1. The realization that the next incoming high school freshmen were born in the 2000s, meaning the high school reign of 90s babies is over… and that we’re… old…
2. Prior to now, the most ill-fitted individuals that could possibly get married or raise a child were the only ones doing so, but now the people who are getting engaged and pregnant are, y’know, your friends.
3. You’re officially in the era of “what you’re going to do.” Your entire life is defined by your future, not by what it is now. It’s the only thing people ask you about, and really the only thing you’re able to focus on.
4. Dating is awkward because you’re either going to get engaged or break up, and more likely than not in a short period of time. Gone are the days of just dating because you like each other — somebody is always wondering where it’s going. If you’re in school, you either expire by graduation or stick a ring on it, and the “where do you see yourself in 5 years” talk becomes increasingly relevant on the first date. Aka, you’re screwed.
5. You’re around peak weight gain time. Between college cafeterias and excesses of alcohol upon turning 21 or getting through finals week, not to mention your metabolism starting to slow without your appetite meeting it, you’re done for. You can’t stomach people making fun of “those who got fat after high school” because by this point, it’s basically all of us.
6. You start saying phrases such as “well, when I was in college,” or, “we didn’t have that when I went to high school!” and you follow them up with: “wow, I sound old” every goddamn time.
7. You start to befriend your siblings and appreciate everything your parents have done for you.
8. In some way or another, it’s your first time living alone — at college, in an apartment, whatever — and you’re equal parts complaining about the electric bill and having ice cream for dinner every night.
9. All your celebrity crushes growing up either just had a kid and a spread in People magazine about it, just came out of the closet, or were on the last season of Dancing With The Stars and you’re #dealing with it.
10. Prior to turning 21, you think your life will completely change once you finally do. You’ll go out with your friends, buy yourself wine, it will be heavenly. Post-turning 21, you realize that that excitement lasted about a week, and now you actually have to pay for all your drinks, and that from here on out, you’re done with birthday milestones you actually want to celebrate.
11. The celebrities the world idolizes are your age, if not younger. Kate Upton is 21. Justin Bieber is 20. Twenty.
12. Realizing that up until, y’know, now, someone being 21 was really old (and cool) and you thought by this point, you’d not feel like a kid still, and yet here you are.
13. All your friends are either abroad, going abroad, graduating college or leaving you for another city or marriage or job.
14. Nobody takes you seriously. Your parents still don’t totally trust that you can manage on your own, trying to date anybody over 25 is impossible-to-absolutely-disastrous because nobody with their life together wants to be with someone in their early 20s.
15. If and when you do make it into an office environment — for an internship or what not —- the overarching sentiment toward you is “oh my GOD I cannot believe you were born in the 90s!”
16. You start seeing how people turned out, in all the sad and awesome ways you predicted in high school. What they became and did, how their stories summed up at the end of the day and how funny it is that the wild party girl became a mother and the studious nerd became a young and successful social media *guru*.
17. You start seeing how you turned out — in all the sad and awesome ways you predicted/feared/hoped for in high school (and sitting with the fact that your story isn’t summing up — it’s just beginning).