Have you ever wondered whether you’d be too old to do things you were doing in your teens once you turn 20? Truth is, I have. I would even consider stopping to adopt the same mannerisms when I come of age, like switching from my typical jeans-tee-Converse attire to a femme fatale look, wearing semi formal and floral dresses, high heels, and flats. I wasn’t even surprised seeing how people could get married and have kids at 23-24, and assumed that such feeling should remain the same as I reach that age. I kept telling myself that I should keep my room clean at all times, should no longer argue with my parents whenever there’s a disagreement, should focus more on mundane tasks rather than what I like doing, should consider socializing with adults who are not just your age but also the ones in late adulthood, should cope more with adults in family gatherings, and should consider going for a serious leading-to-marriage types of love relationships. All these things are dictated upon me by my teenage self, telling myself that I’d be too old having the similar teenage mindset once I’m 20. And yes, crushes and casual dating should be over by then, my teenage self once told me.
But nothing has changed when I turned 20. I’m still a sixteen year old trapped in a young woman’s body, whose mindset are more similar to a teen’s rather than to an adult’s. I still pick crushes and casual dates over those serious committed relationships, I still choose to stay out all night in clubs with friends, 80-90% of my current interests (arts, music, anime/manga, gothic culture, dark fantasy/horror/adventure, rock/metal..) come from childhood and teens, I still wear the same outfit as I was wearing at 16-19 years old, I still dedicate my time to doing what I want than what I must, and I still consider spending money on pointed studs, skull necklaces and earrings, metal-based jewelry, rather than pearl and diamond jewelry that most women are already wearing. And yes, I still look up to ragged looking men than those men in suits (though the latter aren’t bad). You will still find me sleeping with my dearest childhood plushies, dwelling too much on my emotions, and having online social media accounts that look teenager-ish. I’m still surprised seeing how my friends can get married and have families at 18-24, though it should no longer be an issue at my age. Can it be that..I’m not matured enough for my age? Or am I just way too scared to take a step ahead?
But then I learned that I’m not the only one. Joining several adult hobby courses and workshops, I’ve realized that many adults, particularly 20-somethings, are still exploring themselves as much as I do. I’ve met this online friend my age, who share similar interests and views. I’ve met a bunch who are in their mid/late 20’s and are still studying, or adults who are still finding time to learn new things, explore their passions in life, despite their hectic work and family life. I still see a bunch of 20 (sometimes 30-40) somethings who consider having piercings and tattoos, sporting ragged attires, playing video games, attending music festivals and sports games, and watching a bunch of cartoons and anime. I then realize that we are never too old to stand up for who we are and what we love. I begin to be satisfied with my now 24 year old self, not minding what my teenage self has dictated upon my future 20 year old self. And besides, I’ve realized that my teenage dreams are coming true in my 20’s. Performing onstage, being in a band, still having time for my interests, making more friends, hanging out more in bars and clubs, etc..
All in all, I’ve learned that being in your 20’s is a crucial stage. We are young enough to relive our teenage (even childhood) dreams, while being old enough to assume more responsibilities and exploring our identities as adults. I’ve realized that I still have a life ahead of me, and I should not mind what the society pressures me to do at a certain age. Life doesn’t definitely end at 20. It is just a beginning of one’s new life.