fun being over.  It’s funny how I never lost that butterflies in my stomach feeling that I would get before the start of a new school year, along with the sudden new desire to go school shopping and re-invent myself.  I loved the feeling of a fresh start that it gave me, and this desire to evaluate my identity around this time of year will never go away.

This year I had to accept that I’m getting older.  My 20’s I spent procrastinating thinking about the future, and this year I’ve finally taken the time to be honest with myself.  It’s like when you plan to quit smoking, but you keep having “one last cigarette.”  There’s a time to call it quits (which I literally did this past February, finally quit smoking for good). For the past few years I’ve been gearing up for a healthier lifestyle by changing my diet, drinking more water, doing more exercise, but for years still smoked those cigarettes, stayed up too late, and had a little too much to drink.  Some habits die hard and I find myself not wanting to bury some of them yet, mostly just because I’m afraid of change, and what that change means–that I’m grown up now.

My identity has always been a little bit childish, it was a shtick I used as a teen and never really let go of.  Stuffed animals and cute things have always been my aesthetic, and I don’t even know what to do if I’m supposed to stop shopping in the Junior’s section.  Am I allowed to still watch cartoons and use a night light?  I feel like suddenly I’m supposed to stop being this little girl with the cheeky smile and the mismatched clothes and the chicken legs sticking out of her short shorts.  But then who am I?

Then I came to the conclusion, that I don’t have to stop being who I am.  Even if I decide to become sober or go to bed earlier, I’ll still go to festivals in my crazy mismatched clothes and clunky sneakers.  I won’t stop seeing music and laughing with my friends and acting completely silly and sometimes obnoxious.  Meeting people of so many different ages in this music scene encourages me to let go of these attachments I have to what I think an “adult” should act like.  Why, suddenly now, would I start having standards for “how people should act”?  I’ve never really had standards for that!  As long as people were being good people, and taking care of their neighbors, they could act as wild and wacky as they want to.  Stick it to the man!  Don’t tell me what to do!

Something that I struggle with, is constantly comparing myself to others.  As long as we are trying our best to further our passions, improve our life, and lift up our loved ones, there is no self-evaluation necessary.  Comparing my looks, and my life, to other people has only caused me pain.  We constantly look for those doing worse than us, so we can feel better about our lives, but then what happens when we find someone doing better?  We feel the opposite.  It’s a terrible cycle, and honestly that shit doesn’t even matter.  Are you going be able to become that other person? No.  You’re going to wake up, still you, in the morning.

I’m okay with being me, at no matter what age.  You should be more than okay with being you–whether you’re a hairy fairy, or a weird and wiggly dancer, or a Spread neck–that’s never going to change!  Our physical selves may age but our spirits are golden.  This year let your true self shine in that beautiful sun, and oh look how bright it shines!