Tag Archives: growing up

At 21

At 21, I wonder if I’m supposed to start thinking about advanced skincare. When do I start using wrinkle cream? Should I be concerned about taking vitamins? Are free-radicals ruining my later years of Facetime with the grandkids on our iPhone 7S 17G smartphones?

At 21, the fashion world and I are at a standstill. I want to still buy young clothes, but I’m supposed to be looking at professional attire as well, for the career that I am waiting to come true completely.  Where is the middle ground between my usual uniform of denim cutoffs, leopard print, and 1970s jewelry versus nice heels-and-blouse-and-skirt-that-have-actually-been-ironed-with-a-real-iron-and-not-just-a-hair-straightener for the working world? Am I too old for some trends? Do I shop at Forever21 or Chicos?

At 21, half of everyone I know tells me that I’m such a baby age-wise and I have so much time to figure my life out and the other half sees me as an old mature graduate and reminds me that their generation has access to technology and resources even faster than I did. This causes confusion and lots of nervous laughter.

At 21, I am finally beginning to accept myself and all my quirks. I’ve gone through the rough awkward years of middle school and the dazed years of high school and even the happy 24/7 years of college, and I think I know a few of my personal strengths by now. My waist size and body type don’t stress me out as much as they used to, I know, for the most part, what looks good on me, and I’ve embraced my big hair wholeheartedly. I don’t have a lisp anymore, I don’t rely on music as my only conversation topic anymore, and I can take a compliment and just say “Thank You” without freaking out about it or over-thinking. When I look in the mirror, I can actually calmly smile at my reflection.

At 21, I know how to do some important life-skill things. I know how to jump start a car battery, how to make at least 10 different edible dishes (most of them breakfast, but let’s be honest, breakfast is the best), how to actually use the internet to find answers to questions and not just funny cat pictures, how to write a cover letter, how to blow dry my hair and have it come out somewhat decent, how to make coffee, how to put together an outfit, how to be on time, and how to pack a suitcase.

At 21, I still need to work on being specific with my calendar and schedule, having a conversation that’s not completely all about my fears of being a post grad in this economy, changing a flat tire, painting my nails without smearing the polish everywhere, answering questions in a job interview without wanting every answer I give to be funny, locating things on a map and not just relying on a GPS to do it for me, and how to do something productive with my Saturdays instead of the usual routine of pretending my floor is lava and my bed is the only safe place that I won’t get burned.

At 21, I should have more sense. I should probably stand up straighter, tell the whole truth when I am asked, stop texting boys that are careless with my heart and don’t even appreciate my finely-worded puns, read more books, stop waiting so long to get my hair cut, trust Jesus more, wear sensible shoes, and floss every other day.

At 21, I listen to Jack White’s song “Freedom At 21” and pretend it is all about me and feel 300% cooler and more rockstar because of it. Judge me.

At 21, I actually carry a big-girl purse every day with a planner and Advil and chapstick and bobby pins in it. I am learning to be prepared. I wear a watch that’s not digital and I try and keep the dirt out from under my fingernails and my polish unchipped.

At 21, I need to be told that I’m doing okay. I need to be told that life isn’t a race towards success. I need approval from my peers, and it hurts sometimes when I don’t get it. I need to be needed but I have a tendency to flake out on plans. I need direction but I also need to feel like I’m making my own life decisions. I need a hug, and I need you to give one to me even if I don’t ask for it. I need to sleep more. I need to eat more vegetables. I need those really cute boots I saw in the magazine, but I am going to tell myself that I don’t need them…at least until they go on sale.

At 21, I am frustrated when people get down on my generation for being so connected to our phones, too apathetic, not interested in politics, careless, needy, spoiled, obnoxious, MTV-driven, lazy, obsessed with the Kardashians, and entitled, even if sometimes I know that it is absolutely true, and that I am all of those things at times.

At 21, I am adjusting to, well, my life. That is, at least until 22 comes along, then all of this falls to pieces again.

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It Always Ends Up Being About The Beatles And Jesus

One of my favorite parts of the movie Juno (and yes, it has grown on me and I own the cutesy soundtrack, call me a hipster and be done with it) is when Juno’s talking to her dad and he’s reprimanding her about her pregnancy (oh yeah, sorry, spoiler alert, Juno’s pregnant) and he says, ” I thought you were the kind of girl who knew when to say when. ” Juno pauses for a moment and says, “I don’t really know what kind of girl I am.”

(You can skip to the 1:39 mark if you want to hear the original integrity of said line-)

Anyway, I don’t relate to this line because I am also with child (I’m not! Promise this is not a baby announcement!), but there’s something in the simplicity of that honest sentence that I do relate to.

I know it sounds like a MySpace-era-rant, so forgive me, but I don’t really know what kind of girl I am at this point either.

My interests and time spent is so vast – one minute I’m insisting that I need to watch every single movie on the IMDB Top 250 List (and, for better or worse, I’ve seen quite a lot of them already) and the next I want to sell everything I own and go overseas, pull an Oprah, and open a school in South Africa for orphans and under-privileged youth. My day-to-day life is frustrating, feeling like I matter is frustrating, simply deciding what to do on Friday nights is frustrating.

I struggle to find my voice in writing. I want to translate all these thoughts in my head to something I can put down on paper or something I can type up, but I struggle to wrangle it all together in one category. Half of me loves to craft jokes and puns and dialogue and wishes and hopes to turn that into writing screenplays in the entertainment realm. Half of me loves to write songs and wants to put down feeling and emotion into lyrics and melodies to share with the world. The other half of me wants to write on serious topics and address hurts of the soul with the love and hope I’ve found in Jesus Christ.

(And yes, I realize I used three halves in that last paragraph, but hey, math was never my thing.)

I struggle to know what I want to do career-wise. Applying for jobs is confusing, putting my whole life on one sheet of paper to give to employers baffles me, and in interviews my voice sometimes gets shaky. I just want to do something I can be passionate about, something I can reach others with, even if it’s in the smallest way, and my head spins – either thinking I can do everything, or worse, thinking I can do nothing.

As much as I want to be a stereotype sometimes, I’m not. I’d love to define myself by one or two words, but I shuffle between all of them – struggling musician, sarcastic cold-hearted cynic, girly-girl, i’m-over-it twenty-something, childlike wonder, southerner, music-nut, vagabond, girl-who-takes-everything-too-seriously, girl-who-takes-NOTHING-seriously, party animal, homebody, gossipy teenager, fangirl, foodie, dreamer, hypocritical-christian, happy-go-lucky, sensitive sally, drama donna, negative nancy and about 25 more. In fact, as I was writing this, I sneezed, which caused me to knock over a cup of coffee that proceeded to spill all over my phone, which in turn, made me hit the phone and start my loud Beyoncé ringtone, so you know, I’ve even got the hopelessly-clumsy-romantic-comedy-heroine angle working for me right now. (Ps, don’t even think about stealing that move, Katherine Heigl.)

So, in this great transition of my life, I think about myself a lot, which is actually a pretty lame thing. I worry about not developing into someone successful or not being able to give a witty answer all the time. I worry about being liked, about being defined and it’s all so stupid.

Why do I get caught up in all this? Why do I worry so much?

I’ll admit that I don’t know what kind of girl I am, but I do know that I am loved.

I am loved, and since I am loved, nothing else matters. I am loved by a family that has raised me with care and humor and honesty. I am loved by friends that have made me better, that have celebrated the person I am. Most of all, I am loved by a God who doesn’t let go of me, doesn’t change his affection based on my mistakes, doesn’t desire for me to be anything else but in a relationship with him.

And didn’t the Beatles say it best? All you need is love.

I mean, really, you can call this cheesy, you can tell me that their sentiment is just an empty Hallmark-card-saying, but, all you need is love. Really, that’s all you need. You don’t need to define yourself with anything else. If you know that you are loved, if you can cement that in your mind and lean on that love, you can do anything. It doesn’t matter if sometimes you struggle to find yourself, struggle to find truth, struggle to find what you really want in this life – if you are truly loved, those struggles aren’t the end.

I don’t know if John Lennon and Paul McCartney had Jesus in mind when they wrote it and I certainly don’t think they had a big-haired big-mouthed blog-writing girl in mind when they wrote it- but – call me a hippie, call me idealistic, call me the one that too often makes song lyrics a mantra about Jesus, but, all you need is love. Love is all you need.

After all, “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.”

And really, (WARNING: embarassingly-bad pun ahead) what’s not to love about that?