Thoughts on getting old
I might only be 20, but I’m starting to feel old. This is not as ridiculous as it sounds: I have a college degree, I’m living on my own, I’m learning to cook and clean, I’m in graduate school — not to mention, I get ready for bed at 11 (if that doesn’t scream “old lady,” I don’t know what does). But a few things happened this week that put on my mind, once again, just how far along in my life I’m getting to be:
First, another of my roommates turned 22. Twenty-two is not an age college students look forward to. “It’s all uphill from here,” “Now I’m just getting old,” “Birthdays aren’t fun anymore” — those are the kinds of things people say about that age. I’m not there yet — my most exciting birthday is still yet to come — but one by one my friends are reaching this point. And it serves as yet another reminder of how close we’re getting to being real adults — not just college adults.
Second, one of my classes had a fascinating discussion on female gender roles (including motherhood, working, dating, marriage, proposals, science, horoscopes and more). True to form, I spouted off my opinions on motherhood and marriage and my expectations of an equitable partnership that allows me to have a career and family (I know, I’m doomed). And then I checked myself by acknowledging that I am single and don’t want to get married anytime soon, so I really know nothing about this. In a later discussion with a friend, I mentioned that I’d probably like to be married by 24 or 25, so I’ve got plenty of time. But, as she pointed out, that’s three or four years, and when a year will probably be needed to plan the wedding, that’s not that much time. I don’t have any engaged friends yet, but it’s definitely coming.
Third, I wrote the first — though hopefully not last — editor’s letter of my career. It wasn’t until after I finished that I realized that could turn out to be a momentous moment, if all goes as planned in my working future. But more related to my topic, writing my letter and reflecting on the process I’ve gone through over the past semester suddenly made this online magazine I’ve been working on feel very real, and it made the semester seem almost over — which it is. Yet again, this semester has surpassed all that came before it in how quickly it flew by. I have friends graduating in a few weeks — where did their final 15 weeks on campus go? We have the final football game tomorrow — where did the season go? We have Thanksgiving break in one week — seriously, where did the semester go? Nobody knows. It’s something I’ve accepted, that time always goes by more quickly than I’d like, but it’s still scary.
It’s doubly difficult to process because this is my last fall on campus, my last fall as a college student. Don’t get me wrong; that’s exciting, and I’ll be ready when the time comes. It’s just arriving more quickly than I expected. I mentioned something about “the next seven months” in my roommate’s birthday card, referring to our remaining time together in this house, and she said that made her cry because it seems so short. I didn’t mean it that way, but she has a point.
In a conversation with a friend going to med school next fall, it came up that she’s still got years of school ahead of her, but in about eight months (or whenever I finish my thesis/find a job), I’m headed to the real world. Fingers crossed, I’m going to be a working adult in less than a year.
Yikes. I still can’t buy myself a drink at a bar, but man, I’m getting old.