I’m 21, but I’m not forever 21

I’m 21, but I don’t fit in at Forever 21.

Yesterday, I shopped at the trendy, inexpensive clothing store for teenagers and people in their 20s. That includes me, I suppose. I was forced to shop there because I had a gift card for the place.


Via Flickr user dandeluca

Forever 21 is the type of mall store that I loved when I was 16. How could any high-schooler resist the stylish clothing and music blasting and just general chicness that seems to drench the shop? But now, a mere five years later, I see it differently. Why are the clothes so strange-looking? They look like they’re going to fall apart within a month. Who chose this music? Though “Material Girl” holds a certain truth in this setting, I’m not sure why Madonna is here right now. And then there are my fellow shoppers, teen girls. I don’t know if teenagers today are more spoiled or if I just didn’t notice it before. Probably the latter. My little sister, who I was shopping with, saw two 11-year-old girls in Forever 21 holding Victoria’s Secret shopping bags.

Did I mention they were with their mom?

The shopping excursion (where I ended up trying on about 20 items and not looking good in a single one) was an eye-opening experience. It reminded me that I’ve moved on. I’m not saying the store is terrible. I’ve just outgrown it. The clothing irks me because I don’t understand why I should spend $30 on a see-through lace top. (I would still have to wear a tank top underneath it.) The music annoys me because “Material Girl” is a little too apropos. And it makes me cringe to see a mom buying Victoria’s Secret merchandise (probably lingerie) for girls that haven’t even reached high school.

It’s strange looking back on the mall world that I used to adore as a teenager. It has lost its magical appeal.

I’ve heard people say that they want to go back to being “young.” Try it sometime. Time gives everything a golden hue. You don’t want to be a teenager. It was fine at the time, but you wouldn’t like it now. You don’t want to be just starting out in a career. It’s difficult and precarious. The same goes for any milestone or period in your life. You don’t want to go back to any of these times. In other words, you don’t want to be forever 21. Or young. Or whatever. Anyway, you can’t be. It isn’t always what you remember and doesn’t always line up with your present goals and expectations.

As for me, I’m happy to keep my visits to the mall to one or two times a year. I no longer love it, and that’s OK. Besides, I save myself the trouble of parking.



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