Being 21 to me means nothing; age is a concept. I did not magically ‘become an adult’ when I turned 21. Most of the time I still consider myself an adolescent. I probably only consider myself adult-like when I make a Doctor’s appointment or remember to take the right colour bin out on the right day. The rest of the time I’m just me, on my own journey, still relying on my parents a little too much, still having no idea what I’m doing with my life.
When I was younger I used to look up to people my age, people in their twenties, and think they were so grown up. I thought age was equated with maturity, which really is not the case. Growing up and becoming an adult is not something that happens overnight, it is a steady upwards gradient that happens without you even realising it. It doesn’t happen with time, it happens through the experiences you have within that time.
I sucked my thumb until I was eleven, but I remember before then I for some reason thought that when I turned five years old, a switch would go off in my head and I would automatically stop sucking my thumb because I was ‘a big school girl now’. But I turned five and I kept sucking my thumb, nothing changed because I was a year older. I feel like we do the same thing throughout our whole lives. We say “when I’m 21 I’m going to be an adult”, “when I’m 30 I’ll have kids”, “when I’m 35 I’ll be at x stage in my career”. Why do we let our age dictate the timeline by which we live our lives? We all feel so much pressure to follow ‘the right path’ in life and accomplish certain milestones by certain ages. A lot of my friends right now are anxious about not getting a ‘real job’ right away when they graduate university. This is such a classic example. Yes it would be awesome to get a job straight out of uni that is in line with your career path, but if you don’t that doesn’t make you any less of a person. I very strongly believe in the power of divine timing, and that everyone is on their own individual path. You shouldn’t feel obligated to be at stage x, y or z of your life just because society says that is what is ‘normal’ for your age.
When I turn 22 I will still be the same person, still trucking along on the same path, still probably relying on my mum a little too much, still no vast amounts of maturity gained overnight, but maybe a little bit closer.
If anything, we should stop worrying about growing up at the right time, and just hold onto our adolescence for as long as we possibly can; youth is a transient gift.