How Being 22 is Exactly Like The Taylor Swift Song

Taylor Swift’s song “22” just used to be one of her catchy, over-played, mainstream songs I’d jam to in the car. The song came out when I was 17—so 22 felt like an eternity away, because that’s the year I would be graduating college. And…who ever thought that year would come?

As a really big Taylor Swift fan, I enjoyed “22” but I never really understood it. I always thought 22 was a random age to sing about. As a teenager, it seems like an insignificant year in one’s life. 21 was the age to be, why write an entire song about being a year older—what more could possibly change by turning 22?

I haven’t listened to the song in a couple years, and after listening recently, I’ve never identified with the lyrics so much; especially the part in the chorus that says “We’re happy, free, confused and lonely at the same time, it’s miserable and magical.” Those lyrics have never been more relatable. At first, they were just fun to sing, but now I’m actually a mixture of happy, free, confused, and lonely. There’s no better way to describe this awkward age.

For most, being 22 means just dipping our toes in adulthood, trying to figure out our future, and not really knowing what’s next. We’re mature, but we still don’t have it all figured out. We’re just kind of here, existing, and rolling with the punches. And that feeling of being young, but not knowing what’s to come, is indeed, miserable and magical.

22 is the year a lot of us are graduating college. It’s like a pre-mid-life crisis where we feel like we will never get jobs or fall in love. We want to go out to bars and dance the thought of the future away, because it’s terrifying. We do everything we can to have fun and try to be someone. We’re completely free of responsibility (for now), and I really do believe most 22 year-olds want breakfast at midnight, to fall in love with strangers, and make fun of our exes; because we’re still naïve, broke, and slightly immature.

But as 22 year-olds, we also want to get our life together. We have big plans for ourselves, and we dream instead of sleep. We want everything to work out, because we want to have that amazing job we’ve dreamed about, a boyfriend, and to enjoy everything life has to offer—we’ve always believed we could do anything.

For now, we make bad decisions because it’s the age to experiment and feel the pain of getting our heartbroken by guys who “look like bad news.” We want to dress up like hipsters and be the annoying girls at the bar, but why shouldn’t we? We’re young and we deserve to live our lives as crazy as we want before reality hits us hard.

Being 22 doesn’t make us blinded by reality, though. We have a lot of our life together, or at least we’re trying really hard to. 22 year-olds are wide-eyed, ambitious, and hopeful that everything we’ve ever fantasized our life of being like, will all work out.

We’ve gone through four years of college and are finding out who we will become afterwards. We’re at this determined, complicated time in our life that we will get past. But for now, it’s worth dancing all night to and forgetting about.

So for all the other 22 year-olds trying to figure out the most confusing aspects of life, let this song be your anthem and a reminder that everything will be alright.


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