REFLECTION: 22 and irrelevant

Shelbie Goulding

Shelbie Goulding

Birthdays are a time to celebrate life, especially in college. Growing up from the teens to the twenties is about celebrating adulthood and transitioning from the frat parties to the bars. But what comes after turning 21? What is there to look forward to? This week I turned 22, the age of irrelevance. And the day after my birthday, I definitely felt really irrelevant.

I was crazy excited when my birthday came. I spent the day treating myself to things I liked to do and hung out with friends. But compared to my past birthdays in college, it was like there was nothing to really celebrate once the clock hit midnight going into the next day.

When you turn 22, you’ve pretty much reached the end of an era. My 21st birthday lasted a week last year. Three different nights at the bars with three different groups of people, and the fun didn’t end after that. My 21st birthday opened the door to the bars for a whole semester of fun, but this year the door was already propped open for me, losing its thrilling touch for looking ahead.

I still went out with a group of friends the night of my 22nd birthday, but irrelevance just floated around me once the night out reached the next morning. I woke up realizing I’m an actual adult who’s about to be on my own after this semester.

I don’t know what’s ahead for me. The year of 22 is the year I graduate and when I need to start job searching for my lifelong career.

And let’s be honest, most of us are winging it after graduating college. We have no idea what we’re doing or what’s going on half the time. We have half of our friends getting married and the other half still going to frat parties. While at the same time, we only have $12.56 in our bank accounts.

Turning 22 is the weirdest age to me. We all hyped up the growing up and being on our own part, but once we get there, we’re thinking to ourselves, “I’m screwed.” It’s only been one day, and I’m feeling it on a high level.

I’ll most likely forget the thought of being irrelevant in a couple of days or so, but I think this is going to be a dull year compared to my 21st. Looking ahead to an open door of paying bills and working a routine job alone isn’t the same as looking into an open door of recklessness and freedom. It’s only one year of irrelevance though: it’s less than 365 days until I turn 23.

Wait a minute — what’s so exciting about turning 23?

Shelbie Goulding is a columnist. Contact her at [email protected]