I turned 21 on the 18th! I figured with this post, hey, better late than never!
I feel so ooolld! Like, what do 21 year-olds actually do? I’m yet to figure out what to do with this age, lol.
Whenever I used to start my sentences with “When I was younger…”, my dad would furrow his eyebrows in bewilderment and ask “What do you think you are now? What do you mean ‘when I was younger’, you are still young”.
I’m sure it seems like a silly thing to say when you’ve watched more than 5 decades go by.
I just can’t seem to shake the recurring refrain, “You should’ve done more with your life by now” that plays on an endless loop in my brain. I’ve never climbed a mountain or written a book (okay, I’ve written a few, they’ve just never been published) or started a company, or had a proper job or invented something, or written for Vogue/Elle/I.D, or given a TED talk or traveled the world or even managed to learn how to drive yet (I mean, I’ve got my learners so at least I’m getting there!).
I’ve been alive for over 2 decades and I feel like I haven’t really done anything, like I haven’t really lived yet, or been allowed to.
I’m still figuring out who I am. I’m not sure who Christina really is, on most days.
Tbh I think I had a firmer idea of who I was 12 years ago. I was certainly doing a lot more, being more expressive, being more creative, more free in just being myself.
Your twenties are just a weird time in your life (I call it the existential crisis limbo, or maybe that’s just life in general).
It’s like, you were living in this state of blissful oblivion and then suddenly every Tom, Dick and Harry is asking you what you want to do with your life, demanding answers from you. It’s sad really, that that’s how life is. The second you’re born you’re expected to look, act, be a certain way, follow a specific life path and the second you stray from that, you’re a failure.
My twenties also have me feeling like it’s too late for anything and everything. I mean, no one ever talks about a twenty-one year old prodigy (there’s no such thing), there isn’t much to be the first to do, and whatever you do doesn’t seem as spectacular as if you had done it when you were younger.
It’s hard to ignore society’s fetishism of youth and teenagehood.
It’s always teenager this and teenager that, wunderkind this and wunderkind that. It’s as if the second you don’t fall within a certain age bracket you are obsolete. Like Buzz and Woody in Toy Story or something.
Don’t get me started on kids these days, I swear the average fifteen year old has accomplished more than I ever will in my entire lifetime. Not that I have anything against the next generation, I think they are phenomenal and I am genuinely excited to see how they will change our world for the better.
It’s just that it’s easy to feel like there is no place for you in this world, that there is no room.
You have brought me a lot more questions than answers, a lot more responsibilities and pressures than I know how to handle, a lot more roadblocks and detours than destinations, and a lot more confusion and uncertainty than security.
But I’m trying not to hate my age, I just want to be content.
So on that note, an important quote I’ve been reading all year:
I don’t resonate with the concept of a “bucket list”. For me, because of how I’m built, there’s a danger of it becoming a “to-do” list. Then a “must-do” list. And if I don’t check everything off, I “haven’t lived” or did life “wrong” or whatever. (See: “Bullsh-t.”)
From an early age I was conditioned to believe My Life Will Not Be Complete Without [Fill In The Blank]. That kind of thinking is self-defeating. A set-up for disappointment. Because life doesn’t guarantee squat (obviously). Marriage, kids, a career you’re passionate about that also pays the bills, a mind and body that function “normally”, etc…
Not everyone get those things. (Not everyone wants those things.)
I refuse to accept that that’s anything less than okay.
Sure – have goals. Make plans. Dream big. But I’m careful (or try to be careful) not to let that tip over into wishing tings (or I) were otherwise. My want is to appreciate/value what I have while I have it. To think of the life I’ve got today – not tomorrow – as complete, fulfilling, worthwhile. And if down the road I’m lucky enough to stand in the shadow of the mo’ai or compete on “Project Runway”, great.
If not, that’s okay too.
I’ve always been, and still am, such a dreamer (also unfortunately not much of a do-er either), and maybe that’s why my expectations have always been so high. But maybe there’ a way that I can still dream, but learn not to have such rigid expectations so that when the good things come, they are great, and when whatever happens, happens (the not so great), which inevitably comes, and is pretty much out of my control anyway, I may learn to accept situations for what they are.
So here’s to twenty-one.