I Don’t Wanna Be 20!
While most people begin planning their birthday celebrations months in advance and turn the entire birthday month into a party all about them, the thought of my November birthday is making me ill. Instead of spending my back-to-school days partying with my friends at football tailgates and planning my Halloween costume, I’m having near-panic attacks about my impending b-day.
Why? Because I’m turning 20 and it is scaring the crap out of me.
I haven’t always been afraid of my birthday. When I was a wee tween, I was so excited to turn 14 I had a countdown on my wall. I was constantly reading books that made it seem like the age to be. The girls seemed so sophisticated and mature, usually because they were dealing with things like getting their first kiss (which I coincidentally got when I was 14…I knew it would be an awesome age). Getting older was exciting, too. There were so many great perks that came with a new year: higher allowance, driver’s license, R-rated movies. But then I turned 18 and all the scary changes that came with that age threw me for a loop.
I was filled with anticipation about going to college and starting a new part of my life, but I was also depressed that the life I had known was coming to an end. So, as a way of dealing with that, I half-jokingly, half-I’m-so-dead-serious-it’s-not-even-funny denied my birthday. I just pretended it wasn’t going to happen. People would ask me “What do you want for your bithday?” and I was all, “Uh, no thanks, it’s kind of just not coming around this year.”
And the big 2-0 is worse. Sure, I’m one step closer to legal drinking, but I’m also one year closer to having to fully take responsibility for every aspect of my life. And I’m scared that my adult life is just going to stop being fun.
I can’t see myself being fulfilled with just a job, husband, and kids. I know my idea of fun will mature – after all, there was a time when all I wanted to do was dress up in my Belle dress and recite the dialogue, verbatim, as I watched Beauty and the Beast on VHS. But knowing this doesn’t mean it doesn’t scare the bejeezus out of me.
I love who I am now, and I adore how my life is. I’m nervous it’s going to go by too quickly. Right now, the possibilities for my life seem endless. I’m just beginning to discover what I’m capable of, and what the world may have in store for me. It’s the most exhilarating feeling I’ve ever had, and I want to hold on to it for as long as possible.
We’ve all heard it before: “Enjoy college! Best years of my life, I tell ya, went by way too fast.” I can practically see the wistful longing for those days of debauchery in the speakers’ glazed-over eyes. Another year and another birthday means another step closer to being that person.
Even though it’s difficult, I’m trying to embrace the fact that I’m getting older. I’m sure some amazing things will come with age so I’m doing my best to look to the future, not the past. More importantly, I’m trying to realize that getting older doesn’t mean I have to stop enjoying life. I don’t have to be some married lady with kids and a garden; I’m going to be one of those really active old women who climbs mountains and radiates joie di vivre. Either that or I’ll be some old creeper, hustling my way into college parties to take body shots with the freshmen.
What about you, fabulous readers? Are you excited to get older? Dreading it? Or are you experiencing a whirlwind of confusing emotions when it comes to aging?