Why Turning 20 is Terrifying

Why Turning 20 is Terrifying

All of the scary big things that happen when you hit the big 2-0


Turning 19: boring and awkward. Turning 20: a whole different game

I sat anxiously on the couch with my mom discussing the various things I had to do before I began my sophomore year. Midway through the absurdly long and stressful list my mom casually commented, “Soph, can you believe you are turning twenty soon?!” 

I paused. No way was that an accurate statement. I’m five feet tall and still watch the Disney channel. I am simply not “old” enough to be turning 20. Yet just a few days from today will mark the 20-year anniversary of my exit from the womb. 

My mind raced as I contemplated why the idea of leaving my teens behind was making me so nervous. If I follow in my mom’s footsteps - which I have generally done so far - my 20s will mean graduating college and graduate school, getting married and having my first child. I am currently very single and have only taken intro classes (Holler at Psych 111). At this point in my life, all of these major life events feel like light years away.

While freaking out about my lack of prospective husbands, I started to think about all the other scary things your 20s bring. Not only do your 20 encompass major life events, additionally society expects 20-somethings, to be, like…. actual real people.

In your 20s you are expected to, at some point, get a non-babysitting job (RIP the days of putting kids to bed and then watching TV). You buy groceries, you do your taxes, and you go to the doctor/dentist… by yourself. Parental allowance is still questionably fair game, but it’s surely on its last leg. With money on my mind, I wonder, is it still acceptable to ask your mom to buy your monthly yoga pass when you are 20? Or beg your dad to pay for your spring break trip?    

If you ever went to camp, or are really into folk, you have heard the song “Circle Game” by Joni Mitchell. To summarize, the song is divided into important times in a persons life, starting with what we can assume is around five or six, then 10, then 16, and the last age in the song is - you guessed it - 20.

Until 20, the verses are cheerful and reassuring. However, the final line is unsettling: “So the years spin by and now the boy is 20. Though his dreams have lost some grandeur coming true, there’ll be new dreams, maybe better dreams and plenty before the last revolving year is through.”  

Or in other words, “Once you hit 20, you are on the final stretch of your life. Your childhood dreams won't come true, you might have some new mediocre ones, we’ll see, probably not though, but you should have a few before you croak.”    

Obviously that interpretation was dramatic and I am looking forward to my upcoming adventures as a young adult, but the fact that Joni grouped 20 and above as one category has made me reflect extensively on reaching this age.

I can’t be sure what my 20s will bring me - unfortunately there is no exciting mantra attached to this decade such as “30, flirty and thriving.” Maybe all the things that happened to my mother in her twenties will happen to me, and maybe not...that's what freezing your eggs is for right?  

So here’s to our 20s, as terrifying as they may be - may they truly bring us even better dreams!

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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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