I'm excitedly babbling away to my family about how gosh-darned determined I am to push my teenage years just that one step further; I don't want to turn twenty, can I please be twenteen instead?
Alas, it appears, no matter how much wishing or bargaining or shameless pleading one does, the whole 'getting older' thing is inevitable. And after a year of a countdown to the day so horrifying it is often likened to that of Doomsday, a day that has always been a highlight and in fact a dear friend to me up until this moment in time, my birthday, the time is finally upon us. Tomorrow, August 1st 2013, dear little Gracie hits the big 2-0.
What's really interesting, though, is as much as I've been dreading this day, now it's come around (or will do in approximately 22.5 hours) I'm very calm. Zen in my oldness. Accepting of my age, and of the expected maturity that comes with it (well, kind of; I can still run around the house in my Supergirl pyjamas making whhoooOOOSSSsssshhhhHHH noises from time to time, right?). I'm ready for my twenties. Or at least, twenty singular.
A lot of friends have turned twenty before me, and so far the reports have all been something along the lines of "it's really not that bad", "it doesn't feel much different tbh", "dude, my twenty-first is gonna be CRAY"...
As one of the youngest in my year, an August baby no less, my birthday always seems to take the longest to come around. Even now, when academic years don't really matter, it still seems further away than Christmas from New Year's. Everyone turned sixteen and could legally *drive a tractor* before me; everyone was driving their mum's car before I could even start learning; I was always hearing scandalous Messy Monday gossip on Tuesday morning when hardly anyone turned up for 9am Sociology because they were all eighteen and had more important things to do with their time (such as: be hungover every day). Turning nineteen was like some giant weight being lifted. It was like the universe telling me "there, honey. Now you're alright." It was suddenly cool and enviable to be the youngest one in a group; now everyone was bitching about their upcoming birthdays, and expressing their insane jealousy at my youth - which, to be fair, was only a few months younger than them, but hey, I enjoyed it. I basked in the happy glowing feeling of being in no hurry to get any older. Finally. The playing field was equal.
Or was it? Because it seemed that suddenly everyone was in their twenties, and I was still a dumb irresponsible teenager who didn't know anything about life. I figured twenty was the age when you started to actually look down on those younger than you; when you lost your patience and tolerance and began referring to everyone who was young as "like, twelve"; when you had no time to explain anything to "kids". Maybe age will always matter. Maybe the playing field will never be equal. Maybe at 6:01pm tomorrow, I'll be hit with the Harsh Reality Stick/Mean Adult Branch, and I'll be just like every other adult. Who's to say?
Obviously I'll endeavour to remain the same idiot teenager forever. Just this week I dyed my hair lilac, and got really drunk, and today I'm getting a couple new piercings, as a final stupid act of teenagery. Well, making up the word 'teenagery' may actually be a stupid act in itself, but...
It's silly to get caught up in a battle with age. Because we'll lose. It's inevitable, it's unavoidable, and it's ever so slightly wonderful. We have no idea what the future will hold. At twenty, I'll be completing my final year of university. I'll be deciding what to do with myself when I leave this city, if I leave it at all. I'll be choosing a career - that is, a next step in the career that I chose when I was six. Exciting times lie ahead. Do your worst, twenty.