Age is a funny thing, ain’t it? When you’re younger, you can’t wait to turn another year older, but when you reach that coveted older, you wish you could turn back time and revert to being younger. Age is both an inevitable reality and a sensitive subject, and it’s all the more pertinent and pressing in our roaring twenties. Rawr.
In our twenties, we do at least one of four things:
1) Experience some sort of post-graduation, quarter-life crisis
2) Convince ourselves somehow that we are forever 21
3) Leniently increase the cool age, i.e. by claiming that “30 is the new 20”
4) Dread upcoming birthdays like the Zombie Apocalypse/Bubonic Plague
This is often accompanied by at least one major event below:
A) Taking offense when restaurants no longer check our ID’s
B) Feeling overly flattered when others guess younger than our age
C) Reminiscing about wreaking havoc in those good ol’ college days of yore
Consider me guilty as charged, for having experienced all of the above at one point or another. On the brink of turning 22, I experienced an absolute mental and emotional breakdown. I envisioned myself (and quite vividly, at that) dying alone amongst a clowder of glaring cats. I don’t even like cats, but I’m convinced my aging, senile self would. My lack of a romantic prospect, an enviable career, and legitimate post-undergrad schooling would lead me down a dark, directionless path. As a spinster, the rest of my days would be spent in a dingy, one-bedroom apartment that wreaks of old books and cobwebs. I’d end up dying obituary-less; cause of death from choking on a fur ball. And what a shame it would be, for I’m CPR certified and know the Heimlich Maneuver too.
Turns out I’m not alone. Search the internet and you will find no shortage of articles on the noncommittal, narcissistic, indecisive, promiscuous, self-entitled, ambivalent, unpredictable generation with, to top it all off, a failure to launch – fondly known otherwise as the twenty-something’s. We twenty-something’s have been talked about, scrutinized, validated, and researched. There are how to guides, identification signs (as if you weren’t aware), calls to take us seriously, and even reassurances that we are, indeed, alright. For what it’s worth, the twenties are no doubt a pivotal decade. Like it or not, most life changes are bound to occur in this chaotic decade, which got me to thinking…and ultimately, led me to a proposal:
I’m challenging all the twenty-something’s out there to go ahead and celebrate your age. Wear it loud and proud, acknowledge it, and don’t be ashamed of it. Myself included. I’ll take the lead – hell yes I’m 25.
I think I’ll take a moment, celebrate my age
The ending of an era and the turning of a page
Now it’s time to focus in on where I go from here
Lord have mercy on my next thirty years
Don’t be ashamed of your past, however embarrassing and regretful it may be. Yes, even that Britney Spears Toxic YouTube video you made with your roommates in college – knee-high boots, amateur smokey eye, gratuitous hair flips and all. Don’t allow yourself to feel regret if those missed opportunities and bad decisions translate into newly opened doors and better judgment calls.
Hey my next thirty years I’m gonna have some fun
Try to forget about all the crazy things I’ve done
Maybe now I’ve conquered all my adolescent fears
And I’ll do it better in my next thirty years
Carpe diem with a twenty-something’s sense and sensibility; carpe noctem with the knowledge that you have work tomorrow at 8 am. Grow older without becoming more uptight; grow up without losing that sense of youthful energy and ideological ambition. After all, we’re only twenty-something.
My next thirty years I’m gonna settle all the scores
Cry a little less, laugh a little more
Find a world of happiness without the hate and fear
Figure out just what I’m doing here
In my next thirty years
Don’t allow where you would like to be in life to take precedence or cloud over where you are at right now. Translation: Not getting too hung over about a bad weekend of eating out, or for inebriated texts that would never have been sent sober. Because bad moments don’t make for a bad day, a bad person, or a bad life. So no more of that overly dramatic, self-deprecating FML crap, you hear? Simply embrace the addition of another candle to your birthday cake, and be grateful for genuine companionship and shared company.
Oh my next thirty years, I’m gonna watch my weight
Eat a few more salads and not stay up so late
Drink a little lemonade and not so many beers
Maybe I’ll remember my next thirty years
Yes, in my next thirty years, I want to celebrate my age; age with grace; and grace others’ presence. Watch out, 55-year-old self! And wish me luck.
My next thirty years will be the best years of my life
Raise a little family and hang out with my wife
Spend precious moments with the ones that I hold dear
Make up for lost time here, in my next thirty years
In my next thirty years
–Phil Vassar, “My Next Thirty Years“