Last week I turned 23. The obligatory fireworks and bonfires of Guy Fawkes Night ushered in my twenty-third year on this planet in a sufficiently melodramatic fashion, as they do every year on November the fifth. Being a bonfire baby has it’s pros and it’s cons. Pro: I get free celebratory fireworks every year. Con: coming into this world with such a bang has left me with a profound need to leave my own mark on this world, make my own “bang”. Never have I felt this in such a melancholic way as on my twenty-third year… twenty-three seems like a pretty dodgy age, as Blink-182 will tell you “nobody likes you when you’re twenty-three”.
23 is the age many people leave uni and are suddenly expected to break into the “real world”. It’s statistically the age that most people meet their life-partners. You’re not quite in your more grown-up “mid-twenties” yet not quite in the happy go lucky “early twenties” anymore either. Basically, there’s a whole lot of pressure suddenly coming down on you and I envy anyone who doesn’t struggle with this feeling of expectation.
The big problem with 23 is that you’re not a grown-up yet but not quite a teen or “young adult” anymore. I personally think the official cut-off for calling yourself a young adult is 25, so you’re getting close but not quite there yet. You’re in a sort of “late-adolescent-limbo”, balancing your love of mid 2000’s punk rock and urge to cover your walls in posters stuck up with blue-tack with your need to succeed, leave a mark on this world, and invest in some poster frames and a hammer. On the matter of music, that is one of the things that consistently makes me feel old… I’ve loved my favourite bands for over 10 years now and have a playlist entitled “Teenage Nostalgia” filled with My Chemical Romance, Sum 41, Green Day, and Billy Talent. I was a teen in a completely different decade than the teens of today and I’m utterly confused by their new slang and strange trends. Go ahead, just call me granny and get it over with!
I realize this all may seem very apathetic and self-pitying, especially to anyone older than myself. If you’ve endured and passed through this awkward year and are reading this then firstly, congrats! Secondly, tell me your secrets – how did you manage it?! Because I’m truly stumped on how I’m really supposed to feel at 23…
Should I still be wanting to go on wild club nights? Or should I be more at peace with a cuppa tea and a good book on the sofa on a Friday night? I’m torn between teenage rebellion and adult priorities. All I know now is that 23 will certainly be a year of exploration, realization, and there’s a lot of growing up to be done. Despite my apparent melancholy I’m more than ready to take this age in my stride and enjoy this year to the fullest.
Success, happiness, and self-acceptance – this is what is important to me at 23.