‘I guess this is growing up’

By Gray Hughes

'I GUESS THIS IS GROWING UP' - Hill City Prevailer News Editor Gray Hughes says he feels like he is old...even though he is only 25.

I have heard many times that age is just a state of mind, that if you feel young, you are young.

Well, I am here to report that is complete and utter malarkey.

I turned 25 just before Christmas, and I feel washed up and old.

For example, the other day I went to a fast-casual restaurant in Rapid City that specializes in burgers and fries. It had been a couple of years since I went there, so I ordered my old standby and thought nothing of it.

I had heartburn the entire next day.

Another example. I normally go to bed around midnight and wake up around 8 a.m. during the week. During the weekend, I might sleep in an hour later, but I still tend to go to sleep around midnight.

Well, the other weekend I stayed up until 1 a.m. talking to my sister. Let me tell you what; I struggled to stay up that late. Not too long ago, I could stay up until 3 a.m. with ease. Now, when the clock strikes midnight, if I’m not in bed and about to close my eyes after reading a couple chapters of a book I’m not happy, and the next day is going to be a long, miserable day.

I used to be up on all the slang that the young folks say since, you know, not too long ago I was in high school and college.

Now, whenever I talk with my sister, who is in high school, and my girlfriend’s sister, who is in college, I have no clue what they are saying because what they are saying makes absolutely no sense because I don’t understand the slang terms.

I have aches and pains in my knees whenever I do anything physical, my back hurts if I don’t sleep on my special mattress and I need a specific pillow or else I can’t sleep. Seriously, every time I travel I take my special pillow with me.

You know how I said that I wake up at 8 a.m. every day? Well, that’s the time that I set my alarm for and get out of bed. I wake up before that, typically around 7:15 a.m., and just lay in bed until the alarm goes off. I have a harder time waking up on weekends, but I still get up around 9 a.m. or 9:30 a.m. at the latest.

There once was a time, though, not too long ago, that I would wake up at 11 a.m. or even noon on the weekend no problem.

The energy drinks that I drank in high school and college have been replaced by coffee and tea – iced or not (but preferably iced).

I like food that I used to hate. I used to hate fruit and wheat bread, but now both play a large role in my life as the smoothies I have almost every morning are packed with fruit and every sandwich I have has wheat bread.

My ideal Saturday in college, which, believe it or not, was just three years ago, used to be sleeping in until noon, having a big, unhealthy breakfast normally consisting of a western omelet, hash browns, bacon and a Coke, playing video games with my friends, order a pizza for dinner and then going out until the wee hours of the morning with my girlfriend, her friends and my friends (but I was always the designated driver).

Now I couldn’t do any of that. The big breakfast would make me tired and bloated, I become nauseated if I play video games for longer than 30 minutes now, the pizza would give me heartburn and going out not only would exhaust me but give me so much anxiety that I would be rendered useless the next day because I would need to do nothing (look up Sunday scaries).

Now, my ideal Saturday is waking up at 9 a.m., eating a healthy breakfast consisting of avocado toast with an egg and a smoothie, skiing or hiking for three or four hours depending on the season, eat a dinner – either at home that my girlfriend made for me (don’t worry, I clean up and do the dishes) or out with her or with my family – that doesn’t cause me heartburn, watch a movie or a TV show for a couple of hours and then read in bed until midnight.

That, right now, sounds like the perfect weekend.

There are still some things that I love from when I was younger. I am still obsessed with sports, I still have the same sophomoric sense of humor and I still love the foods that would give me heartburn such as cheesesteaks, greasy burgers and anything spicy.

I guess some of the things I talked about have to do with getting older. The pain in my knees and getting heartburn all of the time has to deal with getting older.

But the change in my ideal weekend, waking up earlier and liking foods that I once used to detest has to deal with maturing. I’m not who I was when I was 18. I’m not even who I was when I was 22.

I know I’m still young with a lot of life ahead of me, but I’ve grown up a lot and got older over the past three years.

I guess Blink-182 said it best in a song whose name I cannot say in a paper: “I guess this is growing up.”