In 3 weeks I shall be 22 years old. 2 decades and a bit on a little ol’ planet in the middle of a small solar system in a smallish galaxy in a rather large universe. How bizarre to think.
Birthdays don’t bother me too much. I’ve never fretted about becoming older, nor have I yearned to attain a certain age. I simply look forward to who I’ll get to talk to on the day. (Because in this day and age, the only time you hear from people you haven’t heard from in years, is on that day that facebook notifies them it’s your birthday). I also seem to get the same questions I do from all my friends. I am the oldest among my school friends, so every year they ask me “how it feels” to become that age. Every year, I say the same thing (“I still feel 12”) and every year I ask myself what’s changed, if anything. Every year previously, nothing had. But this year I think things have changed quite a bit.
Last year when I turned 21, I told people I still feel like I’m 12. Nothing’s changed. Nothing feels different. But I think I also meant that I didn’t feel particularly like a 21-year-old. Everyone says turning 21 is a big deal (I’m really not sure why?) I don’t get any special privileges.. I can already vote, drive and buy alcohol. I still can’t gamble till I’m 25 or rent a car. So for me, there was nothing special about 21. Also, I felt I seriously lacked the maturity to be a 21-year-old. I remember when I was about 5 or 7, I used to think of people who were 21, as adults. Like BIG adults. Like they’re essentially done with life. Not that they’re ready to die, but more that they would have seen a lot, experienced a lot, have a plan and direction, and just be put together enough that little kids would look up to them and think “I wanna be like you when I grow up!” But now that I’m 21, I see how wrong I was. I felt like I was a 12 year old. I was still in school, still living at home, still spending my spare time reading, watching TV, playing guitar, talking to friends and stressing about fights and wondering when things will start going my way. Not that any of these are necessarily bad things, because like I said, I’m still a very small kid inside that gets happy when my mum cooks one of my favourite meals even though I’m perfectly capable of doing it myself. But it’s just very different to the view I had of someone my age when I was younger.
Now, 22. What’s different? Well I feel like I’ve aged about 10 years in 1 year. Not physically of course (thank goodness). And not in filling any of those categories before about having direction, etc (eugh). But emotionally. It’s the kind of thing you feel when you realise songs like Adele’s Million years ago and Ed Sheeran’s Castle On the Hill actually apply to your life. You start identifying with the themes they sing about and you feel that emotion vividly when you sing along.
1 day, 1 person, 1 year, 1 incident can change literally everything about you and how you view yourself and the world around you. In this year, I’ve realised who matters to me and who does not. Who cares about me and how they choose to show it. I’ve realised what -potentially fatal- weaknesses I posses and how latent they have been for so long. Have I conquered those weaknesses? Nope. Perhaps I shall spend my 22nd year doing that. But I’m aware of them. Which is a start. Yes all of this can happen in 1 year. I feel emotionally much older. Experiences don’t really correlate with age, I don’t think. That’s why I find it a bit silly when people who are just about 30 etc. say that they’re so much older and mature than I am. Well, if you really were that mature, you wouldn’t keep saying it, now would you? I think maturity is that quality you find in yourself that allows you to be in peace and find happiness without causing any harm to anyone else in everything you say and do.
In saying that, I’m still insanely immature. I don’t feel ready to be 22 and face the realities to come. But time stops for no one I suppose!
Another interesting thought is that if I live to 84, I have completed a quarter of my life already! Don’t worry, I’m not one of the people that think with every birthday they’re getting closer to death! I’m more of a live-in-the-moment-and-don’t-worry-about-the-future, kind of person. (Think that’s immature? probably). May then next 3/4 of my life be more productive on the tiny little 3rd planet from the smallest star in our itty bitty galaxy in the gigantic universe.