By Lexi Langill

Dear 40-Something:

I am twenty-two years old, and I like your kind.  Your couples dinner parties, your pleated pants, your cell phone holsters, your haircuts, your Tivo-ed sitcoms, your credenzas, your organized weekends, your Pearl Jam CD collections, your baby showers, your divorce rates––and most of all, your confidence.

While you watch me from behind stainless steel bars blithely splashing in the twenty-something pool, in reality I’m mourning the loss of something myself: my teen years.

Remember them?  When the desperate desire to drink led to handing a 20 to a homeless guy for a 6-pack of Pabst Blue Ribbon. Begging your older sibling to buy a handle in front of their hot friends. Stealing Cointreau from your parents’ liquor cabinet for you and 7 friends, then wondering what the hell Cointreau actually is.

Now, of course, we sip it casually at Citizen for $13 a pop and still don’t know what it is.  The legality of it all makes “don’t threaten me with a good time” a serious statement.  And you know what 40-something?  It makes me sad.

But from what you’ve told me, life isn’t all about partying, and I guess I’ll take your word for it.

Life’s also about responsibility and commitment; to a home, to a pet, to a spouse whose family makes you quiver in your boots, and eventually to our own children –– who will scream, laugh, and seethe while you talk excitedly to the grocery clerk about the new suede couch in the den.

I can take the heat of your criticism, politely veiled as it is.  And there is one absolute have you have on us: experience.  Sure, we 20-somethings are hot to trot and loving every minute of it, but there are many signposts on the highway of life we have yet to see.

Mistakes need to be made and lessons need to be learned.  And once that’s done, we’ll step out of the pool, dry off the arrogance, and join you behind the bars…only to find you already lounging in the 60-something jacuzzi next door having the time of your life.

Save us a mai-tai.

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