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Late last year, Taylor Swift parted ways with her record label and decided to re-record some of her oldest and most popular hits to reclaim her work on the Red album. Unsurprisingly, her fans (including me) went wild and were excited to listen to the revamped Taylor’s versions. When the songs were released, I listened to the album on my own, playing the extended version of ‘All Too Well’ an unhealthy number of times. I also listened to it with one of my closest friends and we both expressed how different it was listening to the album now that we are older and have lived and experienced more. The lyrics suddenly hit us differently as they threatened to break our hearts into tiny pieces and put it back together again. I’m being melodramatic, but the point is that the songs resonated in a way that they hadn’t before. Still, there was a single song among the nine unreleased songs from the vault that truly got me thinking; it had me analyzing my whole life and wondering where all the confidence I had went. The song I’m referring to is ‘Nothing New’ and  its many thought-provoking lines, particularly “how can a person know everything at 18 but nothing at 22?” When I heard that line, I had to pause because I felt called out and I think a lot of us can relate. Let me elaborate: 

18 years old, bright doe-eyes, fresh out of high school, ready to take on the world with your big dreams, move out of your parents’ house, and start paying your own bills. At 18, we think being an adult is fun because it represents independence, yet we fail to think about the difficulties and the obstacles in life. 

Then, a year quickly goes by and you’re 19 years old. At this point, it probably isn’t clear to you yet how much work life is. 

But, your 20s hit and your perspective starts to shift because here is where the real adulting and growing starts. You get mad at yourself for ever wanting to grow up so quickly. At 18, you thought you had it all figured out. In your 20s, you start to realize how little you know and how uncertain everything is. Moreover, you realize that everything is easier said than done and that you need money to survive. 

I recently entered my twenties. While a part of me is excited for the journey, a part of me is also nervous. Already, a lot has deviated from the plans I made when I was younger, which is scary to me because I’m wondering what else is going to change. Still, I will admit that so far, my plans are changing for the better. I ended a friendship with someone I thought would be my best friend forever as it was no longer making me happy. I’m dating an amazing guy despite my plan of not dating until after I graduate law school. More importantly, my professional career seems more promising than I could have ever imagined and I realized how I was limiting myself by prioritizing the things that I thought mattered but ultimately did not. 

I haven’t lived much and there’s a lot more that is ahead of me and ahead of us all. However, I’ve recognized how little I knew at 18 despite thinking I knew everything and how much more I know now despite knowing nothing. For that reason, I wish I could go back and have a conversation with myself so I could save myself some disappointments and heartache. Still, through all of this aging and whatnot, I’ve learned that it’s important to be open to change because life probably won’t go the way you planned. 

While being open is scary, especially when you spent years crafting and molding the perfect vision for your life, I’m learning that it is the only way that you’ll survive life.

Kadrianna Cohen is a senior at Michigan State University. She is studying Political Science and Criminal Justice. She aspires to be a published author and lawyer one day, specifically one that specializes in Criminal Law. In her free time, she enjoys singing, reading, writing and spending time with her friends. She's also a Seventh-Day Adventist Christian who strives to continue growing in her faith with God.
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