Saturday, November 26, 2011

A Word on Tweens

The word 'teenager' didn't come into existence until the 1940's. Before then, they were simply young men or young women, not quite children but not quite adults. Now, after seventy years of fashion and music and books designed specifically for teenagers, we're starting to see another in between group. Tweens.
It's not a word you hear too much, partly because it's a new term and partly because it just sounds weird. Tweens are roughly between the ages of 10 and 12, too old to act like younger children but too young to technically be called teenagers.
At fifteen, I remember my tween years as a time of trying to span two worlds. I had outgrown The Children's Place and all the other stores my mom used to take me shopping. All my clothes either came from Justice or Target. I've always been an avid reader, but I was picking up books less and less. Back in second grade, I read at least five books a week. Now I was going to the library once a month, wandering the children's section until I came up with three books. I hadn't discovered the smaller section for teenagers yet, so I thought I'd read everything that was worth reading. Now what was I supposed to do in my spare time?
Bored distracted girl student in classroom - education photo
Then I discovered Disney Channel. Hannah Montana. High School Musical. Zach and Cody. The Jonas Brothers. Miley Cyrus. High School Musical 2. Older kids, cool kids, acting out fascinating lives I could relate to and enjoy. I came home from school every day and sat in front of the TV for three hours, respectively. And with the help of that new ipod thing, I could carry their music around in my pocket. No CDs required.
I wanted to be like that. Cool. Fascinating. And older, so I could finally fall into the firm, solid category of Teenager instead of hanging out in gray, misty abyss of in between.
placeand rockin movie princess protection program camp rock luv movies
It took me a long time to realize how stupid they really were.

My tween years weren't all bad, though. One of my favorite memories was the day my family went out to a theme park. I was the perfect height, the perfect age, to not be bored by the little rides

And not freak out on the big rides.

Well, it seemed bigger then.
Now that's a big ride.
A blur of shopping and rides. A very long, pointless blur of everything Disney. To short a blur to remember in great detail. To short for signifigant emotional development. To short for the world (aside from Justice and Disney) to care.
And then my tween years were over, almost before I knew the term.

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