Not Exactly Feeling 22
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Not Exactly Feeling 22

An early twenties identity crisis.

Not Exactly Feeling 22

As I sit here on my 70s, puke-green couch Goodwill handed over to me for a mere $50, I’m simultaneously writing this article while waiting on Taylor Swift’s “22” to load in 144p. Because our Wi-Fi can’t afford to do much more, I grumble sounds my dad often makes when watching nature shows. Jesus, I feel old.

I just turned 22 yesterday and was bombarded, in the best way possible, with birthday wishes. A plethora of texts, calls, and Facebook posts came soaring my way. There was one text from a good friend of mine that emphatically pierced my balloon of happiness, sending it flying away before I could kiss it goodbye:

Hey, Shitty Bill. Happy Birthday! Welcome to the 22 club. Next big one is 25. We will then be able to rent cars at a reasonable rate. Then 50. Then 100. Then death. Poetic.

Talk about a buzzkill.

21 is a milestone for people who love beer, which I do. Unfortunately, 22 just means you’re one year closer to dying. It’s just a number.

However, being 22 means I should have most of my shit together, or so I’m told. I’ve applied to seven, albeit moderately unattainable, jobs last week and was already rejected twice. I’ve learned to deal with it, though, given my record of short story and poetry rejections (to be a writer, you need an extra few layers of skin). My parents recommended searching for lower-end jobs, saying, “it’s just for the moment” and “it won’t be your job forever.” But I just graduated from college. Why should I settle?

Uh, because you got an English degree from a virtually unknown university and you’re not even good at it.

But, I…okay. Well, at least I’m trying, right? It’s not like I’m just lounging around my apartment all day, drinking several pots of coffee. Well, okay, I am, but I do other things.

Like what?

I, you know, write down things I need to do and I do them, mostly. Or at least attempt to. Look, the point is, if I was offered a job, I would do it. For now, I’m shooting for positions involving my major so I don’t feel like I wasted four years of my time to work at a bakery. If it comes down to it, I’ll serve you, fellow English major, a cream cheese rye bagel on your way to manage a McDonald’s.

22 is young, I’d say. Anyone in their 20s is young. 30s, even 40s. But let’s not put a number on things. My dad is 68 and just as agile as most of my friends. He takes care of his body, being forever conscious of diet fads and exercise videos. He’s more active than I am. My fingers dance to the sound of typing and my arm extends for the coffee mug. That’s it. I’m a chub without the chub.

My back aches because I constantly slouch, especially when I’m aware that I shouldn’t. I’ve always had terrible posture and my desk job that involved reviewing cold child support case files certainly sealed my poor spine’s fate. Along with that, my knees are weak, arms are heavy, and mom’s spaghetti surely isn’t helping with that. We’re Italian, okay? We eat a lot of pasta.

I prefer my coffee black and I’m starting to dig the blues. Back catalogue stuff. Simon & Garfunkel (mostly Simon) are gods and I’m getting into Kris Kristofferson in a poetic way. I’m cynical and jealous of my peers for their success and intelligence to pursue careers that pay bills. I hate most everyone I encounter. I’ll drink a beer or two before bed, but not much more; it affects the medication I’m on and would destroy my liver. I enjoy documentaries. I get up several times to pee, but I never feel satisfied after. I fall asleep during movies. I appreciate art, so I limited myself to three posters for this apartment. I gripe, grunt, and talk to myself about what I’m preparing for dinner, and I didn’t watch Taylor Swift’s “22” music video until today.

Do you get what I’m saying, here? You don’t have to be old to feel old. I’m 22 and I feel fucking old. It’s ridiculous. I didn’t sign up for any of this. It feels like yesterday; I was sitting too close to the analog TV playing Mario on Super Nintendo, drinking a coke and eating some Dino nuggets on a Styrofoam plate. Almost every evening, mom would call me downstairs because a buddy was at our door, timidly asking if I wanted to go on a bike ride to the park. We would play until we’d hear the dinner bell, meaning it was time to go home. School, play, sleep, repeat.

Then, as if going through a depressing, time-traveling machine, that world disintegrated into the dreary existence I’m living in now. The older I get, the less I keep in contact with friends. It’s not because I want to drift apart from them, it just seems like a fact of life. Unfortunately, it’s going to happen eventually, and that, frankly, sucks.

God, I honestly didn’t think this would be so hard to write. Many mixed emotions surfaced and I eventually cried. I loved my childhood, and with each passing year, those memories grow farther and farther away from the present. Life is so fragile, guys. As trite as that is, it’s so goddamn true. My third-grade teacher passed away on my birthday this year. She was so sweet, a favorite of mine. And she was not old by any means.

The further and further you go, the less there is left.

This thing I wrote, whatever you may call it, started out semi-humorous and ended on such a cynical, yet real note. I don’t think I’m going to change any of it. It’s shorter, but it serves its purpose. This is how I write. I may not be the most linear or talented or creative writer, but this is what I do, guys. I get older, I complain that things are changing for better or worse, and I write about it.

Thanks for reading and I hope your next birthday, however many years you have under your belt, doesn’t involve such an identity crisis as mine did. Not everyone’s 22 is a Taylor Swift fantasy. Hang in there.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

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