Five years ago, I thought I reached my mark when I turned 18. The world was opening its doors to a young women. My concerns were having the ability to enter: a car dealership, a couple of mature concerts and college. Of course, when one door opens it leads you to the path of another closed door. Out of nowhere it was as the age limit gradually rose overnight just to prevent me from fully developing into a young woman. 18-year old clubs ceased to exist and nothing could be done without legal proof of being 21 or approved by someone over 25. Reaching 21, was my next mission. October 2, 2016- I was finally 21. Alcohol and partying magically became limitless . It was indeed the greatest time of my life. I lived it up all October 2016, travelling back and forth from Vegas and ordering drinks everywhere that served. Everyday was a celebration for jumping that last boundary that separates the kids from the adults. When I turned 21, my friends and I were dedicated to partying all month. Why, because we knew after turning 21 their is no turning back.
The celebration ended approximately November 2, 2016 and then reality kicked in. Bills, graduation, senior projects, altered relationships and friendships- with all of these added obstacles I began to realize why turning 21 and legally drinking alcohol became the norm. Drinking became less about partying and more about coping. 22 opened my eyes to things that I never saw before. Though, I'm not positive whether or not these things were already there but, I just couldn't see them. Turning 22, gave me a new pair of see- through goggles, a higher view of the real world or even a slap in the face from life. Life hits harder when you're 22. There is no longer a peak to achieve that feels achievable without your control. Everything good that was to happen to you is no longer based off of age but, off of how you handle things. I also learned that the next thing to look forward to when you're 22 is either turning 25 to legally rent a car or turning 30 ( which honestly no one is excited for turning 30). This age sucked and then things no longer made since in my life anymore. I no longer had to wake up at 8:30AM to prepare for my morning class, which wasn't a bad thing. However, I did have to wake up around 9:30AM to make it to the job that I couldn't stand and couldn't cancel on. 22 brought responsibility, reliability and rehabilitation.
As a kid I remembered thinking that 20-year olds had it all: the car, the boys, the clothes, and the ability to be in "grown folk's business". Every black person understood the importance of the last ability. As a kid in a black family you weren't really exposed to the family drama or real world trauma, and it was frustrating. You always understood that even though you never knew the exact problem, there was something wrong and no one had the right to tell you because you're a kid. Turning 20, opened your eyes to not only the reality of the world but the reality of your own household. All of those juicy family secrets and knowing past what you were told, was the thing I envied the most about 20 somethings. Now that I'm finally here I would like to return my 20 something membership and cancel my "grown folk's business" status. Between understanding the hardships of the world and finding out who's my cousin versus the freeloader who always ask for money- I realized that I no longer wanted this lifestyle. I craved to sit at the adult's table for the holidays and never understood patience. I watched from the smaller scale table and admired my older cousins and their 20-year old abilities. Now looking at it, I should've just waited patiently. Now at this age I realized that 20-year olds looked so happy because they've trained themselves to. Entering the house you prepare yourself to be asked about this fabulous lifestyle of yours after college and the amount of job offers you have received. Even though you want to shout to the rooftop that "college is a scam and my job offers include several of none paying internships", you've learned how to hold it in. You take a deep breath and respond with "I'm doing well for myself, I'm currently in between jobs but I'm utilizing this time to focus on my spiritual well being." Great answer right? I had two years of practice.
Playtime is over kids, and it's time to put your "20 something face on".
It's safe to assume that 22 wasn't really my favorite year. As much as I would like to dive into the tunnel of why, I realized that I can't. One of the biggest lessons you learn when you turn 20, is that there is no point in dwelling on the past. Looking behind you slows you down from the fast paced reality of your 20s. When you miss payments. get into it with your co-worker or even get your heartbroken- you have no other option but to move forward. Excuses were for the teenage years, and frankly no one gives a damn on why you couldn't handle society for the day and decided to skip work. You must simply show up and show out! Let go of the failures of the previous decade and move into a new one. Entering 23, I am utilizing the statement "23 and counting". I am professing my optimism on 23 being the year where I do better. 22 hit me like a truck, but now I got the hang of things. I'm no longer in a rush to get older. Turning 22 humbled me and prepped me for the continuity of my 20's. I learned that time moves fast, and our emotions can't handle it, but can hide it. After admiring the other side and utilizing the "grass is greener" spectrum, I wish I could go back to the kids table and take my sweet time.
"23 & Counting"