Last summer, my friend told me about Girls Write Now, a mentoring program that pairs women in the writing field with high school girls who are looking to pursue a career in writing. It has always been a dream of mine to mentor someone once I was more established in my career, especially since I never had that growing up. Some of my mentors in later life as a freelancer are now my colleagues and I know how important it is to have someone else show you the ropes or just make you feel like you’re not crazy for pursing a career in journalism.
I was accepted as a mentor on the day of my 28th birthday and it has been an experience like no other. My 17-year-old mentor has helped me jump outside my comfort zone and realize my love of writing in first person. She was always so intrigued by my adventures interviewing bands that it hit me that maybe others would want to hear about my experiences as well.
Earlier this month, we had a Chapters reading where mentors and mentees took the stage to read some of our pieces. The first time I’ve ever read my article in front of a crowd, I was a bit intimidated but my mentee Priscilla and I took the stage together and once I got a few laughs from my opening line I calmed down. I thought my blog was a fitting place to post this. Enjoy!
“Annie, you know you’re now closer to 30 than you are 20,” my brother-in-law reminded me on my 28th birthday.
Just the thing every girl wants to be told.
At 17, I dreaded the thought of no longer being a teen and soon entering my twenties. I felt old and decrepit and the thought of college and the dreadful “real world” soon filled me with fear. I did not want to be an adult with responsibilities, with a boring 9 to 5 job. I didn’t want to be miserable.
At 17, that seemed to be my immediate future and it scared me to death!
It’s strange that now, being 28, I feel so young. While I have what seems to be adult responsibilities — rent to pay, a job to go to — most days I still feel like a kid.
Perhaps it’s because I’m a music journalist and the majority of my days are spent writing about Justin Bieber or which boy Taylor Swift’s current single is about. Sometimes I even get to hang out with the bands I hear on the radio. I once interviewed One Direction at their hotel as a swarm of girls were outside screaming and anxiously waiting to meet them. Confession: all five guys gave me a kiss on the cheek.
The truth of the matter is that I have every teenage girl’s dream job and that’s why I feel so young. On a daily basis I’m channeling my inner 17-year-old self, trying to figure out what questions I would have wanted to ask my favorite bands. It also doesn’t hurt that I look about the age of the demographic I write for. But I don’t mind it. To be in your 20s and still get mistaken for someone in their teens is a good thing.
Well, I’ll see how I really feel about that when 30 comes around. Given my day job and my annual request for a Backstreet Boy in my stocking each Christmas much to the chagrin of my parents, I have a feeling my future will still involve listening to boy bands, writing about Justin Bieber and endlessly deciphering Taylor Swift’s song lyrics. Being a grown up isn’t so bad after all.