I Turned 22 and Suddenly Felt Behind

I recently turned 22 years old, and let me tell you, boy, does it hit different than 21.

21 is fun. I mean, that’s why they call it twenty-fun after all – you’ve still got a couple of years of college in front of you, nobody is worried about jobs, and the world of bars is suddenly your oyster. 22, however? Yikes.

On the morning of my 22nd birthday, I had to take my hardest final of the semester. It went well, but still, not exactly the way you want to kick off your birthday. After the exam, I began receiving the obligatory birthday calls from family members. My little brother, who’s only 19, asked me how it felt to be 22. I realized that the two things that came to mind were "old" and "behind in life." He laughed, of course, and after I got off the phone with him I thought about it and couldn’t help but laugh at myself as well.

22 is not the age at which you should start feeling old and behind. Sure, I may be graduating in a few months with absolutely zero job prospects lined up and no idea where I want to live, but that doesn’t mean I’m behind. It means I am joining thousands of other 22-year-olds, all of whom are freaked out and wondering what life is going to throw at them next. It means I am going through exactly what I am supposed to be going through, and that’s completely normal.

It’s never a fun feeling to wake up and suddenly realize that in a mere 5 months you’ll be thrown to the wolves, and it’ll be time to figure out what you want to do with your life. But what you have to realize, is that most of the pressure on all of us at this age is self-inflicted. This is the time to explore different interests, to figure out what you like, and what you don’t like, and everything in between.

So, if you’re like me right now, and you’re feeling a little old and behind, don’t. These can be some of the best years of your life! We don’t need to know exactly where life is going to take us, we don’t need to know exactly where we’re going to work or who we’re going to marry, and we certainly don’t need to feel bad for not knowing these things. Take this time to live, to have fun, and to appreciate what you do have. Here’s to 22!

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