I turned 22 yesterday. I can’t believe how time flies. So, what is it like? Am I feeling 22 yet? Nope. I feel younger and I feel older but never my age.
I haven’t really been excited about my birthday since I turned 15. Sure, I like the attention, gifts and throwing parties, but I really don’t like aging. For some reason as a kid I used to think 14 was the ultimate age, the age you’d say you were when someone asked you online. Cool people age. So, needless to say, I was over the moon when I finally turned 14. But then I turned 15. And 16. By the time I turned 17, I thought: “whoa, hold it right there”. 17 was scary people age. 17 year olds went out, drank, smoked, rode scooters… The “bad boys” my friends went out with were 17. I didn’t feel like doing any of that so I didn’t feel like turning 17, at all.
This feeling never left me. “I’m turning … now, that’s the age of people that do this and that”. I feel like there are all kinds of expectations that come with certain ages. Like you’re supposed to have achieved, done, or acquired certain things by that age. It makes me feel nervous and pressured to achieve, do and acquire all those things. When people ask me around my birthday “do you feel (my age) yet?” I hear: “are you ready to achieve, do and acquire all the things you should now?”.
Turning 22 brings me dangerously close to an age where I feel like I should have the foundations of my life in order. Rent a nice apartment (the age for buying is 30, IMO), get married, have a steady income, start thinking about children… Not that I think people should have all of that by 22, but I worry about whether I’m doing everything right in order to get there quickly enough. And these are pretty big things, too.
A few conversations with friends recently made me realise that all of this is bogus. The only one setting these expectations for myself is me. I’m the one that thinks I should have my life well in order by the time I’m 25, in fact nobody else has ever suggested something like that to me. And since I’m the one making these rules, it’s up to me to disregard them. Let go of the self-induced pressure and just go with the flow of life. Realise I’m doing well and if things don’t go as fast as I generally envisioned, it’s no problem. Look around me and see how other people of my age in my social circle are actually doing. Know that it’s all going to be ok, and what am I even worried about.
I feel younger than 22, and it shocks me a little that I’ve made it to that age already. On the other hand, I’m a granny at heart and have always felt more mature than many people of my age and acted on that. This makes a funny mix and I honestly don’t know what age I feel and that’s ok, because age is but a number. So I’m going to put my kettle on the stove, heat up the oven and bake lots of treats for my friends to celebrate that I was born. Who cares how many years ago.