February 27 is my birthday. Which means, depending on when you read this, I will soon, or may already, be 23.
Some of you are probably thinking, “That girl is an infant! Someone warm up her bottle!” Or perhaps, “Yeesh, she’s so old. Someone get her a glass of prune juice.”
My own reaction to this new number can be found at either extreme, or sometimes off by itself in some unknown land.
Age is technically just a number. Nothing magical actually takes place on birthdays. I’ll likely feel no different tomorrow at this time than I do today. However, for the past few weeks, I’ve been lamenting that I will no longer be able to sing along to Taylor Swift’s song “22.” As a 23-year-old, I can’t still be singing a song about being 22. Those are things that are no longer mine to claim.
Say what you will about Taylor, but these few lines are a fairly fitting description of my year of being 22:
Yeah, we’re happy, free, confused and lonely at the same time
It’s miserable and magical, oh yeah…
I don’t know about you, but I’m feeling 22
I think Taylor got it wrong though.
As I type this, I’m still 22, so I can’t say for absolute certain; but I’m pretty sure those feelings aren’t going to go away the moment I turn 23. Or even after a week of being 23, or 5 months, a week, and 3 days of being 23–I’m pretty sure there will still be times when I feel happy, free, confused, lonely, miserable, and magical.
Not just when I’m 23, but for the rest of my life.
Because even though a number says I’m older, the number doesn’t make me any wiser. It doesn’t give me an extra dose of life experience to help me understand things, it doesn’t tell me exactly what to do for the rest of my life, it doesn’t make my relationship with God perfect, it doesn’t grant me a boyfriend and a new car.
It’s a number.
Though I might wish it did, it doesn’t change anything significant in my life. The parts of life I’m pleased with and the ones I’m not–they all remain. A number changes, but a lot of things stay the same.
Being “happy, free, confused and lonely at the same time, It’s miserable and magical” isn’t locked up in being 22.
Which means maybe I can keep singing along after all.
Til next time…
p.s. How do you feel about birthdays?