The perks of being reckless


Young and Restless


I want to be edgy.  I write this as I lounge around in my pharmacy school sweatpants while listening to the Taylor Swift station on Pandora and nibbling on alfalfa sprouts. I have come to a realization worthy of a quarter-life crisis that the only edge I have is straight edge. I am that girl whose name you drop to your mom if you want permission to stay out late because she knows you’re not going to get arrested when I’m around. The most rebellious thing I do is binge on dairy products despite my lactose-intolerance because to hell with the system — I’ll have my ice cream when I want, where I want. And two weeks ago when my Daily Targum column was mistakenly run as “Young and Reckless,” my friends and mom had a good laugh because I am probably more responsible than my friends and mom combined.

Being straight edge has its perks. You never wake up with hangovers the mornings of exams. You’ve never stumbled through the Walk of Shame. And you’re a low-risk candidate for tetanus.

However, by looking before each leap, you may end up missing out on a lot of experiences.

I know a proper columnist would encourage readers to be themselves — to embrace their inner square, or whatever shape they may be. After all, this is the underlying message in pretty much every self-help book, dating column and Disney Channel movie. Whether you’re going on a job interview, a first date or trying to get Zac Efron to fall in love with you, you can’t go wrong if you are yourself.

However, sometimes this mentality causes us to place limits on ourselves. When we become too complacent in our bubble, we stop trying to see what else we’re capable of. Rebellion and testing the waters are usually tolerated for teenagers. As we closely approach “the real world,” our bolder decisions are met with exasperation from our parents and mentors who are wondering when we are going to grow up and stop being so naïve. Our harder-to-reach goals are trivialized into pipe dreams that only “starry-eyed college kids without any real-life experiences” could romanticize. Of course, we cannot just simply dream. At one point, we have to start accomplishing these great things. But the thing is, I think great moments often come from intentions that are a bit romantic.

Being “edgy” is not about throwing away all responsibilities while drunkenly chanting, “YOLO.” It’s not about leather jackets or spiked heels or getting white-girl wasted on “$2 Tuesdays.” You don’t even have to get a dragon tattoo.

To me, being “edgy” is about taking risks and doing things that can be scary but rewarding. Greatness often follows decisions that once seemed too impractical and idealistic. Switch your major to one that you actually love. Move to a city across the country for your dream job. Finally ask out that cutie you’ve been telepathically flirting with all semester. Whatever it is, don’t let the fear of failing paralyze you.

“Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss you’ll land among the stars.” These words are speckled on many classroom posters, middle-school yearbook autographs and AOL Instant Messenger profiles. It’s a phrase so trite that I cringe when I hear it being used without a hint of irony. Yet as I get caught up in the humdrum of collegiate routines and the act of getting by, I wonder if I’m still shooting for the moon.

Maybe it’s time I stop making a pros-and-cons list before every decision. Maybe I should actually start that novel that has been simmering in my mind for the past five years. Maybe I should quit convincing myself that this cutie can actually decipher my telepathic flirts and start chatting him up. Maybe we can find love in this hopeless place. Maybe we should turn these “maybes” into realities and start living young, wild but tetanus-free.

Whatever it is you want to do, whether you’re in your 20s, 30s or 90s, I think we can all benefit from being a little young and reckless.

Erin Young is an Ernest Mario School of Pharmacy senior. Her column, “Young and Restless,” runs on alternate Tuesdays.

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By Erin Young

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