Two Decades Too Soon

It’s only another decade, no big deal

Kyra Price

More stories from Kyra Price

Across the Pond
May 9, 2024

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For me though, this midnight is different. It represents the end of my teenage years.

As I sit here writing this, the clock is ticking ever closer to midnight.

This may not seem like a big deal, or really any kind of deal at all. Midnight happens every day. It’s nothing to be afraid of.

For me though, this midnight is different. It represents the end of my teenage years.

I’ve always been a little over-the-top about birthdays. Deep down, I know it’s nothing but another day and I won’t remember most of it a year, or honestly, even a week later. 

Yet, there’s a part of me that needs everything to go perfectly. I think this mindset is the reason so many kids end up crying on their birthdays.

I know this isn’t an uncommon occurrence. People put so much pressure on their birthday, feeling like it’s representative of the entire next year of their life when all it really is is another day.

The importance of birthdays changes as the years go on. A baby is celebrated at every month mark until about a year, and then every year of childhood is a huge milestone.

10 is a big one, because of double digits, then 13 is a huge deal because it’s the start of the teenage years. 18 is important because it’s the beginning of legal adulthood.

And then there’s 20. Twenty really has little to no importance. You’re already an adult but you can’t drink legally yet.

As a kid, I always thought of 20 as the age of a real adult, when a person finally has it all together. 18 makes someone an adult legally, sure, but they’re still a teenager. 

A 20-year-old isn’t just 20 though, they’re “in their 20s.” The twenties are when people graduate college, get married and have kids.

I don’t know how to be in my 20s. My frontal lobe won’t even be fully developed for another five years. How am I supposed to be expected to work a 9-to-5 job and get my own health insurance without a fully developed frontal lobe?

Another thing that changes when you turn 20 is gifts. Friends don’t really expect gifts from one another anymore, now that everyone is trying to balance the costs of school, living, food and entertainment, and gifts are no longer an expense covered by Mom.

I also noticed I’ve started asking my parents for practical gifts instead of fun ones. I asked for a new winter coat and socks this year. Childhood me would have a full meltdown if anyone even mentioned socks for her birthday.

There are still milestone birthdays as an adult: 18, 21 and every multiple of 10, but even so, they lose importance as they go.

The excitement we felt in our childhood, being the center of attention for a day, loses its charm as we age.

The only reason I realized I was officially 20 is because my roommate shouted “Happy birthday,” to me from her room as soon as it hit midnight.

I spent my transition into 20 attempting to write this article. My 20th year of life started halfway into paragraph four.

To celebrate the start of my 20th year, I’m going to submit this article, fold my laundry and get a good night’s sleep, and I’m content with that.


Price can be reached at [email protected].