I recently turned 22, for those of you who missed the memo on every single one of my social media pages. I’m a birthday princess, sorry.
Anyways, I felt entitled to immediately wake up and listen to “22” by Taylor Swift to live up to the basic b*tch type that I am. As I’m singing along, “I don’t know about you, but I’m feelin’ 22!” I couldn’t help but think, what exactly am I supposed to feel?
I feel like I’m in a constant tug of war with society. One end is pulling me into the “real world,” shoving life lessons and responsibilities down my throat while the other end is jerking me towards an “I Don’t Give a F*ck” young-twenty-something-YOLO type of lifestyle.
Here’s where I’m at:
- I can’t taste the difference between Malbec and Pinot Noir, nor do I really care. Red wine is red wine, and I’ll still buy the cheapest bottle.
- I don’t know how to fill out a tax form, and probably will still ask my mom how to in 5 years.
- I don’t like getting “white girl wasted” anymore. Gone are the days of blackouts and toppling over on the sidewalk with $13 Charlotte Russe heels. I’ve made the conscious decision to avoid the adjective that is “sloppy.” (Let’s forget about the 48 hour hangover I had last weekend).
- My freshman-year wardrobe makes me want to cringe. Throwing away my completely see through shirts and neon Forever 21 body-con dresses was a liberating day for me.
- I won’t grind with you. At a bar, at a house party, at a club. Anywhere.
- I want a tattoo, but I’ll put it in a spot that can be hidden under my work clothes.
- I’m essentially broke, but I still plan on moving across the country in a couple of months, even if I don’t have a set job in place. My savings account is essentially non-existent and I suck at budgeting my money.
- I don’t know what classifies as “good benefits,” and I don’t really even get what benefits are. If I get a job offer that offers these said “benefits,” my parents will be telling me if I should take it or not.
- I’m driven, I have goals, and I’m career-focused. I’d rather stay in on Wednesday, even if I’m supposed to “live it up” as a senior. I’m not wasting my time on shitty guys anymore. I want to have my life together, even if it’s currently all over the place.
Do you see where my problem is? I’m not quite YOLO-ing my life away, but I’m also not going to pass up that extra tequila shot that I definitely shouldn’t have. I feel as though I’m stuck between two “twenty-something” demographics of how society wants me to act. One is telling me to be a responsible, contributing member of society, while the other is telling me to not give a flying f*ck. It’s two ends of the spectrum and I can’t seem to resonate with either.
What am I supposed to feel? Should I travel the world or pay my college loans off first? Am I supposed to have my life figured out or should I drink shit vodka and kiss random strangers? I don’t know. But stop telling me how to act.
In a couple of months, college is kicking me out. It’s sending me into the “real world,” as some people say. I’ll have bills, responsibilities, and challenges that I’ve never faced before. However, how exactly do you define the “real world,” and why are you acting as if my life is completely over? I don’t need to get a real job right away, but that doesn’t mean I’ll continue to party to like I’m still in college. And if I do, who cares? Maybe my taste in guys might get a bit more mature, but that doesn’t mean I’ll stop hooking up with random people. That doesn’t make me “sad” or “lonely” because I’m not in a serious relationship yet. It means I don’t want to settle.
I’d love to travel the world immediately after college. I would love to fit my life in a backpack and a hop on a plane to wherever without any set plans or destinations. I’d love to go to Iceland, Thailand, and any other -land you can think of. However, financially, I can’t afford to right away. That doesn’t mean I’ll be wasting my life away behind a cubicle and starting a family immediately. My life isn’t over at the age 22. In my opinion, it’s just beginning. I can travel, and do whatever the hell I want, when I want. And I’ll do it on my own time and terms, not yours.
The “real world,” is a world that we construct for ourselves. It’s not something to fear or avoid, it’s something to embrace. I’m tired of reading articles saying “24 Things You Need To Know Before Your 24,” or “20 Places All 20-Somethings Need To Travel To.” What is so bad about deciding your own fate? Who’s to say I can’t take my future kids to one of these 20 ~*eXoTiC*~ places? Does it make me less of a person if I buy a round of expensive tequila shots when my college loan bill is due the next day? All I’m asking is for you to stop putting pressure on me. Stop judging me based on my age.
Just stop telling me what to do.
We act as though life after our 20’s is a dangerous black hole, and we should do everything we can now, before it’s too late. Does that mean I’m not feelin’ 22? How am I supposed to feel? I don’t know where I’ll be next year, never mind where I’ll be in May. I have some sort of “5 year plan” but I’ve grown to accept the nothing will go the way I’m expecting it to. So, I guess I’m just “doing me.” As you should just “do you.”
Let me enjoy my 20’s, the way I want to.