“Oh 20! Enjoy it while it lasts! One day you’ll wake up and be 40 and you’ll have no idea how you got there.” – My mum’s friend on my birthday.
This week is going to be a little more personal.
As we all know, people inevitably get old. It’s such an imperceptible process that most of us don’t even realise how much we have changed and evolved until a year has gone by and it’s time to, once again, blow out candles and hear family and friends sing “Happy Birthday” as we stand there, slightly unsure of what to do. (This, I’ve found, never changes, despite how old one gets. I believe that either 1) we get better at masking and/or coping with it or 2) children start taking up the spotlight and people barely notice you anymore.)
But I’m getting ahead of myself! So before I say anything else, let us rewind and establish that I turned 20 on the 14th of May. The days leading up to that dreadful event were less than disappointing. Almost unbearable, really. And it all came down to this wretched dichotomy: I feel young (due to my lack of orientation in life) yet old (because I am going through a stage that I have already been through and that I should have gotten over). In short: I feel like the 39-year-old person at the club at 6 a.m. Just go home, get your shit together!
It’s such an overwhelming feeling of being a lost misfit that it actually got me thinking: what if I am supposed to feel like this? What if it’s normal?
(It’s noteworthy that when I turned 18 I suddenly realised that all those young adults I had spent my life admiring and finding oh-so-grown-up-y were actually just… big teenagers with added responsibilities.) This realisation caused me to subconsciously expect a similar breakthrough as I entered my 20s. But, at this point in a person’s life, how much can truly and fundamentally change in 2 years? Our core psychological and physical selves do start mutating at a slower pace after you have hit a certain mark… Or so I’m told.
However, a small, very non-Tumblr-y part of me believes that I should feel different. More like an adult. And the harsh truth is, I don’t, not really! And here’s why: 1) I can’t relate to 16/17-year-olds anymore! I’ve tried, trust me! I could spend all day talking about my failed attempts. Yet, 2) I’m currently in the process of trying to figure out whether I should just say “sod it” and enrol in Middlesex University (London) this year, or wait it out and give myself some time to study and raise money, etc and go for it next year. I’m trying to get a job. But most importantly, I’m trying my hardest not disappoint anyone and what is expected of me is to stick with my first choice for a course and endure it for the rest of my life, like a true unfulfilled adult should! Although I’m not a big fan of misery and lack of fulfillment, the prospect does seem less troublesome than to try to explain to my immediate family and friends that I’d rather graduate two years later than I’m supposed to and not completely regret my choice.
All of this naturally means that I’m in this weird, not entirely socially-accepted limbo.
Bottom line is, rationally I know I’m not even that old and that I shouldn’t feel finished or burnt-out. That all of us go through certain stages of life at different ages and that’s okay. If a friend were to tell me they were in this position, I would be their cheerleader! But it doesn’t stop me from believing I’m too young and too old at the same time.
On that note, and because I’m getting extremely confused and overwhelmed by my paradoxical thoughts on the matter, I am signing off. See you next week (hopefully)! If you can relate in any way, don’t hesitate to rant to me about it!
P.S.: I love those balloons. Can someone get me some when I turn 21? I just figured it’d be a little bit sad if I bought them for myself. Sigh. Another social construction I need to tear down…