Earning the Right Not to Give a Damn

One of the advantages of aging, having achieved something and having some amount of financial stability is the fact that you obtain the right not give a damn about what other people will think. 

The other day, I went to have dinner with some friends. It was nothing special, we see each other regularly and just wanted to do some catching up. Two of them are doctors, one owns a chain of hardware and another an engineer.

Clad in a shirt with a Gangnam-dancing Mickey Mouse, 5-year old jeans and 3-year-old pair of Chucks, I went. Even in my 20s, I was never fond of make-up. I was still a struggling employee then. I am not an employee anymore, I don’t see why that has to change. As our order starts coming in, a group of 7, in their early 20s come in, rockin and swaggin’. We wouldn’t have cared if they didn’t pick the table beside us. Their noise, clanking accessories and inability to lift the chairs when they stand up to leave their chair started getting into us.

Here is what we surmised, two were in college, one was pursing his music, one just came from an audition for a part in a music video and it went well, one spends 3 hours in the gym everyday and was on a macrobiotic diet and two a will be joining America’s Next Top Model. We started trying to recall how it was when we were in their shoes, still dreaming, not yet being. I honestly don’t remember anymore. I don’t remember how it was to be in 20s and aiming for something.

We are done aiming. We are what we dream of once. Our initial irritation slowly turned into a melancholic trip down memory lane, to those times when we were still terrified of the real possibility of failure. Their dreams are different from the dreams we had, of course. It’s probably why they look so different than how we did.

Their dreams are glamorous. Ours were geeky. They are dressed to the nines, shining tops, 4-inc heels, puffed cheeks and salon-fresh hair. They also act the part. They discussed and cringed at our fashion sense or the lack of it. They didn’t understand how we were allowed to enter such a restaurant wearing “hideous” clothes. They pitied us for not knowing how to put on make-up and they are disgusted at our haircuts that they wanted to ask us who did our hair so they could kill the person.

We smiled silently at the insults. When they grow older, someone is bound to tell them that dogs can whisper better than they do, that their make-ups make them look old, that too much accessories make them look pretentious and that criticizing our looks is a shitty way to spend a fine evening with friends and delicious meal.

Someday, they will all realize that it’s better to go to McDonald’s and order as much fries as they can afford than go to a place like that and order only a bottle of Coke. Someday, that rapper-wannabee will realize that just because he can talk with a beat doesn’t mean he is a rapper. Someday, those-model wannabee will realize that just because they are tall, doesn’t mean they have the talent to be a model.

Someday, that gym-rat will realize that he should have spent as much time reading books as he does lifting weights.

Someday, they will feel embarrassed at their own pretensions and hypocrisy. 


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