I just turned twenty. When I say “just” I really mean just, because I’ve only been twenty for a good two hours and forty-two minutes. And you know what? I’m really just not having it. No, I’m not one of those people who pretends they hate their birthday and then freaks out when no one planned them a f*cking parade. I’m also not one of those people who plans seven different events for themselves, at even the least significant of ages (i.e. twelve, fourteen, seventeen—ages which are simply irrelevant) I’d say I’m a neutral birthday-er. I like my birthday just as much as the next guy. It’s fun to have people buy you stuff and make you stuff and have randoms write on your Facebook wall. Its fun to eat cake (although it is EXTREMELY awkward to be on the receiving end of a round of ‘Happy Birthday.’ Seriously, where are you supposed to look?!) And yes, it is fun, for a day, even though you did absolutely nothing but arrive on the scene so that people could pay attention to you. Thank you for your presence, those people are saying. Friends, you are more than welcome.
The issue I have is clearly not with the general concept of birthday celebrations. It’s an issue with being twenty.
I liked being a teen. Sure, the first three quarters of teen-hood were a bit more awkward than I’d hoped, and achieving legality with a late birthday was a mission and a half. But once 19 finally rolled around, the whole world (nay, the one block radius that is the Kingston downtown) was my oyster. Nineteen was perfect. I wasn’t some early-teen minion, and I wasn’t even borderline high school. But I could still get away with all sorts of shenanigans, and would reassure myself by saying things like, “I’m still a teenager. This is what we do.” But now I’m a twenty-something. I’ve never been a something-anything before, and to be honest, it’s scary. This is the decade where things happen. People do things, and go places, and marry people.
As I continue to write this “memoir of an almost-quarter-life crisis,” and enter the third hour of my twentieth year, I realize something. Yeah, I have some awesome years behind me, but the best is yet to come. I’m a twenty-something! One day I’m going to look back at this article and despise my past self for: 1) staying up until 3AM before a midterm and 2) complaining about turning twenty. To all my fellow twenty-year olds out there: we are in the prime of our youth! This is it; the best years of our lives. So embrace it, enjoy it, and most importantly: don’t be one of those people who pretends to hate their birthday. Just don’t.
Avery Hoffman, Social Media Team + MUSE Weekly blogger