My last couple of months as a teenager are quickly approaching. I’m trying to do all the things you can only, mostly get away with when you’re a teenager, like spending money without the consequences of a strict budget and expecting your parents will provide food and shelter for you. Teenage life is truly the perfect combo of few responsibilities coupled with a good amount of freedom. But just days shy of 20, I can’t help but think, “I’m getting so OLD!” I know you’re laughing at me right now, thinking this CHILD has no clue that she’s still a child, yet this CHILD is completely and utterly terrified that she’s getting older. I’ve heard that your 20s are some of the most valuable and most miserable years of life. Miserable because most 20-year-olds are broke for a large part of their 20s and are continuously scrambling to find a decent-paying job and reliable friends. A few peers will undoubtedly get it together, get a great job, get married, even have kids, but for a lot of us, trying to figure out what to have for dinner will remain one of the most crucial decisions of the day. One good thing about turning 20 is embracing SZA’s “20 Something” fully. A great song, if I do say so myself.
The idea of no longer being classified as a “teenager” is terrifying. I feel like I’m starting to have separation anxiety as the days of the teenager’s “do-over” pass are quickly expiring. The majority of the life that I can easily recall is one as a teenager, and now I’m facing a new, more daunting phase… the life of an adult. Entering the grown-up, real world, where I’m expected to do adult things, like have an adult job and adult obligations, seems a bit overwhelming. It’s the unknown, and as an anxiety-ridden teen, my biggest fear is the unknown. We’ve all been told countless times to embrace the unknown, but it’s easier said than done. Being born in the 2000s has had its perks as we were born alongside the emergence of new technology. However, it also exposed us to so much more at a young age, causing us to grow up faster than most of the generations before us, thus we were expected to understand more than the generations before us at the same age. It’s a blessing that everything is so advanced nowadays, but it has also forced us to confront the question, “How will you keep up?”
I’m currently a student at Florida State University studying Marketing and Advertising, and I enjoy writing and creating graphics for the various projects and clubs I’m involved in. My dream is to work for a magazine, learn the mechanics involved in creating a publication and all that goes on behind the scenes from the layout and design, photoshoots, editorials and more. I feel I would thrive in this industry because it’s something I’m passionate about and because I like the challenge of figuring things out in a fast-paced, creative and strategic environment. The question I most struggle with is not “Will I be good,” but “Will such a career be financially sound?” With the emergence of technology, what fields will continue to grow and which will become obsolete? On top of this worry, my advisor told me that I should start looking for internships the other day. I think both triggered what I can only assume is a “mid-college-life crisis” where I’m questioning if I am even pursuing the right major. With only two years until I graduate, I wonder if I’ve made a colossal mistake. Is it just me, or does everyone go through this self-doubt in the middle of college?
I was able to talk myself out of my doubts, but not without insight from close friends and family. Doubts and all, at some point, we all have to move forward. I’m starting to think it’s normal to dread the unknown of growing up or feeling like you’re not prepared to take on a new chapter of life. Is anyone ever really ready? I also worry about how I don’t have a lot of my own money, but I assure myself that I don’t need that right now, and an abundance of money is not what’s going to make me happy and is very unlikely. I try (keyword: try) to view growing up now as a beautiful concept because we are getting closer and closer to who we are meant to be. It’s uncomfortable for sure, but it’s our job to embrace the awkward and the unknown. We’re not supposed to know everything; we’re supposed to learn and experience new things… right?
When I’m at a crossroads or overwhelmed, I greatly appreciate Billy Joel’s masterpiece “Vienna” as it’s become my “things will be okay” song. Billy reassures us with the lyrics, “Slow down, you crazy child; you’re so ambitious for a juvenile… if you are so smart, tell me, why are you still so afraid?” These words remind me to be ambitious, but not to overlook the beauty of the moments in search of the future. Sometimes society tempts us by moving so quickly and making us feel that we must keep a frantic pace and our eye on the prize, always thinking and planning. But Billy Joel gives us comfort that there is no need to worry as he promises, “you can’t be everything before your time.” So farewell teenage years, you served me well and taught me much, so I will enjoy each of these last few days because I know that… Vienna will wait for me.