Today, I’m 22.
Turning 22 appears to come along with little fanfare (“Oh you lived another year? Neat”). But that’s understandable, given that it follows on the heels of your 21st, aka the last birthday anyone cares about until you turn 40 and people get to make lighthearted jibes about how “old” you are. I think birthdays from now on mean that the only gifts you receive are either from corporations (helloooo free Starbucks drink) or yourself.
I don’t know what I feel, and I guess Taylor didn’t either so she just listed the gamut of emotions and called it a day (“Hmm what am I feeling right now? Happy! Free! But confused and lonely … At the same time!”). It’s more magical than miserable, I’d say, but I think Tay may be on to something.
After all, at 22 I can confidently confess that I barely know a thing.
When I pictured my 20s, I envisioned myself as a full-fledged independent adult who had it all together. Where in the world did I even get this laughably ridiculous idea from? Instead I’m just a fledgling adult-kid-thing who doesn’t know how to properly remove a stain from clothing and can only cook a total of two meals (three if you include pasta). “Adult” – as if. I feel as though I have a long way to go.
A friend suggested that I write a post describing how I embodied each emotion from “22” today. Challenge accepted:
I woke up to a bunch of texts wishing me well for my birthday from some beautiful people and I ended my day by spending the evening with some lovely friends. So happiness: check.
We are a blessed people, regardless of age. We have no excuse not to be happy.
Today I felt free in the sense that I didn’t have class and I got a free Starbucks drink sooo…
But in reality, at 22 we have very little responsibility. This is our chance to actually pursue our dreams and be spontaneous. If we want to take a weekend trip, we can take a weekend trip without having to find a babysitter for the kids. If we want to take that low-paying job that we really love, we can do so without having to take into account another’s needs. Why not take advantage of such freedom while you can?
We can do just about whatever we want (within budget limitations so let’s amend that to “we can do whatever we want for $15 or under”). HOW FREEING.
Things that I’m confused about:
- Ebola. Has NO ONE read The Hot Zone?! C’mon world, stop twiddling your thumbs and stop this before it crumples entire countries who aren’t adequately prepared to handle the magnitude of such an outbreak! Sheesh. (I think in another life I’d be an epidemiologist.)
- Physics. I’ll never understand.
- Wuuuut am I to do after graduation
- Et cetera
I feel like we’re always going to nurse a fair bit of bewilderment within ourselves for the remainder of our lives, but there is something about your early 20s in particular that is a cesspool of confusion. We’re at the point where we must make important life decisions regarding what our life’s work will be, and that can be hella confusing. But as I’ve said before, it’s totally okay to simply say “I don’t know.”
My lovely roomie is away, so I spent my birthday morning alone for the first time ever and – CONFESSION TIME – it was lonely.
No one wants to admit to loneliness but can we acknowledge that our 20s can be pretty lonely – we’re living on our own for the first time, perhaps moving to new cities and starting new jobs, having to rebuild a community all over again without the support system of a university to ease the process. Of course we’re going to get lonely no matter how many wonderful friends and family members we have sending us birthday well-wishes. Yo… it’s totally okay to be lonely and it’s totally okay to admit it, too.
And if a bout of loneliness means lighting candles and turning on your Bon Iver record while drinking wine that tastes like juice then SO BE IT.
So yes, to answer the question that many people cleverly posed to me today: I did indeed feel 22 – happy, free, confused and lonely at the same time and in the best way.
What a beautiful mess of contradiction 22 is, and yet what a glorious age to be. Cheers to youth and life and good things, my friends.
“You” – The 1975
Hey guys, have I ever mentioned how much I love The 1975? Yes? To the point of excess, you say?
Seriously though, I listen to their self-titled album at least once a day, if not more. I haven’t listened to an album this much since Coldplay’s Mylo Xyloto.
I discovered this song yesterday buried in the mysterious treasure chest that is the deluxe edition of this album. It’s officially found its placed in my “obsessed” folder and I plan to listen to it until my ears can no longer bear it, which is impossible so I guess I’ll be listening to this for infinity.