As Taylor Swift once said, “I don’t know about you, but I’m feeling 22.” As a 22 year old, I can agree that I still have nights where my friends and I make fun of our exes, have breakfast at midnight, and maybe occasionally fall in love with strangers…or kiss them drunkenly at bars.
Yes, 22 is a wonderful age, an age that makes our parents wish they were “young again,” and an age that makes our older siblings feel even older. But while 22 can feel as happy go lucky as the Taylor Swift song makes it out to be, being 22 has its downside as well. Here are the top pros and cons of being a 22 year old.
Pro: We have little to no commitments
This can apply to many realms in our 22 year old lives. Most 22 year olds today are not married with children, and do not own their own houses with mortgages to pay. Keyword, most. Yes, there are exceptions (especially if you watch Teen Mom), but the majority of us do not have these commitments. This means that we are free from those forces that may hold us back and keep us in one place. If we wanted to we could pack a bag and road trip across the country, or jet set across continents, and in fact many of us do.
The beauty of not having many commitments means that we can do the most random things for (I hate to admit) the most selfish reasons. Let’s backpack through Europe, jump out of a plane, get that tattoo we’ve always wanted, and simply because we want to and never have before. 22 is an age where it is okay to be a little selfish because it is an age where, however cliché it may sound, we are trying to find ourselves without having the worries to take care of someone else.
Con: People think we aren’t focused
We are testing the waters with our numerous interests and passions. Some people may view this as our ADHD driven generation, but the simple fact that we have numerous interests and passions should be a good thing! Maybe we are a bit scattered. Maybe we love to read classic literature but we also love to watch trashy reality housewives fist fight on national television. We may be interested in a lot of different things, often quite opposite things, but that’s better than going through life indifferently and not having any interests or opinions at all. The best part about having various interests and passions no matter how variant they are, is how many options all these interests present themselves with. What other people may deem unfocused in our 22 year old brains, I think is what allows for our infinite creativity.
Pro: We are still young enough to “explore” the possibilities.
At 22 years old, it is okay to take a job that we know we probably won’t be doing for the rest of our lives. We are testing the waters in terms of career paths, and if we find one job that makes us want to rip our hair out, then we can try to take a new direction and see what else is out there without having to feel ashamed or unproductive. People seem to understand when a 22 year old doesn’t have their whole life figured out, and for this we can breathe a little easier. There are tons of forks in the road, and we might take the wrong prong, but it won’t be long before we come across another one.
Con: Too young to be taken seriously, yet too old to be “young” again.
We are old enough to earn a college degree, and as we venture back to our alma maters we feel like dinosaurs, but as we try to break into the real working world it seems we are the babies. While we may not fit in with our old college days, as our alcohol tolerances disintegrate, we may not fit into the professional world yet either. 22 year olds obviously don’t have much experience in the working world in terms of actual careers, because other than internships and working at Abercrombie or Starbucks, we have been in school. We need experience to get a job, yet we need a job to get experience. 22 is that age where people may still view us as college kids, kids who, yes have fresh outlooks and young creative minds, but who may or may not be taken seriously, or worse take themselves seriously. 22 sounds like we are young and still in that college state of mind, but we have goals that we want to accomplish, dreams we want to live up to, and stepping stones we want to step over. 22 is not all fun and games, we can be serious too.
Pro: We have our whole lives ahead of us.
We may hear this from our parents when we complain about getting older, but it’s the truth. We have been on this earth for 22 years, and rather than feeling like we are old and aging, and that life will only become harder, we should a). feel grateful for those long 22 years that we have been given and b). look ahead to the future and realize that at this point in our lives we are limitless. We are 22, which means that for these 22 long years that we have been in school learning about the world, we can finally go out and discover it for ourselves.