20 things you learn when you're 20 years old
I’ve come to the realization that I am nearing the end of my 20th year of existence. The prospect of turning 21 (this summer!) fills me with anxiety about where I should be at in my life, where my Facebook-stalked college friends are at and what on earth I’m supposed to do to celebrate this milestone. The only way to keep calm during this existential awakening is to remind myself of all the things I’ve learned looking back on my 20th year on this here planet. So here goes:
1. You will forget your age for a very long period of time and then one day, little reminders will start popping up. Like, your own insurance card will come in the mail, which you’ll promptly lose in one of your many bags. College fees will start snowing on top of each other, and you will make your own doctors’ appointment and then you will forget about it. That means you’ll have to pay fees, but at least you tried.
2. There will come a time when you do things you might regret out of curiosity. You will listen to Taylor Swift and “forget about the deadlines.” You will go to or hold a party. You will make an absolute fool of yourself, and your night will involve being and feeling sloppy. You will say many things that people will still be laughing about weeks later. You will text people that you know you shouldn’t be texting. You will regret things and you will get over it.
3. You will meet someone you believe is the most perfect human and they will like you, just like you like them. I’m talking like Chris Hemsworth meets Boris Kodjoe meets Rihanna meets Beyoncé meets Idris Elba meets Matt Corby and Jared Leto’s man-bun perfection, and you will watch them walk away because you just couldn’t even. You’ll realize later that he or she actually wasn’t perfect. You just had your Lennon-inspired rose-hued spectacles on again. Oops.
4. You will start binge watching Gilmore Girls [insert whatever TV you’re addicted to that is on Netflix] at the very beginning of your finals week. And once you finish all of your finals, you will continue to hermit in your house loving the fact that Rory and Lorelai are perfect messes just like you. You will do nothing else because you woke up like this and not everyone deserves to see that.
5. You will switch your major once more telling yourself and everyone who asks that this is it. Then you will switch it back to what it was. Because decisions are hard, man.
6. You will try out a lot of different styles because you are human and that is what we do. We change until we can’t remember what being absolutely naked feels like.
7. You will decide that you are meant to be doing what Miley’s doing for a living because obvs. You’ll try and then you’ll realize that you can’t hit the high notes like her and then you’ll remember she’s Miley and you’re you and it’s all good.
8. You will try to eat healthier and you’ll sometimes fail because after a long day of classes and extracurriculars——Nandos, the Cheesecake Factory, Starbucks and Chick-fil-A’s French fries and milk shakes will be the only sane answers. But it’s OK though, because there’s always tomorrow.
9. You will start to love making lists. Even more so, you’ll start to love the friends who come along and make you do something that isn’t on your 20 pronged list.
10. You will hate the next day however, because time didn’t slow down for you to have fun and be spontaneous. It kept going and now there are essays, tests, and labs. Oh my.
11. Once your usual hideout on campus is exposed to your group of friends, they will synch their schedule with yours and start meeting you there. Sometimes, you will get there, and they’ll just be waiting for you.
12. You will start hiding out from your hideout because let’s be honest: You have an essay due for each of your five classes, one take home exam and two tests to take and with your pals around, you will get nothing finished.
13. You will argue with your parents, respectfully (you think you’re being respectful, anyways) about whatever and then you will be reprimanded for not being respectful. Just because you’re 20, it doesn’t mean that you have any right to disrespect the people who raised you.
14. There will be days that you will feel like the color of rain and you will actually hate the fact that 20 is an entire year dedicated to teasing you about the fact that you still aren’t legally allowed to purchase alcohol. And while your friends have already turned 21, you will be forced to continue waiting. Continue on waiting, my little raindrops.
15. You will want all of the dogs, all of the cats, all of the giraffes and all of the baby pandas to be in your lap and in your arms at some point during a school semester. Probably when your online final didn’t save or accept the essay that you near broke your fingers working on.
16. You will turn to Buzzfeed videos, because they understand you. Always.
17. You will run into people from high school inevitably. It will be awkward. They will remember your face but not your name and you will play along like you don’t know everything about their life thanks to Facebook/Instagram/Twitter so always be ready and play along like you’re Idina Menzel at the Oscars and John Travolta just introduced you.
18. You will realize you can still get in trouble with your parents whether you live with them currently or not. If you forgot to call and check in: Apologize and save yourself the “She thinks she doesn’t need me anymore ‘cause she thinks she’s grown” talk-and-look.
19. You are an adult now, so that means that you can eat Chinese food in the bathtub, Moroccan food in your bed, and Chipotle in your closet with the door closed and the flashlight app on your cellphone on. However, just because you can doesn’t mean that you have to. At the age of 20, I’ve realized that just because no one is stopping me from reading a book in a tub filled with hot, bubbly water, it doesn’t mean that I should. Namely because I fell asleep and woke up with my 2011 edition of The Best American Short Stories floating between my legs.
20. You will need to remind yourself to slow down. Sometimes with the shedding of youth, we forget that we are in fact still young and we feel the need to test our invincibility. And sometimes, we’re so afraid of time catching up to us and beating us to death that we forget that with time comes beautiful moments. And those are what you’ll want to remember as you continue your foray into the next decade of your life Own it because, yes., you did wake up like this. Seriously, though, you went to sleep one morning and you were 19 and then you woke and you were 20, and the same thing is about to happen again the following year. And you know what? That’s amazing.