After celebrating my 22nd birthday, I reflect on what being 22 really means.
Yesterday I turned 22 and Taylor was right, it’s miserable and magical. After 2.2 decades on this earth I have learnt many life lessons: wine before beer is a bad idea, pesto pasta never gets old, and always remember your carrier bags. Along with these important life lessons a few things have been playing on my mind about turning 22. At 17 you can drive, 18 you can legally drink, and at 21 you’re 21 woohoo! Whereas Taylor Swift is the only reason why 22 has become any kind of significant age.
I desperately Googled 22-year-old celebrities hoping to see images of them drunk and tired to make myself feel better for falling under those descriptions far too regularly. Unfortunately, this was not the case. By 22, Camila Cabello had dirty danced with Shawn Mendes until he became her boyfriend, Zendaya earned the title of Zac Efron’s favourite ever on-screen kiss, Simone Biles became the most decorated gymnast in world championship history, and Kylie Jenner had built a make-up empire and become the world’s youngest self-made billionaire. As I enter my 22nd year of life, I have just about mastered how to perfectly boil an egg and can almost wrap oddly shaped Christmas presents and do that thing with the scissors to make the ribbon go curly.
As I am now a 22-year-old in my final year of uni, I am bitter towards anyone just starting their university journey when I am about to finish mine. I already feel like a grandma, choosing to stay in and miss The Lash in order to catch up on some reading. I can no longer function on a hangover when I used to sink VK after VK and feel fine. Now I have one and wake up with the shakes.
At 22 I will (hopefully) graduate, but my life beyond the bubble of university is quite uncertain. Being 22 is understanding that while I have learnt an immeasurable amount of life lessons, I actually don’t know anything at all. I have no job prospects; I might die alone; I am always a little bit stressed about financial issues, confidence issues and what-series-to-watch-on-Netflix issues. I look forward to family asking me when I’m going to find a job and move out. Maybe at 22 I’ll learn how to change the oil in my car. Maybe I’ll start to iron my clothes with an actual iron and not my hair straighteners. Maybe I’ll start liking adult foods like olives and fennel. Who knows what the future will bring? As for right now I feel very lucky that on my 22nd birthday I was surrounded by my best friends who took time out of their busy lives to come and celebrate with me. I feel loved by my family and friends all year, but on birthdays there are presents, cake, and alcohol. So, here’s to a whole year of feeling 22…