Welcome to 20

Last week I was graced with another birthday, and I turned the big 20. Leaving my teenage years behind me, I’m expected to feel different. I mean, I am a whole year older, so I should feel like a brand-new woman, right?

It is true that I am no longer a teen. But, to be honest, I feel the exact same as I did last week when I was 19. Why did I think I should feel different now that I’m 20? I think the answer to this question is because of society.

Society has shaped us to be people who love to celebrate birthdays. This is great because then we get to celebrate with the ones we love and be the center of attention for one day. However, it puts the pressure on the idea that we should be growing as individuals with each passing birthday and that at the end of that year you should almost be a new and better person.  

Yes, we are constantly growing to be, hopefully, better versions of ourselves each year, but the age of 20 years strikes me as strange.

When you turn 20 you are automatically placed in this weird middle category. First off, you are no longer a teen. So, does that make you an adult?

If that is the case, then something must be wrong with me, because I do not feel like an adult at all. I still call my mom every day, use my parent’s address as my permanent address, and don’t really know how to handle any kind of finances. Definitely not an adult yet.

College is the middle stage in becoming an adult, and it makes sense that you turn 20 in the middle of college. I think the majority of people in college are not adults yet, even though many think they are.

I think society needs to adjust its norms about feeling one’s correct age because it is completely normal to feel different. Honestly, sometimes I still feel like I’m 16.

Age is such an arbitrary concept, and you cannot let others define what it means to you. Age is purely physical, and never mental. Your body ages and that is often how people are able to tell how old you are. And as we grow older, we will feel these changes more in our joints, back, knees, and all the other places you hear your older family members complaining about.

But our minds are the one thing that no one can ever see or judge. Yes, maturity is influenced by age, but even the most mature person has their immature moments. We truly are children at heart, and shouldn’t let the increasing number of years define us.

I’m excited, scared, and feeling a whole bunch of other emotions about going into my 21st year. It will be an adventure for sure. I’m no longer a teenager, but not an adult, I’m just 20. A 20-year-old trying to figure out who I am, just like all the other 20-year-olds.