Getting older is an inevitable fact of life, but it never fails to surprise us that another year has gone by when a birthday comes up, does it? Tomorrow my teenage years come to an end and what strikes me at the moment is not a sense of becoming an adult, but that I already am.
Being 19 hasn’t really been anything special in and of itself. The four or five birthdays before that one all had some special significance to them – but my 19th was as simple as being another year older. Twenty’s a bit more of a big deal but although it’s a milestone, it’s not as jarring to me as I’d expect it to be.
What really changes at twenty that didn’t at 18 or 19 is that there is no real qualifier to being an adult. At 18 you’ve just become an adult and are just learning the ropes of being away from home etc. and at 19 you’ve still got the ‘fall-back’ of being a teenager. At twenty I don’t think any of that is true, and you are as much of as an adult as you can be. The twenty-first birthday is still held up as the final threshold by a lot of people but, apart from the chance to have a big party, there isn’t much that I’ll be able to do then that I can’t tomorrow. So, really, tomorrow I will have passed into the other side.
The thing that’s on my mind about turning twenty is how happy I am to accept it. Turning 18 was great, being able to go out drinking and having a bit more freedom is fun, but it was still tinged with uncertainty and apprehension about the fact I was leaving school for university and leaving the safety net of living at home in Dingwall to move to Aberdeen. I was more responsible for myself than ever before. It was something new and unknown – which naturally stirs some sort of fear.
Even though now I’m on the cusp of being a full adult, hopefully graduating in two years and with perhaps the most important decade of my life ahead of me – I’m rather numbed to the scale of it. The big, bad world out there isn’t quite as daunting as it once was. I’m sure when I’m much older I’ll be a little less nonplussed about adding another year on to my rapidly increasing age, but for now I’m happy and content about getting on in years.
This is the decade where: I’ll learn to drive (I’d hope), my career will properly begin, I’ll have real relationships and, most of all, I’ll enjoy life to the full. Aging is a bit of a slower process in the modern world than it was before, and people in their thirties are by no means old, but your twenties is when your life is a bit more care-free than it will be again until perhaps your retirement. It comes shackled with responsibilities and worries, for sure, but instead of being a little too young or a little too old to be doing things like seeing the world etc. you are the perfect age to go out and experience what life has to offer.
All this makes me excited to be entering my twenties. The end of all my education at school and university, which together have seemed to have gone on forever, is almost over and I’m nearly free to do what I really want rather than working towards it. With a bit more confidence and a more get-up-and-go attitude I’m sure I’ll do well out of this decade.
It’s funny how as a kid everybody dreams of growing up and then when the realisation that you are an adult dawns there is a feeling of wanting to be a kid again. I’m still at the stage where I want to grow up, but know that I won’t have long until I’m on the other side. And I’m okay with that for now.
Tomorrow I’ll be twenty and an adult, and I’ll be pretty happy about that. With that, I leave you the song I look forward to hearing tomorrow (other than perhaps Aberdeen’s cup final song played triumphantly at around 5 o’clock):