Last week I turned 23. The obligatory fireworks and bonfires of Guy Fawkes Night ushered in myÂ 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 itâ€™s pros and itâ€™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 â€œbangâ€. Never have I felt this in such a melancholic way as on my twenty-third yearâ€¦ twenty-three seems like a pretty dodgy age, as Blink-182 will tell you â€œnobody likes you when youâ€™re twenty-threeâ€.
23 is the age many people leave uni and are suddenly expected to break into the â€œreal worldâ€. Itâ€™s statistically the age that most people meet their life-partners.Â Youâ€™re not quite in your more grown-up â€œmid-twentiesâ€ yet not quite in the happy go lucky â€œearly twentiesâ€ anymore either. Basically, thereâ€™s a whole lot of pressure suddenly coming down on you and I envy anyone who doesnâ€™t struggle with this feeling of expectation.
The big problem with 23 is that youâ€™re not a grown-up yet but not quite a teen or â€œyoung adultâ€ anymore. I personally think the official cut-off for calling yourself a young adult is 25, so youâ€™re getting close but not quite there yet. Youâ€™re in a sort of â€œlate-adolescent-limboâ€, balancing your love of mid 2000â€™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 oldâ€¦ Iâ€™ve loved my favourite bands for over 10 years now and have a playlist entitled â€œTeenage Nostalgiaâ€ 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 Iâ€™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 youâ€™ve endured and passed through this awkward year and are reading this then firstly, congrats! Secondly, tell me your secrets â€“ how did you manage it?! Because Iâ€™m truly stumped on how Iâ€™m really supposed to feel at 23â€¦
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? Iâ€™m torn between teenage rebellion and adult priorities. All I know now is that 23 will certainly be a year of exploration, realization, and thereâ€™s a lot of growing up to be done. Despite my apparent melancholy Iâ€™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.