12 Things I’ve Learned 12 Days Into My 20s


I’m feeling a sense of urgency, lately; an urgency which feels like an annoying itch that won’t go away with light scratching or covering up the itch with some sort of lotion-y medication – an itch that will only be satisfied with vigorous scratching. Really getting in there, really deep.

I’m only 20-years old. In fact, I just recently turned 20 only 12 days ago. Maybe it’s the fact that I just entered my 20s that I feel so much potential energy bubbling up inside of me. I always read about how excited your 20s should be. How much adventure and experience you will find yourself actively participating in, and maybe I feel like I’m sitting on the outside of all of these. It’s only been 12 days in, and what have I found myself doing? The same things I have always done – mediocre workouts at the gym, reading elaborate and colorful stories (all fictional), fill my mind with wonderful documentaries about people who drop everything and have no idea where they’re going, but are at least happy.

All of these things have an underlying theme – I’m not participating.

I want to so badly, but I feel so settled here, in my quaint little college town.

I have wonderful friends, I have a wonderful family, I have a major that I’m very passionate about, and, quite frankly, good at. I have a fantastically stable life, but a frantically searching soul. There’s something about comfort that is, ironically, uncomfortable.

It’s so strange how we develop as we grow up. I mean, I guess it’s not, actually. Growth is development, but I think it’s strange how we sometimes actually become the opposite of who we once were. I used to cling to comfort, is what I’m getting at, with all the wrong words. I used cling to the idea of comfort because I needed security when I had no control over the things happening around me. Considering this was a younger version of my current self, it makes sense – my family was in control of my life. That’s normal, that’s how it’s “supposed to be,” but as I grew up and went out on my own, discovered “me,” experienced the world for myself, etc…I realized that I was now in control, and the idea of comfort actually scared me. It scares me now, too. Now, comfort means that I’m not moving forward.

How do we learn to drop everything in order to find everything? Maybe in my case, I feel as though I’m tied to all of these “comforts.” If I venture off and live a vibrant, scary, thrilling, soulful twenties, my friends will wonder why they weren’t enough for me.

My family will wonder why I didn’t appreciate the security they gave me. My professors will wonder why I’m “throwing away” my talents and potential at a career.

If I were fifteen, I would be happy. I have all that I wanted. Now, at twenty, I feel restless. I have an itch, but no hands to scratch it with because they are tied behind my back by the ropes of comfort and security.
With all that being said, here are the twelve things I’ve learned from twelve days in my 20s:

1. Comfort and Security are my friends from high school whom I lost contact with when I moved away to college, but we’re still Facebook friends, if that counts.

2. When people ask you how it feels to be in your 20s, you probably shouldn’t say that you feel like you’re already 29 and 364 days old.

3. You’re never too old to wear a princess hat on your birthday, even your twentieth birthday.

4. You’re still not 21.

5. If you’re starting to worry about the fact that your 20s will go by too fast, and you’re a math person: think about how long your life has seemed so far, cut that in half, and that’s how long your twenties are, but you’ll actually remember all 10 years, your first 10 years of existence.

6. That part about remembering your 20s probably isn’t true after your 21st birthday.

7. Turning 20 doesn’t really mean that you’re IN your twenties. It’s like saying you’re cool because you’re finally in high school now, but you’re still a freshman.

8. Turning 20 is a symbolic renewal of slate. Goodbye, teen years. Hello, bills.

9. You’re still not 21.

10. You now have to hide the fact that you listen to pop radio on those days that you’re feeling extra sad about growing up. Or not. I can totally rock to Hannah Montana. Nobody’s perfect, right?

11. You are in prime time for traveling. Technically, you can travel and indulge in cultures of the world whenever you want. But, you actually can’t. You (probably) don’t have children, aren’t married, don’t have a set-in-stone career laid out of you (but if you do, kudos). Get out there and do it.

12. You’re still not 21.

Maybe some day I will have the courage to untie the ropes of comfort and security, to de-friend them on Facebook because I don’t have anything in common with them anymore and we haven’t been met up to catch up with each other in a while. Hopefully, I will.

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