Graphic by Maddie Kerr / North by Northwestern

These are the best years of my life.

That's what all the older folks tell me. They warn that youth is fleeting,
And life fades and frays as it unravels.
Your days get duller and you abandon your fantasies,
And time is a thief you cannot outrun.

So I’m supposed to make the most of it, right?
I’m supposed to be speeding down highways, collecting every midnight,
Sunsets melting through car windows, music blasting, washing over me like a baptism.

I should be skipping down city streets, laughter bouncing off skyscrapers,
Feeling my anxiety taper as my friends embrace me,
Forgetting the coldness of solitude, making golden hour memories.

My life should be worthy of overpriced Polaroid film, and I should have pictures to hang
From string lights on my walls, pictures of smiling faces and hands shaped into hearts.

But nothing is as it should be,
As I’ve come to believe it must be.
Reality lacks the luster of those beloved indie movies.
Where are my scrapbook days? I’ve got a blank page made out of blank parts.

I fell into summertime depression when I was supposed to fall in love.
I wanted butterflies in my stomach and I got maggots.
I got the adrenaline without the thrill,
I got nothing and I’ve already had enough.

So this is my prime? This is as good as it gets?
I do not dare to believe that, I refuse.
I refuse to believe in the end
Of a story that never began.

The best years of my life are still ahead.