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In the past year and a half, I have moved a hundred miles away from home, landed a relatively enjoyable and well-paying job, I’m finishing up my third semester of college, and somehow maintaining a high GPA. I’ve also managed to have a social life and date in the scraps of my free time. Being busy all the time while staying on top of your game is scarier to do than to think about—I can even admit that. For most other people my age, that’s not the most manageable life. However, what scares me the most about this era of my life isn’t how to survive college or how to hustle hard…It’s the fact that I am about to turn twenty.
That sounds pretty ridiculous, especially to anyone that’s older than me reading this. I know, I know. I’ve heard it all before (so much I don’t even want to list how many times). But really, think about it. The difference in saying “I am nineteen” and “I am twenty” has different connotations. “I am nineteen” still portrays the adolescent, coming of age persona that says “I’m ready to leave home,” while “I am twenty” begins the “Damn, I’m being taken seriously as an adult” phase of being a young adult. That’s even more intense as a college student. Not only that, but for whatever reason, this is also when I am supposed to have my life up until retirement figured out and micromanaged.
For this reason, I propose we rename “College” for what it is, “Deciding What You Want to do Until You Die While Distracted by Your Fleeting Youth.” This more accurately describes studying about a career field that doesn’t suck, appeases your mom for years, and employs you as fast as possible after you finish school. But let’s not forget that in this process, you may still not know exactly what you want to do. I’ve always wanted to be superstar and entertain the masses in all my glory or get on the fast track to being famous by making ridiculous art. Sadly, I had to be more practical than that so now you are reading my writing. This is all my attempt to avoid the plight of being grateful that I’m making money and my job isn’t being done by a robot yet.
Finally, I begin to ponder if I will make it to retirement age and reflect upon my life and be satisfied. Will I be happy with how I made a living for myself? Did I screw up when I was young and reckless? Will I even have a legacy? I don’t know. But the somewhat comforting part is no one really knows. It’s obvious we have a skewed concept of the shift between our teenage years and the start of adulthood and all the changes that come with it, but that’s what makes my life exciting.
A change of heart.
I know the challenge of avoiding all of these trite and dismal expectations and standing out among my peers, for doing so motivates me even more to face what I fear the most about turning twenty…my quarter life crisis.