I Don’t Know About You, But I’m Feeling 22

Posted: February 28, 2015 in Age, Life
Tags: , , , ,

Age 22: It’s miserable and magical.

You knew this was coming. I couldn’t do a mini-blog series about songs mentioning specific ages without bringing Taylor Swift’s 22 in the mix. How could I sleep at night knowing I had missed out on such an obvious golden opportunity?

I admit, it might be a little “cliche” and “predictable” for me to use this song, but I don’t care. Say what you want about T-Swizzle, but she sure knows what it feels like to be 22. It’s almost like she was 22 herself at one point.. but that’s impossible, because we all know robots don’t age.

Nothing captures the essence of 22-hood (it’s a word I invented, deal with it) quite like the words “happy, free, confused, and lonely at the same time.”

On paper, 22 is a great age. You’re old enough to make important choices–like what you’re going to do with your life or who you want to become your main pizza supplier–but not so old that you have to make these decisions right away. When you’re 22, it doesn’t really matter whether you’re earning a master’s degree or binge-watching a new show on Netflix, because chances are you’ll be doing something completely different with your life in ten minutes anyway. If you’re unsure about your life’s path, people go a little easier on you because “you’re still young” and “there’s plenty of time.” You’re not quite old enough for people to ask, “Why aren’t you married yet?”–unless you’re Mormon, in which case you’ve probably gotten that question sine you were 12.

I wish I could have told myself all this when I was 22. Unfortunately, I was too busy struggling with a serious disease called existential angst.

Existential-Star-WarsStupid 22-year-old me! I shouldn’t have felt existential angst until at least two years later. But oh well, it is what it is.

I started asking myself questions like, “Where am I going?” and “How will I get there?” Eventually I realized that I was going to campus and that I would get there by walking, because I didn’t have a car or bike. But then as I walked to campus, I started thinking about the big picture. Every decision I made was a stepping stone toward the future, for better or worse.

For example, I remember feeling like I needed to move to a new apartment complex the summer after I turned 22, even though I liked where I lived. I thought for sure God was telling me to move somewhere else so I could meet my future wife. Spoiler alert: He wasn’t. I went on several dates in my new apartment complex, but nothing ever came of it. Actually, I shouldn’t say nothing came of it. There was that one time I went on a blind date, and afterward the girl accidentally sent me a text that was meant for her friend, explaining how awkward her date had just been. So something did come out of my dating life that year–something terrible, yes, but something nonetheless.

At 22, it also became painfully clear to me how unstable life is, especially as a college student, when your surroundings are constantly changing–from friends getting married to favorite shows being canceled. In the blink of an eye, everything can change. This realization made me feel like everything was going to fall apart, and in some ways, that’s exactly what happened to me at 22–not that I need to get into that now. I’ll save that for my future memoir, Woe Is Me: Stories to Be Told With a Violin Playing in the Background.

But 22 had its share of perks as well. I strengthened friendships and developed new ones, all the while weeding out the suckers who weren’t worth my time (you know who you are, Laquesha). I went to the Bahamas and got a killer tan that I’m pretty sure has still not quite faded away. And since I was already tan, I decided I might as well take some time to try something I had never really done before, a strange ritual called “exercise.” The result was that I looked better at 22 then I probably ever did before or since, and that’s worth something, even if I was confused about my existence the entire time. Yes, I was wounded, but I was also beautiful, like a gazelle that has been shot.**

22 yo me

Me at 22, being angsty about my existence as usual. I had just woken up from an existentially angsty nap and was very much chagrined.

**No gazelles were harmed in the writing of this blog post.

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