Turning 20

[Just to clarify, after writing this I realized that I wrote it for me, not for my readers (not that I have any readers). I guess I could have made it a private entry, but who does that?]

Am I old?

Seriously, am I? I’ve been getting emails and IMs and phone calls and face-to-face comments from people who know that I turn 20 this Saturday that would indicate that I must have one foot in the grave.

Evidently, 20 is a more significant birthday than I thought. I knew it was more important that my 19th, which is the single most useless birthday ever. But still, I thought the only point of interest was that I was no longer a teenager. Personally, I felt I wasn’t a teenager anymore when I graduated from high school. “Teenager” and “high school” just seem to be linked more than “teenager” and “college”. For example, my mom would have called me a teen when I was a senior in high school, but not when I was a freshmen in college. There’s a psychological leap made there.

But back to the point, evidently not only is your 20th birthday important, but to those who are still below that age you seem older than dirt, when days before you were their equal. I’m not sure I like that feeling. My friend Amanda, who was a freshmen in high school when I was a senior, thinks I’m ancient. She’s 17 now, older than she’ll ever be in my mind. But for whatever reason the fact that she was 14 and I was 17 when we met wasn’t a big deal, but now that she’s 17 and I’m 20 there are new rules.

Maybe I’ve just reached the age where I don’t want to get any older. But that really isn’t true either, because I’ve always thought that 23 was the ideal age. Maybe it really has to do more with my dad, who turns 60 in June. Now that’s old. Or maybe I’m just losing my mind. Maybe I’m just mad that I can find no signs that anyone’s planning a surprise party for me.

Come to think of it, maybe this birthday would have been rotten no matter what. I mean, think about it. After your 18th birthday, your 19th is a big letdown. You’ve got 21 in your sights, but you have to setting for your personal odometer turning over. Everyone is telling you that you’re old, which bugs you, but all you want is to be one year older. You don’t know what to feel or how to react or anything.

This post is part of an ongoing series of birthday essays. Each year since I began blogging I have written a reflective personal essay on April 3.

Get New Posts Delivered Right to You!

Never miss a single post! Get my new blog posts automatically via email. Just enter your address below.