Her Campus Logo Her Campus Logo

What it feels like to turn 20 in the 2020’s

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UVA chapter.

In a few days I turn 20 and it feels a little ominous to start my own new decade considering what happened when we rang in 2020. The 2020’s thus far have been nothing short of pure chaos and I have a lot of feelings regarding this new personal decade I’m going to start. Mostly I’m afraid that I could experience a change as drastic as the world did in 2020, but mainly I have a general apprehension of going into a new decade that I don’t feel ready for. 

Something about turning 20 has me tense with anxiety and unease. Just the phrase “early 20’s” brings to mind images of regrettable decisions, volatile emotions, and uncertainty, especially considering the world’s current condition. I’m not sure I’m ready to fully, and officially, let go of being a teenager-there’s already been so much change recently that I don’t want to admit another one is about to hit me.

Whenever I express these concerns I’m always told not to worry because this is a “transformative time” that I will come out of stronger than I was when I began it. That advice brings me about the same level of comfort I feel at the start line of a race (which means no comfort at all) just the dread of knowing you’re about to embark on an unpredictable yet certainly difficult journey. There is only one thing I know for certain before I start a race: that it won’t be easy, in fact it will undoubtedly be quite painful. I don’t know if I trust that I’m able to handle such a challenge and such a change.  

Every time I think we’ve found some sense of normalcy, something changes again. Sometimes for better, but sometimes for worse. Through all this chaos I’ve learned that you’re allowed to feel wary of change and, honestly, you’re allowed to be exhausted of it at this point. Sometimes acknowledging that something will be difficult and adjusting your expectations is all you can do to prepare yourself. This is enough. I don’t have to know what to expect, in fact in many ways I can’t know, but that acceptance and trust in myself is enough to get me to start the race, to enter into a new decade despite the uncertainty.

Hey I'm Erin, a third year at UVA who can be found under a pile of books hiding from my responsibilities or asking my friends to watch old movies with me so we can debate over whether they have truly aged well or not.