my generation?

I have a wandering minstrel in my first hour.

For the past two years, I have watched this kid walk the halls between classes with his guitar strumming made-up tunes, current tunes, and riffs from my own teenage years.

This fall he wandered into my class and sat in the front row.

He is a junior who was born the same year I was a junior in high school….1995.

We talk music a lot because he enjoys the bands from my teen years.  For awhile he and his friends would jam out some Weezer tunes in the hall after school.  They congregated quite a crowd.*

He (and quite a few others at this point) and I discuss concerts since they are at the age that I was when I started my mad concert-going years.  We talk about who is coming to our city and how I can’t go because I am all pregnant and tired and responsibly an adult now.  And then I hope they go so they can report back.

Today he asked me how the band Bush was when I saw them in concert.

In 1996.

Most kids in my first hour were only barely a year old when I was at that concert.  Bush with openers Goo Goo Dolls and No Doubt.  And yes, that was when the Gavin and Gwen romance began.  I went to the show on that fated tour.

At the end of the hour, he proceeded to play “Glycerine” for a group of students and I couldn’t help sing along as I entered in my attendance and other busy work things I have to do before the end of each hour.

That is when I realized the students were listening to something recorded before they were born.

I am almost 34 years old.

All these years I have been waiting to turn into an adult…waiting for that feeling of being a grown-up.

But I just feel like….me.

I am waiting to forget what it’s like to be a teenager…to lose my understanding of the angst of being 17.  The way it seemed to me that adults forgot their teenage years when I was 17.

But I don’t forget.

Each feeling from my childhood…of being scared or nervous or anxious…come back to me when I see Eddie.

Each confused and hurt and joyous experience from my teen years come back to me when I talk with students.

I can’t forget.

I married someone who was with me through my teenage years.  Who I grew up with.  Who I spent countless hours discussing bands and movies and life with.

I don’t feel like I have changed.

But I know I have.

I worry about budgets and cleaning.

I get excited about carpet being installed.

I have babies and degrees and a professional career.

I remember on my wedding day giggling with my best friend about how “grown up” getting married was and how I couldn’t believe I was actually going to do it.

I was 27.

The first time I became pregnant I was embarrassed to tell my dad because he would know what I did to get that way.

I was married and 28.

Today Cort told me that Fred Durst of Limp Bizkit was on a radio show we both listen to talking about how it has been 17 years since their first album dropped.

I remember it.

I was at their very first shows in tiny little po-dunk bars wondering who this crazy awesome band was that was covering George Michael’s “Faith”…in heavy metal.

I remember being pushed to the front and wondering…will this always be awesome?  When do adults suddenly look down on this and forbid it?

When will I be one of those parents who just don’t understand?**

This morning it hit me that I am an adult.

I know that seems weird, but I think today was the day that it finally hit.

I teach high school.

Every year the kids are 15-18 years old.

But I don’t stay the same age.

I am not 25 anymore like I was when I started.

I am not saying I feel 25 or 17 anymore.  Goodness no.

But I don’t feel like I have morphed into the way I always thought adulthood would be either.

Today I realized I am an adult.

Because of a 17 year old wandering minstrel.

People try to put us d-down
Just because we g-g-get around
Things they do look awful c-c-cold 
Yeah, I hope I die before I get old 

This is my generation
This is my generation, baby ***


*a million points to the reader who knows what song I lifted that line from.  And no, Cort, you cannot play.  I know you know.

**this line?  anyone?  Come on…it’s an easy one!

***If you don’t get this one we can’t be friends anymore.

About Katie

Just a small town girl...wait no. That is a Journey song. Katie Sluiter is a small town girl, but she is far from living in a lonely world. She is a middle school English teacher, writer, mother, and wife. Life has thrown her a fair share of challenges, but her belief is that writing through them makes her stronger.


  1. I love your site. I’m not a Mama, but I’m a high school teacher and can really connect when you talk about your students. What subject(s) do you teach? Somehow I suspect it’s English (which is what I teach).
    Aaand, here goes with the challenge:
    * – Pearl Jam (Crazy Mary)
    ** – Fresh Prince (Parents Just Don’t Understand)
    *** – DUH The Who! (My Generation)
    How’d I do?

  2. Said “No L-O-I-T-E-R-I-N-G Allowed.”

    The second one, I had on vinyl. That’s right.

    And Nicci and I heard the third one in concert. The show sucked, but it was made better by the fact that we were seeing somebody live that had played at Woodstock. Hard to top that.

    I fear the day Aric starts liking terrible music. We all go through that phase. But I see him dancing along with his mom to the radio and I have hope. I hope there’s a day where he’ll show me some great band he just “discovered,” and I’ll be like “yah, I’ve been listening to them since I was 10.”

  3. Do you know what makes you such a great teacher? Besides really liking your subject, I mean?
    “I am waiting to forget what it’s like to be a teenager…to lose my understanding of the angst of being 17.”

    I bet you won’t forget, not only because you’re surrounded by it, but because it helps you genuinely like a lot of your students. The thing 17 year olds are best at seeing is hypocrisy! Way to go Kate, you’re the real deal. Ageless.

  4. Oh, I get you. I still avoid mentioning sex in front of my mom, even though she blatantly reminded me I must be doing it because Im a mom. It’s just… weird.
    Just hearing the right songs takes me back there, so much ahead of me, so many growing pains.
    And Glycerine will make me cry in the right mood, it will be playing in my head the rest of the day.

  5. The first time I was able to say, “Well, 20 years ago…” I cringed. Twenty years ago? I was getting ready to turn 14.

    I feel the same way you do about wondering when you will forget the teenage years like our parents seem to have done. I don’t teach or have children of my own and I STILL remember. I can’t imagine NOT remembering!

    Now you have me reminiscing!

  6. Totally feel ya here. I thought this was just a boy thing 🙂 I’m actually listening to the spin doctors right this second .
    My first concert was Live when the lightening crashes album had just dropped. I remember being devastated when I heard Kurt Cobain died in my home room class…

    Is this the who version or a punk version of my generation you’re talking bout? (Yes, you’ll be judged on your answer)

  7. Pearl Jam – Crazy Mary
    Fresh Prince
    The Who


  8. Love this on so many levels. The first being that I also attended that Bush/Goo Goo Dolls/No Doubt tour when I was in high school! The second being that I feel the exact same way. Although I’m 31 I still dont feel like “an adult”. I think of college students as my peers sometimes then snap out of of it! Once I asked my mom if she still feels like she’s 16 because sometimes I do. She said “16 no, but 25 yes!” I hope I never forget what its like to be that age. Lucky you get to see it first hand through your students every day

  9. Love this post! I totally get it. No matter what I do, I still feel like a kid on most days.

    Great music!

  10. Take a bottle, drink it down, pass it around…wild eyed, Crazy Mary…

  11. When I was visiting my mom during Christmas, I gave her a sideways glance and asked her if it seemed like I should be old enough to have a baby. She said no. It’s weird for me, so I can’t imagine how weird it is for her. I just turned 29.

    Have you ever read A Solitary Blue by Cynthia Voigt? Jeff, the main character, is who your wandering minstrel reminded me of.

  12. I turned 34 in December.

    I was a junior in 1995.

    I went to that same Bush/Goo Goo Dolls/ No Doubt concert in the spring of 1996. I crowd surfed for the first time at it. I still have the No Doubt t-shirt I got and I still listen to that Bush album on Moody days.

    Thinking about all of that re-enforces for me how log ago that was but still how not in my mid-thirties I feel, even though my oldest just turned 5.

    This is a great post and hits the nail on the head for me.

  13. Lindsay@Lilloveandluck says

    I remember growing up I never felt like I would ever be the next milestone up: in 5th grade, I never felt like I’d ever be as grown up as an 8th grader, high school I never thought I’d feel like a senior, etc.

    I still feel like the people on MTV’s Real World will always be older than me, even though I’m four years older than the cutoff date for casting.

    I’m growing older, but not up, I guess (name that one.)

  14. Oh yes, kids these days -(hee!)- they change how we see ourselves, don’t they?

    (I forget, too. Although i fear that I’m *much* more fogy-ish, than you!)

  15. Ok, now I know you are 28.

    And I am 44.

    And I don’t know any of these bands.


    But yes, these kids change us.

    But we still try to go to a few concerts each year.

    But my love, Graham Nash, just turned 70 the other day.

    I’m guessing maybe not too many shows left in those guys.

    • pssst. I’m actually 33 🙂

      • And this is why I am not a math teacher. 😉

        I’ve still got 11 years on you.

        Which explains why I don’t know any of these bands.

        I was already married.

        And I had been teaching for 3 years.

        This is my 20th year as a teacher.

        This could also explain our passionate cyber-discussion yesterday.

        You haven’t seen all these initiatives that I have quite yet.

        When we are chatting in 11 years, I so want to know what you think about the state of education. And music. 😉

  16. I turned 34 in September and was a senior in 95. All those bands take me back! I keep waiting to feel grown up too but don’t…at least not how I thought it would feel. This year for the first time I realized I am not young and to others I probably seem old.

    Can you believe that Nevermind’s 20th anniversary was last fall?

  17. Okay, I do recognize No Doubt.

    But that’s it.

    Do you know you Andy Gibb was? Please google: Love Is Stronger Than a Mountain”

    That was my first concert.

    In 1976.

    He died. Can’t remember how. Car crash? Overdose?

    • honey, you are talking to a family that lives by music. of course I know who Andy Gibb was. And the rest of the brothers Gibb.

      The Bee Gee’s were HUGE when I was born…in 1978 🙂

  18. I feel super old now. Damn. But also? I love that your students are all about the vintage music. Keep them in line Ms. Sluiter!

  19. So much awesome in this post, Katie. I feel the same way half the time. I have those moments where I’m all “Wait, how did this…what? I could be your mother?? But I’m still just 18!!”

    Except I’m not.