The Journal is an online collection of articles and essays written and curated by writer & photographer Thomas W Coombs, published bi-annually.

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Issue 43; The Impressions of Youth

I don’t know if it is something that has come with age or the fact I am a hair away from hitting the next decade of my life.  It could be that due to my older and wiser brain I do not feel the need to prove myself in this way or that I have a solid group of friends and we understand each other, and we are mostly married or in long term relationships.  I now sit and watch as dare I say the youth of now spend their time showing off, being over the top on nights out and feeling compelled to act in a way that I am very happy has now passed me.

I was walking back to the car after being at the theatre when I saw the standard student night of old, on a smaller covid scale of course, stumble and sway before me.  The boys generally walk like they are out to prove something to someone, possibly, the girls who were pulling their shrink wrap dresses down after every few steps.  Now this is a scene that could be any age to be fair, but then it got louder, they had snuck their glasses out of whatever drinking establishment they had been to, one of the lads boasting of this task.  Bravo sir.  Then one of the girls stopped to adjust a trainer then proceeded to very unceremoniously run up and jump on one of the lads back.  Not ideal from a rear view, even at a distance.  It was the mating call of showing off, an overused and often pointless act but great to see he tried to keep his cool, which he couldn’t and they had a race up the street, because that was the obvious next step.

They were having a great time and loving every minute, it seemed from the outside, but I remember those days and still look back with the feeling of relief that I do not need to partake in this act of youth anymore.  The drinking of anything to be drunk to fit in with the crowd, downing something brighter than 80’s spandex that tasted mostly of sugar or medicine.  Then running about or climbing on something to show your worth, it was exhausting at the time, but seemed fun and looking back it was fun, but I am still happy I can now watch this age old thing happen, from the comfort of my strolling shoes or from the outside table of a wine bar.