You can say whatever you want about Taylor Swift, but she got one thing right:
Being in your early 20s is weird.
You’re an adult… sort of. But you also feel like a kid… sometimes.
Many of us still live at home. Most of us depend on our parents financially in at least some capacity. Some of us are still in school. Others of us are trying to navigate the job world with this new “2” tacked on in front of our age or a couple new letters behind our names (BA, BFA, etc). And a few of us are sporting a ring on the fourth finger of our left hands and some have even taken on the title “Mom” or “Dad.”
Taylor said that those in their early 20s are “happy, free, confused and lonely at the same time.” She accused us of having “breakfast at midnight,” dressing “up like hipsters” and purposely forgetting about deadlines. She claimed being 22 was “miserable and magical” and even had the audacity to say that we were “happy, free, confused and lonely in the best way.” Not only is this all happening at the same time, it’s also happening in the best of ways?!?
Well, when this song came out, I was a blissfully ignorant 18 year old who thought it was cute. As soon as the novelty of being 21 wore off, however, I realized every day that the lyrics of the song were becoming my truth. I also realized the best way to deal with it was indeed to dance it off and enjoy this crazy, confusing time of my life with my friends who–gasp!–were feeling the same way.
Taylor told Billboard magazine in 2012, “For me, being 22 has been my favorite year of my life. I like all the possibilities of how you’re still learning, but you know enough. You still know nothing, but you know that you know nothing. You’re old enough to start planning your life, but you’re young enough to know there are so many unanswered questions. That brings about a carefree feeling that is sort of based on indecision and fear and a the same time letting [loose]. Being 22 has taught me so much” (“Taylor Swift Q&A: The Risks of ‘Red’ and The Joys of Being 22”). In a separate article reviewing the Red album track by track, Billboard called the hook of the song 22 “a rather stunning meditation on being in your early 20s” (“Taylor Swift, ‘Red’: Track-By-Track Review”).
I, for one, think that Miss Swift hit the nail on the head with this one. Unfortunately, I think that instead of embracing the weirdness that is being in your early 20s, many of us buckle down and try to figure it all out as if somehow having a twenty in front of your age means that you know how to “adult” now.
I thought that I would create a space for twenty-odds to be able to share their stories and admit that we don’t have it all together. We’re still figuring it out and messing up and restarting. We really are happy (for the most part), feeling more freedom than ever (but also more restrictions… $$), walking around confused as hell most days and also, feeling strangely lonely (sometimes).
This space is going to manifest itself in a new segment on my blog known as “Happy, Free, Confused & Lonely” where I will interview twenty-odds about being in their early 20s. The goal of this blog has always been to tell personal stories transparently so that they can touch and help other people. Well, I’ve gotten a little sick of only telling my story and am looking forward to bringing other voices to the table as well.
Keep your eye out for the first interview, coming soon!