Tonight is the eve of the last night of my reign as a sprightly 21 year old. I know I know, some of you are saying, “Oh my god shut the hell up”. And yes, this is not a soul defining birthday, but for me, this birthday I think signifies a lot. I haven’t been looking forward to this day, to the point of actually DREADING it. So here are the thoughts of why I have felt reluctant to turn my life into a Taylor Swift song, with a little help from Taylor herself.
One of the reasons 22 isn’t a huge deal for me probably is because 21 really was. I had a count down for probably five months, and everyone around me knew how many days until the big two-one. I mean, how can you compare with your 21st let’s be real. You’re legally able to spend a lot of dough making yourself feel like death. You’re also stepping into a whole other level of adulthood. Yeah when you’re 18 you’re “legally” an adult and can go to jail and sign your own medical forms and vote, but you’re not 100% grown up yet. When you turn 21 you feel really legal, and the year of fun begins.
In the wake of 21 however, is 22. My theory is that you spend a year reveling in your legality and new found maturity (and a new found immaturity…hehe penis), but then once the smoke and mirrors fade out, you realize, oh shit i’m an adult. That is what I think is really hitting me. I’m entering my senior year of undergrad, and with senior year comes a lot of uncertainty. Yeah you have a road map, you have the nuts and bolts of what your future will consist of, but you don’t have your dream house, or even a transition apartment built yet. You don’t have the job offer, acceptance letter to grad school, or letter of certification. In fact, you faec a big dark hole of anxiety wreaking “what ifs”. That’s hella scary.
So twenty two is my wake up call. Birthdays aren’t building up to that golden twenty first birthday, and there isn’t a whole lot older age promises any more. At least that was my initial thinking, and the reason I cringed in agony when “I DON’T KNOW ABOUT YOU BUT I’M FEELIN TWENTY TWOOOO” blared from the radio. Sorry Taylor, but I really hated you for a while. I used to have little corny butterflies in my stomach when my birthday was coming up. I used to feel special, I used to look FORWARD to it, but not 22, and here you were singing about it. So that made me watch your music video (oh don’t ask why).
Guess what happened. The butterflies came back. The feeling you get when you want to bounce up and down and get giggly started to creep up into a smile. I had images of twirling around in a pink sparkly dress up gown, blowing out candles and spitting all over butter cream frosting, and running around giggling with my gal pals. I started to get excited about my birthday.
I realized, i’m TWENTY TWO! I’ve gone through the lesson that just because its an open bar doesn’t mean drinking all the alcohol is necessary, dealt with learning how to do my taxes, pay bills, and balance a checking account, and completed 75% of my college education. I’ve done a lot and there’s a lot more to go, but there’s a lot more fun ahead too. I’ve gone through the initial shock of adulthood, and now its time to revel in its benefits and explore where it can take me. Yeah i’m getting older, but i’m having buckets of fun on the way there.
So yes, it is true. Twenty two does mean we are ending a certain age of youth, we are gaining more adult responsibilities, and we are making more definitive decisions regarding our futures. But that’s ok. It’s ok we don’t have the full game plan, and that we have a lot of unknowns. That’s the beauty of your twenties. It’s our time to make mistakes, find out what we’re good at, have jobs we hate and jobs we love, take classes at night and teach yoga in the mornings, and gain a whole lot of experience in each process. It’s our time to be us. Even though we may not be where we want to, and we might not even know what that is yet, it’s our time to figure that out and to have fun in the process. So I don’t know about you, but i’m feelin twenty two.