Oh hey, why don’t you look at that. I’m turning 20 in a few days.
Twenty?!? Like venti?! 2-0? A third decade? November 17th won’t just mark me revolving around the sun twenty times, it’s the next chapter of my life: the transition from mini adult to real adult.
Think about it, when you’re twenty, you’re living in your first apartment/college dorm/with your family, working and/or going to school. You have some responsibilities (rent, groceries, school books), and do a lot of taking care of yourself, but some things are still binding you to your parents (cell phone bills, health insurance). You’re young and fancy free, screaming “I’M AN ADULT” any chance you get while eating highly discounted Count Chocula cereal and coffee three meals a day and snacking on Starbursts and nachos and watching Toy Story for the tenth time in two days while writing your UNIV papers secretly hoping you never change.
Flip to the other side of the decade, when you’re 28, 29: you’re (possibly) engaged/married, maybe having kids or thinking about it, taking care of a mortgage and car payments, working a real person job, complaining about health care premiums and taxes like the people you tried to tune out when you were twenty. No more homework for you, but spend your free time trying to understand instant bill pay and Roth IRAs (Look into the latter. They’re good things). At least now you can afford going to Comfort, Acacia, Rappahannock Restaurant, you know, the expensive places you only dreamed of going to at 20.
As one chapter begins, another closes, and at 20 you say goodbye to your awkward adolescence and teenage years. You started as an ugly duckling and transformed into….a mallard or swan. And honestly, I can’t decide if I’m happy or sad to see it go. It was an eventful ten years, that’s for sure: losing my father and grandfathers, Saint Gertrude, first job, first date, kiss and boyfriend, going to my first concert…and the 11,000 after that, lost friends, made friends, college.
Your awkward prepubescent years and adolescence all really accumulates into self-discovery, growing into your turtle shell, and figuring out who you really are.
Your second decade, the one with puberty and boobs, is probably the most influential one in your life. Yeah all of our body functions started out at different times but we’re all more or less on the same page at 20. But you also spend a lot of those awkward years trying things out and finding out what/who/where you like, and you spend the rest of your life expanding on those things. These years are spent making mistakes, going out, wasting money and doing strange things; it’s the time without any car payments due or three papers due in a two day span. So go ahead, go to concerts until 2 AM and end up at McDonald’s arguing with the workers about coupons after words. Midway into your twenties, high schoolers will be judging you at the dub step concerts.
My dad wasn’t the only one to give me a passion in something, my mom gave me an interest in Peter Pan. She had the soundtrack to the Cathy Rigby musical, and we used to sing along to it in her car during long road trips. One of our favorites was “I Won’t Grow Up”, when Peter and the Lost Boys pledged their eternal youth and vowed to never lose their dignity to climb a tree. I used to sing this all time (wondering when I would ever climb a tree), but the song didn’t really mean much to me, I thought I was going to be five forever. Listening to it again, I can feel the fear of becoming a boring adult as it creeps closer. I don’t wanna wear a serious expression in the middle of July.
I just feel inadequate to turn twenty. When I was younger, I always pictured twenty as a big deal, where everyone is beautiful, funny, independent and smart and goes out, having fun and making new friends because college. And after college, everyone stays friends and goes out together to enjoy their fabulous lives and be pretty together. Once I got older and in college, I realized that it’s not so glamorous (glamour does have its moments though). I feel like a big kid with my candy addiction and love of Pokemon.
A family friend, my mentor– fairy godmother, told me something once, and it rang so true: adults are pretty much really big kids. They don’t know everything. (And to the kids: it’s okay to question them). As I enter this real transition into adulthood, the one with the impending electricity bills and 9-5 jobs, her words make more and more sense. Parts of us grow up because it’s the flow of life, but the rest of us-if you’re lucky and don’t get tainted by the boringness of adult life we all feared as children- stays the same, and keeps the same groovy heart, vibing to the same things that got to us as kids.
(Moral of the story is that it is always okay to stuff your face with chocolate and enjoy Toy Story, whether you be 2, 22, or 72. Never grow up and move to Neverland with me and we can be awkward mid-pubsecent tweens with Peter Pan. Goonies never say die. Peace.)
(Also, if you didn’t catch my drift, my birthday is coming up and if I could get a time machine, that’d be pretty groovy. I have some time traveling to do, including but not limited to: seeing and taking selfies with all the dinosaurs featured in the Land before Time, discussing Classics with Thomas Jefferson, and cooking a meal with Julia Child.)