10 Going on 30

I turned twenty on November 14th, 2016. It was weird. Every day I was thinking, “one more week until I am no longer a teenager” or “three more days until I am a real adult.”

But then, when the day came, I felt the same.

This should not have been surprising, but I could not shake the feeling that I should have experienced a grand metamorphosis, shedding the hormonal teen years and entering my twenties as yet another confused college student. 

But then I realized: I had never been the typical teenager, so why should I expect to feel like a normal twenty-something?

Teenage girls are expected to be a dramatic, selfish rebels who spend too much time failing at Pinterest-inspired manicures. This is an extreme, to be sure, but still…

While my peers were dating around, I had a single boyfriend who loved Jesus and respected me. My only fights with my parents ended with me telling them that I loved them. I added straps to my senior prom dress while other girls seemed to be competing to see whose dress could cost the most money while using the least amount of fabric.

I broke curfews to study and was only told to turn my music down when I was practicing piano too intensely. While I was nominated for Homecoming court, I was happier serving as Orchestra President (or, as my mom called me, “Queen of the Nerds”). My best friends were theater geeks, music kids, and bookworms, but the cool crowd was so…ordinary.

When the time came to choose a college, I decided on a Christian school with a stellar conservatory and literature program instead of the big name universities that my teachers were pushing.

Of course, I do not mean to say that I did not face normal struggles as a teenager; I definitely did. As a perfectionist, I was always comparing myself to the girls I saw as prettier, my peers who had higher class rankings, and the choir-mates who could sing better. I fought an eating disorder for three years beginning when I was fifteen. I went through random mood swings and said things I wish I hadn’t.

The difference though, is that these trials did not define me. Faith, family, and friends helped me through the teenage tumult and kept me from becoming the self-centered rebel that I otherwise would have been; they supported me through my dangerous perfectionism and loved me for my quirkiness.

In short, while I always “marched to the beat of my own tuba” (as a Dove chocolate wrapper once said), my loving family, growing faith, and amazing friends made sure that I stayed that way.

As my twentieth birthday drew near, I did not have much time for reflection as I was busy leading a chapel at my college and performing in choir concerts. Later, though, I got the chance read through old journals, flip through Facebook albums, and talk to friends and myself (my roommate assured me that talking to oneself is a sign of creativity). As I did so, I realized; I was never really a teenager, so why would I be any different as a twenty-year-old?

I won’t lie; I love Taylor Swift’s song “22.” Maybe it’s just because I am two years younger, but I do not anticipate actually relating to the song’s lyrics. I don’t want to “fall in love with strangers” or “make fun of my exes.” (I will admit that “breakfast at midnight” sounds pretty great because, come on, who doesn’t love breakfast food?) But I guarantee I cannot make myself “forget about deadlines” and I need sleep way too much to stay out all night partying.

I know I probably sound like a grouch, but I just don’t like the idea of feeling “happy, free, confused, and lonely at the same time.” I know what I want to do as a career. I have amazing best friends who share my weirdness and a boyfriend who likes my determination. My faith keeps me strong when I am confused and my family is always there for me. Sure, I have moments of “I can’t do this” and “adulting is the literal worst,” but I am comforted by the fact that I am not alone and nothing compels me to fit the typical 20-year-old mold.

Though I am twenty and thus expected to be tired, broke, and confused (according to the Huffington Post), I refuse to act my age. I will go on working professionally as a pianist as I have since elementary school. I will keep writing poetry and short stories because even though I have to pay taxes and vote, I do not have to stop loving fantasy. I will watch Disney movies and sing along because being a grown-up does not mean I can’t have a sense of childlike wonder. I will chat with my mom about everything because she will always be my best friend, even though new people have come into my life.

When I turned sixteen, I wrote in my journal that I felt simultaneously older and younger than my peers. Now, at twenty, it is the same; I do not feel at all like the stereotypes say.I mean, come on, I play the pipe organ for traditional worship services, but also want to bury myself in a pile of stuffed animals. I am twenty, but feel more ten and thirty than their median.

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My College Christmas List

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Unless you’re in college. Still, though, Christmas serves as the light at the end of the dark tunnel of finals and juries. While the adult world is out shopping for gifts at the mall, we are on our laptops ordering them through Amazon during lectures. If you happen to be shopping for a college student and need ideas, I shall provide a few that are sure to be hits:

  1. Ask a college student what he/she wants for Christmas and they will answer with a laugh, “Sleep.” You cannot wrap sleep itself up in a box, but you can give your college student some new PJs, a pillow pet (they’re not just for kids!), a fuzzy blanket, etc.
  2. Mugs are the most versatile of dishes. For reals! We use them for oatmeal, soup, cereal, coffee, water, holding flowers, trapping spiders, catching water that drips mysteriously from the ceiling, decorating empty shelves, holding pencils. You name it! Plus, doing dishes is a chore we often neglect, so the more mugs we have the better.
  3. Coffee gift cards. Food gift cards. Amazon gift cards. Straight up cash. We burn through funds faster than America. I am pretty sure I am singlehandedly allowing Starbucks to expand their empire. Not the most exciting gift, but certainly useful.
  4. School supplies. Sure, we started the year with loaded backpacks, but at this point we are lucky to find a spare pencil on the ground somewhere just in time for our last final. Journals, pens, tape, staples, all are acceptable gifts. (Especially for education majors!)
  5. Clothes, especially comfy ones, are in demand. Laundry is the literal worst in college; we have to deal with finicky laundry cards, broken machines, and lugging three weeks of dirty clothes down to the basement. The more clothes we have, the longer we can go without washing them. Plus, the freshmen fifteen (and sophomore sixteen?) is real and yoga pants and sweatshirts are a blessing.
  6. Textbooks. I get low key excited when I receive books for Christmas. Granted, my books are not really textbooks (#ThanksTorreyHonorsInstitute), but getting them as gifts saves me having to purchase 20 books at once. Plus, nothing beats the smell of new books.
  7. Anything fuzzy is sure to be a winner. During stressful times, I revert to acting like a five-year-old, meaning that I literally buried myself in a pile of teddy bears at the store. No joke. But something about coziness and fluffiness is so wonderfully comforting, even to a somewhat adult such as myself.
  8. Headbands and beanies and other headwear are amazing because they can save up to a half an hour of time spent on hair care! Seriously, I can get up at 7:50 and  make it to my 8am class because of the magic of throwing on a headband to hide messy hair.

 

Well, I wrote this post in a final effort to procrastinate studying for my music history final, so I should probably end it here. Hope these help! 🙂