Being a senior in college has put a lot into perspective for me. I’m getting ready to enter the real world. I’m gaining more knowledge about life. I’m working to achieve my goals and towards a future career. I’m a responsible young adult with the whole world at my fingertips! And I am lying to myself. I just feel old and wake up everyday wishing to be a young again.
Now you may say “that’s ridiculous! You’re the ripe ‘old’ age of 21!” This is true. At this age, we are in the prime of our lives. Most people my age are in college and many are living away from home. This means they are pictured to society as adults yet can make the decision to eat ice cream for dinner every night because “Why not? No one is around to tell me no. I’m an adult!”
Yet there are some occurrences going on that make me realize I’m really not a kid anymore and this is a little more than unsettling. I’m not talking about credit card bills that need to be paid. I’m not talking about the fact that I’ll never be the youngest at school again (actually, this is probably a good thing.) I’m talking about the fact that I, and many other people my age, are entering adulthood and turns out, it wasn’t really what we expected. Are we ready to get hit with this thesis paper sized dose of reality? Nope.
I think this all starts out if you go away to college. You think, “Yeah, I am out of the house! I can do whatever I want! No one is here to tell me no!” Don’t be ashamed to admit you thought this, I can admit that I definitely did. This idea lasted a whole two weeks until I ate all the food in my room and was already sick of Easy-Mac and Ramen noodles.
Then I got a cold (because who in college isn’t plagued with a nasty-never-getting-rid-of-cough) and called my mom approximately 17 times a day for a week because I didn’t know what medicine to take and if I could mix cough syrup and decongestions. I’d like to think of myself as responsible, but let’s all face it, sometimes, we just don’t know how to take care of ourselves.
As college goes on and you get older, another milestone approaches. The biggest of all birthday celebrations. The one you have been waiting for. The 21st birthday. This marks the start of your real adult life. You can do anything. You can go anywhere. You can… empty out your bank account in less time than you were at the bar.
I turned 21 pretty recently and I quickly learned that as fun as it is, no one ever tells you how expensive this life will be. Maybe they don’t want to put a damper on your night. Maybe they don’t want to tell you that it, for the most part, is the end of fun birthday ages. What is there to do now? Nothing, except pretend your 22nd birthday is your 21st again. Happy year anniversary of your 21st birthday! What is there to look forward too after this? 30?!
Now, when I say “I feel old” it’s not because I actually think I’m old. 21 years of life is not a long time. But when you’re at your local frat party and everyone around you is in mini-skirts and crop tops and you don’t even own a mini skirt anymore, you feel old. When you drink that sweet-mix of 10 different alcohols and think “I used to do this all the time as a freshman and wake up fine!” then spend the whole next day hung over and realize you just can’t hang anymore, you feel old.
When all the freshman can go out on a Monday and you’re like “What?! How?! Don’t you people have work to do?!” you feel old. This past year I’ve realized that there is a huge difference between the age of 18 and the age of 21. And that difference is simply being an adult.
When I was younger, I couldn’t wait to grow up. I couldn’t wait to be able to drive, have my own home, and get a real job. Now all I want is to be young again and have no responsibilities, no work to do, no deadlines to meet, and no worries. Even if I can’t transform back into my 10 year old self, I’ll take being a freshman and starting college again, the whole world being at my pre-freshman 15 fingertips. We are all in such a rush to be get older but once we get to that point, we are stuck being adults for the rest of our lives.
Childhood (and freshman year of college) goes fast, and getting older isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. The only thing we can do is make the most of it, and work to be the best possible adult version of ourselves we can be. Even if you don’t have it all together like you thought you might at this age, at least you can realize one thing: 21 really isn’t old after all.