So I've been re-watching old episodes of My So-Called Life. Man, I was 12 when that show came on the air, and sadly only 13 when it was cancelled. I was in grade seven. It kind of defined for me a burgeoning teenage existence. I was too young to long for the independence and excitement that Angela wanted, but I was close.
It hit me around the same time, my grade 10 year. I felt stuck in a rut, like I didn't belong with my current friends and like my look and personality and the way everyone saw me all revolved around some bland and equally off-putting image that I couldn't break out of. I fantasized about changing schools or starting over in another city.
Since I didn't have the balls for that, I changed my hair. I chopped it all off, and for good measure I had huge blond chunks highlighted in the front and only the front. It was very punky and nothing anyone would have expected from me.
I also got new friends, and one in particular I could get in trouble with, the kind of trouble you want as a teenager: alcohol, sneaking out, secret parties, and all kinds of drama. So in a way, you could say I followed the My So-Called Life, well, life. I found my own Rayanne, so to speak, left my old friends and radically altered my appearance. Only my old friends I don't think noticed I left and there was no tears shed over my leaving.
I remember feeling like life was really happening. When I watch the show now I feel a nostalgia, not for the show, but the fact so much of that teenage drama and angst was real. Sadly, I also now relate to the adults who think Angela is being difficult or unreasonable. I didn't see it at the time.
I wish there was a show on now about this era of life. There have been a few stabs at it. I guess Friends counts. But it was hardly an attempt at realism, and even when I watch the first season now when we're supposedly the same age, they still look damn old to me. Then there was the failed Quarterlife show, cancelled after one episode.
I can't recall any others, none that really are about being in your 20s and the transition period of life. Where some of your friends are finishing school, others are getting their first jobs, some are buying homes while you still rent, and some are married and even have kids. It's a time in your life you can still feel like a kid while shouldering adult responsibilities and looking over said shoulder at others becoming full-fledged adults while you stay behind.
It's not like when you're a teen in high school and everyone is more or less in the same boat. It's not like early 20s where the differences aren't so great yet. The mid to late 20s is when everyone's life choices all come into focus and you can't help but compare.
There has always been and will always be shows about high school. I think that's probably because that short stint in our lives scars us all a little and we can't help but revisit it in various ways. I wonder why no one talks about what comes after that, after high school, and after college, but before your 30s (and the spouse, the kids, the house, the whatever).
I think there are stories to tell. Things happen to us before we go down the aisle and procreate.