In High School during a seemingly unimportant conversation I internalized what it meant to be youthful.

One of my guy friends who had a “Hot Mom” (as determined by the other circle of friends who surrounded him, remember this was a time when the term MILF had just hit the mainstream) smugly informed all of us that his Mom had been IDed in Las Vegas when she was 29 years old. For whatever reason, the entire circle cooed with murmurs of “wow”, “amazing” and low wolf whistles. He proudly went on to mention that his mother was also IDed in an Alberta liquor store the following year meaning she was really incredibly hot to be asked for ID when she was 30 and the legal drinking age was 18. 

His mother remained in my mind long after him and other friends had faded into the background of my high school memories. I always thought of his mom as kind, and pretty. The fact a bunch of 16 and 17 year-olds believed that being IDed at 29 or 30 as a female was the Holy Grail of Youth stuck with me- even now.

These last few weeks have been a blur of packing, organizing and sorting our lives in preparation for a move (one neighbourhood over) and the preparation for the other changing people dynamics– we have consumed more alcohol than usual. With my wine collection packed up in prep for the move, purchasing beer has been easy and cheap. These are important factors when you’ve just committed your live savings and then some to a mortgage.

So as I stood waiting in line at the liquor store by my home, holding a twelve case of beer, I plunked down the box on the counter to pay and the clerk promptly asked me for ID.

A slow smile spread over my face and I tried not to smirk or joyously jump up and down as I pulled out my drivers licence from my wallet (the “under 18” sticker having been removed years earlier) and presented it to the clerk. I practically skipped out of the liquor store, holding my box of stress-busting relief.

I ran home to tell Jon he is married to the woman who embodies the holy grail of youth. I walked in the door, set down the beer and glanced in the mirror.

I saw a very tired blonde lady looking back at me, partially hidden under a toque, big black glasses and a green U of A hoodie. Oh God, I didn’t look youthful at all! I looked like I was hiding. I started to giggle, and eventually it turned into a full blown howl.

My definition of youth successfully shattered into pieces, from all those years ago until now, I realize being asked for ID doesn’t embody being youthful, beautiful or radiant. It’s just ID.

Image: camping trip with the PE girls (Monica and I are pictured). I am 19 and frighteningly realized I still own this vest.

19 years old.