Saturday, August 14, 2010

Real Life

In just over a month, I will be twenty years old. Up until this point, I always identified more with kids a couple of years older than I was, since I grew up with older siblings. When I was twelve, I felt fourteen, and when I was sixteen, I felt eighteen, and now that I'm (almost) twenty, I just feel... completely terrified. Unworthy and unready for this title of Twenty. I was driving around with my best friend several months ago, musing about life, when Jess asked, "When did everything get so real?" And that's exactly what it's like. Our teenage years are so superficial-- the basis for so many larger-than-life movies full of Cliques and Drama-- that I spent the entire decade feeling like I was just "playing life." But I'm about to be twenty. As in "She's in her twenties." As in real life.

I don't know. It's like, for my whole life up until this point, I'd dream about getting some unusual and interesting engagement ring, and having a wedding with a chocolate fountain, and living in some city apartment with mismatched garage sale silverware, and being the cute pregnant lady at the grocery store, and giving my army of perfect children all sorts of ridiculous literary names, and wearing high heels to the job where everyone obviously adores me, and then sort of, like, dying with a million grandchildren around. That's how it goes, right? Hmm?

But God. Lately, I feel like I've just been shaken awake too early from an afternoon nap. Apparently, marriage is so hard that barely half of those who attempt it succeed. And apparently it's really, really unlikely that you'll make a living off being occasionally clever. And apparently you're going to screw up your kids no matter how hard you try, and they'll never be exactly what you want them to, and apparently a whole lot of people lie and steal and have affairs and apparently your body doesn't stay hot forever. So maybe you get a chocolate fountain at your wedding, but you also get fifty years of stretch marks and bankruptcy and sadness.

Is that really how it is? You work through high school to get to college, you work through college to get a job, and then. What? Is Real Life exactly like being a teenager, but trading uncertainty for disappointment? I don't want to dread the majority of my time on earth. Maybe I just don't get it. But for now, I'm really scared.

Wow. That was uplifting. Older readers, I'd appreciate your input on this one, if you don't mind. Am I looking at it wrong? Am I not mature enough to get it yet? Is it okay?

Today, I saw: my good friends, Tom and Maria, who directed my high school musicals. Tom's in this really cute Beatles tribute band (he's George), and they were performing downtown tonight for an audience of mostly families and older, drunker people embarrassing themselves. I sat in a crowd of retirees and their blue-haired babes, twisting and shouting as much as their oxygen tanks would allow.
Today, I heard: cute men in wigs pretending to be British.
Today, I touched: my mom's back, as if to say, "Okay, Mother. You can stop dancing in public now."
Today, I smelled: that ambient festival aroma of garbage and beer cans.
Today, I tasted: these beautiful fruit kebabs that my sisters made for a family picnic.

Chipotle burritos this year: 23
Subscribers: 32,788
Nail color: "Through the Grapevine," Wet 'n' Wild


to_thine_own_self said...

I understand this feeling completely! I've been feeling the exact same way lately. It's like...what's the point? But not really...Like that's not really know?
That doesn't even make sense, but whatever.
And it's driving me crazy to the point of me being afraid to even start my I feel like I have to be ready in order to move forward, but if I wait too long I'll never get anywhere, because it's like time is going way faster than it used to.
It's all so weird...this growing up business. Ugh.

Morgan said...

Well that's why you have to stop looking forward to things and just make right now happy. Whether you're twenty or sixty or twelve.
And try your best.

Those things make life less scary. Trying your best and making right now happy. Right?

Alice said...

Saw: my new neighbor, a girl, 12 years old, avoiding eating dinner, and not because she wasn't hungry
Heard: 4 straight hours of top 40 music
Touched: freshly cut hair, that took 4 hours to be cut
Tasted: cool tea
Smelled: lavender mint shampoo

Shelby said...

my 20th birthday is on monday, so this is like the epitome of the thoughts i have been having as my birthday approaches. i have always thought i would go through life, making decisions about my future at the appropriate times, with complete confidence. instead, life moves forward without you. so now, im wasting away at community college, rather than attending a university while pursuing a career path like i expected to be.

La Causerie said...

I'm nearly 22 and although I understand how you feel, from the time I was 16 to now my life has changed in a million almost imperceptible ways that made it the completely different thing that it is now. So it was a graceful glide with very few jolting, age related differences(for example, I turned 21 while I was living for a year in France where the legal drinking age is 18). I still feel that things are on the brink of being way too serious for my little self to handle. But I look at my twenties with a very open mind. Marriage doesn't seem that close and until then I'm going to fill my life with as many adventures as possible. But as someone going into a business that relies on creativity, let me just say, it really pays to invest in a marketable skill that will always be in case you should want to halt the adventures for a while and make a family or something....and have something that will support your creative endeavors.

Katie H said...

I understand completely because all of my teenage years I was just wishing to get through it and get to adulthood. But then it's like, now what? Was it really so bad then?

Anonymous said...

god the future scares me... you kinda put all of the thoughts i have had pushed waaaay into the back of my mind and force myself not to think about right here in front of my face

KimbraSaysRawr said...

I felt the /exact/ same way as you did when I was nineteen turning twenty. I was really bummed out before my birthday, and cried on my actual 20th birthday. I tried to have a good time, but I was still really, really sad to see that part of my life go.

Now, I'm 21, dealing with responsibility, single, and having a blast being a young adult. The future scares me sometimes, but I always remind myself that I will be okay no matter what happens. I'm honestly more comfortable now being who I am than I was in my teens, and grateful that I've gotten to experience so much.

What you need to keep in mind is that it doesn't change all that much. You're still allowed to be the same person that you are; the only thing that changes is the responsibilities that you're expected to handle. I mean, sure, you WILL grow up, but it isn't too terribly bad.

When it comes to things such as marriage, kids, possible divorce... Don't worry about it. Just take each day at a time and live each day to it's fullest. Be the best possible version of yourself you can be (as you are doing), and everything should be fine. Things will work themselves out.

Caitlin said...

Hayley, I hear ya.
I could write this post day after day.
I'm 26, and I still feel 19. Except that now I get to deal with my friends getting married, getting pregnant, having miscarriages, wondering when that will be me...Heck, I still live with my parents! (Although that will be fixed in a matter of weeks)
I think the point after college is to make a difference and to live.
When I say make a difference, I don't mean cure cancer and stop genocide...but I mean, make someone smile, or help people out in some little way. Could be anything to improve their lives. And I think you just need to experience things. Like get out there, travel, understand other people and cultures and feelings.
Cause really if you don't do those things...then what IS the point?
You'll be fine. just don't think so hard about it. go with it. it's life.

Michael said...

I totally had a mini-breakdown around when I turned 20. I mean it really is weirdly significant step to drop the -teen, when some one asks your age. It makes you think about becoming an actual adult and all that entails, which is depressing. I'm not going to claim any great wisdom as a 21 year old, but I actually got over it pretty quickly. Nothing changed. Life went on and I just rolled with it, because the future is the future and there's no sense in worrying too much about what it might bring :)

Ok, there was one consequence. During that period I stopped referring to myself as Mike and choose to call myself Michael instead.

Paloma said...

I am no expert, Hayley, because I'm only 15. But what I've seen- my mom and my dad loving each other, as I know millions of other couples do as they did when they got married. My brother and I turning out pretty well. My mom's love for reading, and will to teach us, had a great influence on who we are right now.

I've learned recently that thinking about this over and over again is no good for me- usually it only manages to get me depressed and such.

So cheer up! I know you'll be perfectly fine. You of all people- I know you'll make a great mother. And wife. Because you already are a great person.


tranquilily said...

I'm turning 20 in a few months as well, and I definitely get everything you said in this post. I remember being a kid and thinking 16 sounded so mature, and then in high school, turning 16 and thinking it sounded so old but still feeling like a kid, thinking maybe I would feel older when I was 18, or 20. But I still feel like a kid, dependent on my parents to pay for me to live, and feeling like I still don't anything about anything. Yet here I am, moving into a house, living on my own, trying to be brave when I encounter new experiences. And I look back and think how young 16 is now, how much I have grown since then but didn't realize it. It's like we forget that the world grows with us. It's so weird, and I don't think we will ever learn it because we all only live once!

Today I saw: The third movie set in Italy I have seen in a week-- it's like a sign or something
heard: my grandma's voice over the phone
smelled: the chiropractor's office
tasted: fried perch
touched: the softness of my cat's fur

Tessa said...

On my 20th birthday, my parents drove up to my college and brought me a birthday cake. I kept smiling really big and hugging them, the whole time thinking "this is quite possibly the worst day of my life, I hope I don't cry while they're still here." How ridiculous and melodramatic. Kind of the perfect way to end my teens, I guess.

I kept trying to count up all the things I had accomplished and could only make a list of things I had never accomplished and probably would never accomplish, considering my life was almost over and it was practically time to retire.

But I just turned 23 and I haven't died/retired yet. I'm still not really sure how to avoid having a horrible life, but I guess you just have to do a whole bunch of things with people you like, and maybe then you won't have enough time to worry about failing.

This comment was supposed to be uplifting. Now I'm just glad I don't turn 30 for seven more years.

Erica said...

Hayley! Calm down. Take a deep breath. It's like you just got happy and already you're worried about being sad again! You are still in college, just going into your sophomore year and you have PLENTY of time to figure it out. Not to mention that if you can be happy, you can be happy no matter how old you are. You already know that life is hard, but you also know that you can deal with it.

Plus, both my parents, who are in their very late 50s are happier now than they've ever been. They divorced when I was three, and that was hard, but now they've both fallen in love and are RIDICULOUSLY happy. Not in the vomit-inducing way, but in the, "I know who I am, and what I'm doing, and I love my family and have a wonderful life, even though things get difficult sometimes." So, that was a run-on sentence. But it's true!

So, don't worry. You will be ready for everything as it comes, even if you're not now.

Christina said...

I felt the same way when I turned 20. I felt like I was so old. I really didn't understand it at the time but now I see that turning 20 is kind of a big milestone. You are saying goodbye to your teenage years that you spend so long being.

Ellen B said...

I understand completely what you're going through. I, straight up, cried my eyes out/myself to sleep the night before my 20th birthday. At that point, I was still living in Tulsa, had utterly no ballet job offers, and was dreading having to make the decision to attend college in the fall. But then I got to college and I loved it and I'm about to enter my senior year. Now, I'm not saying I'm any less scared about the prospect of "real life" fact, I'm a bit more so at the moment as audition season is looming on the horizon, and I REALLY, REALLY, REALLY want a ballet job, but I'm just learning to take things day at a time, step by step. I am still an incredible optimist-I know that I will eventually fall in love, get married, and have an amazing family, and somewhere in there I WILL find time to travel and live my dream. I'm not saying this is all going to happen the way it looks in my head. Life isn't perfect. It's messy and confusing and it hurts. But it's also an amazing adventure. If you could have told me on the eve of my 20th birthday that I would be where I am today, I probably would have laughed in your face. I'm definitely not where I expected I would be at 22 and almost a half, but that's ok. Because that's life. And if we keep fearing the future or wishing for the past, we miss what's happening right now. So, stop worrying. Things will be fine. You will be fine. I promise. You are brilliant and wonderful, and the world has big plans for you, Hayley(ghoover). Chin up!

Anonymous said...

I remember getting very drunk on my 20th birthday (I live in Canada, so it was legal). I don't think it was because I was uncertain about the future, but that's probably not entirely out of the question. Maybe I felt like it was time for one last hurrah before beginning to act like an adult?

Anyway, I'm 25 now, live with my sister, keep bouncing from job to job, still have no writing published, am 2 weeks into a new relationship with someone I've been friends with for 7 years, and could not be happier. I think that, especially as you get older, its important to appreciate the things that keep you getting out of bed each day: good friends, good food, good books. And to keep looking forward to stuff, because I think a lot of "adults" forget to do that. They just stress about everything they HAVE to do that eventually even the things they used to WANT to do feel like chores also.

Someone once said they rejected the notion of "life by default," and I really like that sentiment. So I don't stress that, at 25, I have yet to hold a job for more than a year and a half, get engaged or married, or own my own home. I figure these things will happen when they happen. In the meantime, I'm going to enjoy being in my twenties. So far, it's been a blast.


Anonymous said...

You have your ups and your downs. They come and they go. Some days are extremely good and some are extremely bad with a fair number being annoyingly neutral.

As of December 2008, I was studying for my Master's, engaged to be married, helping her move into a home I was planning on moving into with her after the wedding, I had a decent job with potential, and I was accepted to the PhD program. Today, none of that exists any more. It all disappeared by September 2009. I've been living in a personal hell ever since.

I have incredible friends and hope springs eternal, but disappointments lurk behind every chance at happiness. Some days are good, but many are bad or harbor bad sentiments. I keep trying though. That's all I can do, that's all anyone can do. Keep trying and keep pushing forward no matter the obstacles. The stress mounts, but I keep trying to get a job, to educate myself, to find that oh so elusive happiness.

There's a saying I picked up, oh, about 15 years ago (give or take): Faith manages. Take it how you will, it's helped me to keep trying even in the face of such great loss and emotional trauma. I have to keep faith that everything I've done, everything I do and everything I will ever do will actually get me somewhere that I can be genuinely happy.

Life is full of risks and sometimes those risks can really bite you in the ass. It takes time to recover from such incidents (I'm still recovering over a year later from my joyous clusterfuck). Honestly, don't worry about the eventual losses, prepare for what you can, and remember that faith manages. You'll get through it one day (hopefully) and remember that you might never go through anything remotely similar or bad or worse than what I've gone through. At least, I hope you don't.

Today I saw: My bike for the first time in nearly 15 years.
Today I heard: My friend Monica's genuine lovely laughter.
Today I touched: my computer *laughs*
Today I smelled: pink lemonade... seriously
Today I tasted: deliciously cold, clear and fresh water... mmm nothing quite like it.

notaclareintheworld said...

I'm only 20 now, so it's not as if I have a ton of wonderful wisdomosity of age, but I went through the same thing around my 20th birthday. I remember the first time my mom said "she's almost 20" and for some reason this sentence was the first thing that made me seriously contemplate my mortality. It was like "BAM! I'm gonna die someday!"

I'm getting off track... but the point I'm trying to make is that I was scared too. However, I recently asked my mom about my favorite part in the Jessica Darling books -- I said "I don't feel as old as I thought college kids looked when I was little. Do you ever really feel grown up?" and my mom said no. She said my grammie turned to her the other day and said "I don't FEEL 80." So the way I'm starting to figure it is that you just have to accept that no matter what you won't feel prepared, and the best you can do is to make sure that you don't let that feeling cause you to miss anything.

If that makes any sense at all?

Stefan said...

haha finally I don't feel like such a creepster for being 28.

So many things to address. First off marriage.

50% of marriages DO NOT end in devoice. That might have been true in the 80s but that's over. In fact if you look at the stats for women who get married in their 20s who have a college degree the stats is more like 15 or 20%. The numbers for people who get married if they live together is even lower. The important thing to remember is that you are not a statistic. And if you make a considered choice then you will be set.

I meet my wife in college. we graduated, move in together. got married. honestly when it's right it doesn't really feel very different.

Weddings. don't get the chocolate fountain. it's really expensive and not even that good. Do something different. We did a cocktail hour wedding where it was a buffet and it was the best wedding ever. Do something a little different. people go to so many cookie cutter weddings.

Money is something I have a harder time talking about. Apparently not everyone is good as I am.. just don't get credit card debt.. do you carry a balance now? cause that's not a good sign. As long as you live within your means you should not have money problems. I feel like getting entertainment through the web is a good way to save money.

Jobs are really hard for those that are not sure what they want to do. All my English major friends, of which I have money, have had varying success. Some became librarians, like my wife, which has good and bad parts.

you, like every English major, wants to be a writer. I think the problems with the cool jobs of the world is they take a ton of work to get. You need to work hard at being a writer. You need to write in your spare time all time. after whatever 9to5 job you have. cause it's a long climb to get to what you want to be.

So many people get tired and stop fighting for their dreams. It's hard enough to get myself to make dinner let along program a web site to make me millions. You just have to really want your dreams or it's easy to end up in a crappy safe job.

I think you're a very self motivated person though. I think you can make it happen. I'd love to hear if any of this helped.

Leah said...

Keep in mind that we've had the other half of this conversation too, though-- instead of looking forward to life, and "this is what I want to be when I grow up," we're actually doing and achieving and overcoming. Take it from someone on the other side of twenty: it's not that big a deal. There will still be days where you're astonished you're not being asked to sit at the Kid's Table, and there will be days that you're kind of offended you can't order wine with dinner. There's no magical badge of adulthood they hand you on your birthday. Like every other transition in life, it's never as big, scary or sudden as you think it will be.

As far as marriages and stretch marks and Life Is Scary... hon, it's only as fulfilling as you make it. And you know that. So stop running scared like a little bitch and confront it like the fierce woman you are (have always been, and will always be.)

Stefan said...
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Stefan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
alyson said...

I feel like 20 isn't really different than 19. You're still doing pretty much everything you were when you were 19. Only now, you're one year closer to 21.

Though I do constantly feel like "what am I working towards" as far as the working in high school to get to college and working in college to get a job. But I think we've got some time to figure that out, as long as we're still protected under our parents insurance and not having to find a "real world" job or trying to live off of book advances.

Basically what I'm trying to say is that you don't have much to worry about at 20. You've still got three more years of college. At least wait another year until you start to really worry.

to_thine_own_self said...

Oh, I know I already commented on this, but I just thought I'd add one more thing.
I'm 19 now and just turned it last month, so I've got a little while to go (even though it'll be here before I know it) until I turn 20.
However, my 20th birthday will be extremely bittersweet for even another reason than me leaving my teenage years.
I'll turn 20 on July 15, 2011. That's the day Deathly Hallows Part II comes out...
I may have commented about this before on your blog, but I still can't believe how it worked out.
I've been a fan of Harry Potter for the majority of my life and for all of my teenage years. It's just so...amazing/crazy/sad/cool/weird that the HP series (for the most part) will be ending the exact day that my adolescence will...It's just wow...
Anyway, I thought you'd appreciate that, since you're a HP fan too and (I'm sure) know that deep feeling the series brings us fans...the feeling that you can't quite explain.
So...yea. Lol.

joanna said...

i'm 22, and birthdays always seem to be scary because i'm not sure if i am where i'm 'supposed' to be at this age or if i messed up the 'plan' of how things should go.
but i figure nothing can stop me from turning another year older so why not just choose my own path in life and take everything as it comes.
It's scary to think and imagine myself now as being married, having children etc. in the future, but a friend once reminded me of how there was a time when we couldn't imagine ourselves in high school, when we thought being in university was so old and could never imagine actually graduating! (which is where I am now). but it all happens, and theres no stopping it.

20 is a great age, some of the greatest things in my life happened when i was 20 and i hope it is the same for you m'dear!

Kat said...

Man, I have to say it is pretty reassuring to look through these comments. I guess most people turn out fine?

I don't know, I turned twenty three months ago, but it didn't strike me as a really significant change. I guess I tend to think of my life more in terms of stages (educationally, thus far) rather than years. So my perspective is: I'm still in undergrad, and only entering my third year, so... I don't really have to worry about that post-college stuff yet? Right?

'Cause I'd rather worry about getting to Yogurtland in time to eat delicious yogurt before it closes. And I'm about to do that now, I think.

Anonymous said...

just make sure to remain yourself when you're married with children, it's harder than you'd think.

Olivia said...

I turned twenty last month, and I feel exactly same way at times. I actually kept repeating that I am "in my twenties" to myself; it feels so impossible.

I don't know if this comment is uplifting exactly, but at least you're not the only one looking at your life and feeling uncertain. I'm in the same boat, paddling along with you (is the "boat/paddling" trying too hard? Yeah, I think so.)

TonksftMemories said...

I completely understand, despite being a little younger.

Margo can sum up my feelings better than me though:

"Did you know that for pretty much the entire history of the human species, the average life span was less than thirty years? You could count on ten years or so of real adulthood, right? There was no planning for retirement, There was no planning for a career. There was no planning. No time for plannning. No time for a future. But then the life spans started getting longer, and people started having more and more future. And now life has become the future. Every moment of your life is lived for the future--you go to high school so you can go to college so you can get a good job so you can get a nice house so you can afford to send your kids to college so they can get a good job so they can get a nice house so they can afford to send their kids to college." (Paper Towns)

Anonymous said...

Well I don't think I had the same feelings as you when I went from 19 to 20, but I can say my 20s have been awesome. Really really awesome. If I had to list all the best things about being 23 I'd run out of paper. I'd have to say right now the best thing is having my own apartment.

So I guess what I'm trying to say is the feelings you have now will pass, and even if you don't love your 20s as much as I do, try your best to enjoy them as much as you can. Like all other ages, your 20s only happen once!

Anonymous said...

Hayley! You are definitely, DEFINITELY looking at it wrong. When we first feel scared of something, that fear is usually all we can see. I know it will pass for you, and you will realize this: you're still you, you're always going to be you, and your life will always be just what you let it be.

I am going to be 29 soon, and I keep waiting to feel differently than I did when I was 13 or 16 or 20. I don't. Because those are just numbers, and they have nothing to do with my personality, my goals, my hopes, my fears, or the people I love. You'll be pleasantly surprised at how easy and natural getting older actually is, but you have to let it be so. :) To you and everyone else that is feeling this way: your fears are also natural. But let them go, and things will be much, much easier. Don't let your age define who you are. We're all allowed to live our lives at our own pace. It's the greatest way to do it.

Scott said...

YES. This is exactly what I've been trying to say the entire past year! I turn 20 in November, and I'm positively terrified... I'm not ready to not be a teenager!

April said...

No offense, but I think you may be thinking a little too hard. Not like I'm an expert on life or anything (in fact, far from it; I'm only 23 and have no idea what to do with my life), but as of this moment my philosophy on life is to just not worry about it so much. To love my family (because they're amazing), spend time with my nieces while they're still young and love them with everything that I have, to enjoy still being young and having fun people in my life, to work and earn money (even though my job might not be glamorous or all that enjoyable) so that I can afford to support myself and have the apartment of my own that I've always wanted and everything that goes along with that, etc, etc. I could spend my time feeling sorry for myself because while many of my friends are either engaged or married and I don't even have a boyfriend, but my life is great, and it always has been. And statistically, I'll probably find a guy someday, so I'm choosing not to worry about it so much right now (I wish my mom and sister would do the same). So basically, I think the whole point of life and growing up is to learn to be grateful for what God has given me. And I always try to be excited for what's coming next. Because there is always something to be excited about (at least I feel like there is).

KT said...

Saw: Baby elephants and rhinos at the San Diego Wild Animal Park. Adorable!
Felt: Hot water on my back and a cold Slurpee in my mouth. At the same time. It's called a Shlower. You should try it.
Tasted: Some very good fries at Legoland.
Smelled: The increasingly foul contents of my suitcase.
Heard: The laughter of the audience at the National Comedy Theatre where I was an audience volunteer and experienced 5 minutes of pure YESness, thus restoring my confidence in my decision to try to be an actor.

Chelsea said...

It's interesting to me that you feel like high school was playing pretend waiting to be a grown up, as I feel the exact opposite. I'll be going to college next week, and all the preparation for it- applying, getting in, filling out endless paperwork, opening a bank account, buying stuff for my dorm,graduating- has all felt very fake to me, like I've been playing a game, pretending to be an adult when I'm just a kid who doesn't want to grow up. I've always felt younger than my age, than the kids around me. I know I'll be fine. But I'm scared to death of this inevitable change in my life that I'm not asking for. Yet I've done nothing to make it easier on myself. These are in fact my dreams... just much sooner than I'm prepared for.

Today, I saw Scott Pilgrim, which despite my lack of video game knowledge was a thoroughly enjoyable movie.

I heard the roaring muffler of my friend's car as we drove through the city looking for an adventure and finding color-change straws at Friendly's.

I smelled the warm, dusky scent of a friend I saw for the last time before I go to college. He's definitely someone I will miss, but will not lose contact with.

I tasted Pepsi, and tried to figure out what the heck kind of flavor cola is.

I touched his hands. Her cellphone, which I borrowed because mine was dead. I touched my laptop.

Lo said...


I'm usually a silent blog reader, but being in the older (not by much, haha) category that you addressed your question to, I decided to answer. Turning 20 IS terrifying. It IS the start of something new, the end of being able to fall back on the excuse of being a stupid teenager ;) It's refreshing to not be addressed as if everything you do is a phase, but it's also a weighty responsibility...the things you do MATTER, and it's harder to just brush mistakes or changes in your opinions under the rug anymore. That being said, it's the same in matter what you expect, life will surprise you with something you never saw coming. Approach your twenties with joy and ambition, laugh off the rough times , and keep a clear idea of what you want--you may just land stretch marks and an unusual engagement ring ;)

Katie said...

I love the comment from Anonymous soon-to-be-29-years-old somewhere above me!

I spent my 20th birthday sledding & putting off homework because I was pretty positive we were getting a snow day the next day. Pretty much the awesomest birthday present ever. I spent my 21st birthday doing almost the exact same thing. February birthdays on the east coast rock! :)

Life is always going to have scary grown-up moments (paying bills is my biggest issue right now), as well as those moments that make you feel like a kid again. You just have to embrace everything & learn to live your life (eyy eyy eyy) as it comes at you.

I think you're a hard worker & you won't have a problem in the job arena in the future. I also think you're a sensible girl & you will be successful in the Love department as well. All I can say is, you never know what's going to happen so why waste time trying to predict when it will happen? I didn't see myself getting married for a looong time after high school, but my boyfriend & I would like to be married soon after our graduation from college next year. It's crazy to think about sometimes, because I often feel like just yesterday I was a freshman at my high school. At the same time though, it feels perfectly...perfect? Because we know we want to spend the rest of our lives together. Screw divorce statistics. If you want to make a relationship work, you make it work. And I can't wait to be the cute pregnant lady at the grocery store! And work off pregnancy fat & do whatever I can to stay healthy & hot for as long as possible.

Today, I saw awesome family members I rarely get to see because we live across the country from them.
today, I heard grasshoppers, horses, flowing streams, & loud kid cousins at a fun family picnic.
Today, I touched a toad that my 9 year old cousin thought would be funny to throw at the girl picnic blanket.
Today, I smelled horse poo poo.
Today, I tasted zebra cakes! NEVER TOO OLD FOR ZEBRA CAKES.

kyle said...

I know the feeling... It's like, you grow up with so many things to look forward to. Each year you enter a new a grade. You graduate from elementary school, graduate from middle school, enter high school, get your drivers license, turn eighteen, graduate from high school, then graduate from college. Then you've got this ~40 year span where you're expected to work full time. It's kind of depressing.

I'm trying to overcome that with goals. Particularly goals that can break up that massive span of time and make it feel as much as possible as the previous 22 years of my life.

There are things that make this part of your life really enjoyable though. In my case that's going to be money. Being out of school, on my own, with money to spend means I'll get to do things and go places and generally have a good time. Kind of like college was, though different (for better or worse) in a few ways.

There's not a lot of room for pessimism though. You can't look at the stats and get discouraged. From my little experience, you really have to be pro-active at this stage in your life.

It feels like I'm writing a blog as a blog comment so I'll stop rambling and wrap it up now.

Dana said...

I'm only 15, so I can't provide much insight, but I need to say thank you for putting all the chaos of my thoughts into words. Really pretty words. :)

Phyllis said...

I think the "real life" you are thinking of is some mythical story of how we are suppose to live our lives, and that story seems to be so unrealistic that people are doing a really bad job of trying to live up to it.

Maybe the way we are living is too hard or too damaging. It seems that it leads us all to be disconnected from each other and the things we interact with daily. I am sitting in a room filled with STUFF, books, a plastic fan, a cork board lamp, my blackberry, this macbook. Not only do I not know how half this stuff is made, I could not imagine having to make any of it myself. I personally, am very disconnected from the things in my life. I have never had a vegetable garden, or raised animals so all the food I have eaten has been grown, or raised somewhere (usually far) away from me, where I know very little about the food, besides maybe its sticker of nutritional value, but I just trust that it is okay.

Anyways, I am going to end this rant now. My only point is the "real life" you speak of is only ONE way of telling the story of what life should be like. Some people succeed, but far too many fail. If the real life you want is not achievable, or practical, or sustainable, then why do you want it?

pearlsanddreams said...

I'm 21 (!) and have a child and live with his daddy (have done for three years), own my own home, my own car etc, and to be honest it's scary as hell. I sort of plod through life getting on with it, then every couple of months I'll have a Big Think and just think ... wow. My life is amazing. I am a grown up. I am responsible for a beautiful tiny person, and a real home; I have things that I need to do because if I don't do it, my mum isn't around to do them for me. (I know that sounds like it, but she's not dead, she lives about a half-hour drive away).
Being grown up is terrifying, yes, but it's amazing too.

euphonious said...

So, I've never commented on your blog before, even though I've been reading it for, like, ever. But, I felt I needed to comment on this one! I just turned Twenty on July 2.

Ah! I just capitalized twenty!

Anyways, I don't think necessarily you have to replace uncertainty with disappointment when you get to be older, but I think most people resign themselves to that. To counter this, I've just enrolled in a CELTA course, which is a certification to teach English as a foreign language, which allows me to teach and travel for the rest of my life if I damn well please.
All of my friends that have turned twenty recently have had the same quarter (fifth?) life crisis, and I think the best way to conquer the fear is to do something proactive that you feel will keep you out of the phobias and sadness of "adulthood." Maybe go on a spontaneous trip! Take a course like I did that gives you options! Decide that you're just going to save up money for a few years, then buy a house and live off a part time job while you do what you want to do - start a savings account! Everyone above me said to just "live in the present," but (since I'm a Hermione Granger) that makes people like me totally nervous, and sometimes just making a plan, even if you know you'll change it, will help you defeat the fear.

Anyways, have a good day! :D

Mike said...

I turned twenty a few months ago, and I went through the exact same bout of uncertainty. I'm still not sure whether I'm supposed to have my life sorted or not, but in the end it's not society's place to be imposing obligations on me. Everyone takes time to find themselves.

The upshot of being twenty is that it gives you a new perspective on your teenage years - it's somewhat comforting to know that I'm just as awkward and conflicted now, as an official 'adult', as when I was a teenager.

DemonKitteh said...

I know what you mean. I was having a bit of a breakdown about this towards the end of the school year and was just thinking, "So. Life. You get married, are happy, have a baby. Then it all runs out. It turns out that your kids are just as troublesome as you were and that your husband has turned into a hairy balding blob who resides on the couch watching Seinfield reruns all day and drinking beer when he's not working his dead-end job or fantasizing about orange (although by the time I'm this age the popular spray tan color may be purple or green or something) women who are not you. You are frazzled and try to stay ahead by also working to help compensate for Blobbie's lack of motivation to provide for you, but still work hard to cook dinner and clean and spend time with the kids, then you come to the realization that the wine you toasted with at your wedding night was in fact unicorn blood and you are now living some sort of terrible half-life. And that is my worst fear. But it doesn't have to be that way. Who says that you have to get married and have kids (HeadVoice: You do, dumbass, remember?) right away? Who says that your artistic endevours can't be your life for awhile? And if you find a love that's true.. Put a ring on it."

Anonymous said...

I suppose there is a slight possibility that those things could happen.. But it's all the wonderful unknown possibilities waiting for me in the future that keeps me going.

Ida Ruda said...

I turned twenty earlier this year, and I had actually looked forward to it for a really long time. In Sweden turning twenty means you are no longer controlled by certain laws simply because of your age. Even though I don't always act like it I feel like an adult. I like the responsibility and the "freedom".
A big part of it I think, while trying not to sound like one of those everything-America-does-is-shit-douches, is that we don't have an "American dream" to live up to. Marriage, children and the perfect career is not something I'm think about now. I know what I'm passionate about and that is the environment. I'll be going to university for the next five years studying exactly that and if that leads to a job, great. If not, there are and will be plenty of other things I'm interested in. Things change, it is after all the future.

Saw: my pillow, realizing I had not removed my make up last night.
Heard: Johnny Cash singing Hurt, which ALWAYS makes me cry.
Touched: my forehead. "I haven't gotten a single mosquito bite this year". Boom, five within ten minutes.
Smelled: this always makes me feel like I've lost my sense of smell, because I have such a hard time coming up with something. I smelled... air.
Tasted: the last cereal in the house. Oh no, lazy person needs to go to the store.

heyaitsemma said...

This post really made me think about the future. I'm only in my mid-teens so I've never really thought about all of the little details of my future life before. I like to think that if you are positive in life, you get along better. And that trying hard will always have a reward of some sort and that God will never leave me.
Emma x

Angieanything said...

Hi Hayley,

I've read your blog for awhile now. I don't usually comment because I'm afraid of annoying you with a grammatical error. (I'm only kidding!) You have such a way with words. It's almost an honor to read your thoughts. Even when you're just talking about random crap, your intelligence seeps out and it's lovely to read.

Remember in divination, when Ron read Harry's tea leaves? Before Trelawney saw Sirius or The Grimm, Ron saw a wonky cross. Then he read from the divination book that Harry would suffer, but be happy about it. We also know that a major theme in the books was that we all have choices. These two things always stuck with me. In life, you're going to face obstacles. Hell, I'm sure that you already have. You're going to have all sorts of choices laid out in front of you. There is one major decision that will impact all of the others though. The choice to be happy. In life, you'll face hard times and suffering, but you'll be happy about it. Why? Because you have love, Harry. Erm, I mean Hayley. The people in your life and the love in your heart will pull you through the bad times, if you let them.

I don't presume to have all of the answers. However, I'll be 30 on September 21st of this year. Like our Hermione, I never feel that I do as well on an exam if I'm not at least a little nervous. Life is the exam. Try your best to do more good than harm, smile more than you cry, and love more than you hate. (Old age makes you corny. Sorry about that.)

The fear will always be there. Luckily, so will the love.

Again, I don't think that I know it all. I just live my life one day at a time. I keep taking the next step in faith. I hope that this made you smile, if nothing else. Your blog inspires me, and makes me smile. It'd be nice to know that I returned the favor just once.

When all else fails, just keep being you. We love you for it.

Much love!!

JJC1138 said...

From my 27-year-old perspective I would say that yes, real life is hard, but it can also be immensely rewarding. I think in your twenties stubbornness is your best friend. There will be so many well-meaning people who will remind you how difficult it is to make a living creatively, and you'll certainly start to believe them. Things might not go exactly as you're planning them now, so you might have to be a little bit flexible with the details, but focus on the broad picture and what's really important to you.

One bit of practical advice: if you ever have to get a day job to pay the bills while the creativity isn't bringing in much money, make sure that the job is as dead-end and soul-crushing as possible. From watching my friends, there is nothing more deadly to a creative life than a tolerable day job with prospects.

(Oh, and just because I rarely leave comments, I'll take this opportunity to say that I'm hugely enjoying your BEDA — I have very little doubt that your writing will carry you far!)

Mallory Lacoste said...

I had a similar break down when I turned 20, and that was one year and one month ago. For me, at least, the feelings went away, but perhaps that came at a cost. I replaced my dreams of the of the vintage engagement ring and the chocolate fountain with something I could control (since, no matter how hard you try, i don't believe you can ever control a spouse or marriage. But hey, my parents had a horrible divorce when I was 4. Maybe Im just jaded).
I sat down and hammered out a plan. I traded in my white dress for boarding passes and a career that would help me change the world. I guess I'm just saying that focusing your future happiness on something that you can control made me feel infinitely better.

Happy early Birthday!

Elisabeth said...

As someone who is turning 20 at the end of this month, I can definitely sympathise.

Something I read somewhere once was a statistic that middle-aged people are happier than teenagers. That's not because life gets any easier, but because you get better at coping with whatever life throws at you. So I guess what I'm trying to say is that life might not be roses, but you should come out all right at the end of it.

And I mean, just take a look at what there is to look forward to. You'll travel more. You'll try new and exotic foods, and eat more of the foods you love. ;) You'll make new friends who you won't be able to imagine your life without. You'll get married. You'll have kids. Seriously, how freakin' awesome are those last two? One day, you'll get to retire. Imagine not having to work anymore! And through it all, you'll never stop learning or experiencing new things. It's not as if you hit thirty and suddenly life is boring, because you've done it all before. Life is a changing, dynamic, beautiful thing. Your life has so much potential. And I think every last day is something to look forward to. :)

Maddy said...

I'm turning seventeen in just a couple of weeks and although I am three years younger than you are, I could really relate to this post. With college and "real life" approaching so quickly, I've also been feeling frightened and overwhelmed. I'm trying to focus on the here and now though, and trust that everything /will/ be okay. Hayley, you're a beautiful and talented girl and there isn't doubt in my mind that you'll go far in life. Keep your chin up, and remember what Hagrid once said, "What's comin' will come and we'll meet it when it does." <3

Kelly said...

Oh, Hayley. I went through this exact same thing when I turned twenty. I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life, and I was panicked about becoming a "real adult" before I was ready. But honestly, you'll find that the other side of your twentieth birthday feels remarkably the same. Yes, life is going to be hard, and making your career work wil be challenging and all marriages require a lot of effort to succeed and your kids will sometimes do unperfect things like fail a test or throw up in the supermarket. But that doesn't mean that life will be bad, or that you need to be afraid of it. The trick is to just try your best to appreciate who and where you are in your life at any given moment. All the other stuff, both good and bad, will get here eventuallly. And I have a hunch that just like turning twenty, it won't seem so scary after you actually live it. You're going to be fine. I promise.

Holly said...

Hey Hayley! So nice to feel like there are other older readers of your amazing blog! As someone who is halfway through my 25th year, this feeling of disillusionment is certainly no stranger. I remember it at 20, certainly, but strongest as I graduated college and was then left with a "well now what the f do I do with my life" kind of mentality. My views of the world within which I live have changed a hundred times since my 20th birthday, and while I'm no more certain than you of how it all works, I have learned to calm the terror a bit. Cuddly cups of coffee on Sunday mornings with my fiance remind me that I will love this feeling forever, and marriage may take work, but you can make it worth it. I'm not so trusting, naive or certain that anyone else out there has my back, but its the little moments and the things your prioritize over the bs that help keep the omnipresent scary world at bay. It is important to me now more than ever to truly value my friendships, but also to make sure all those with which I surround myself are the people, the mindsets, and the ideas I want around me. It was hard drifting away from long time friends, but sometimes, knowing who you are, how you want to live your life, and wanting to be supported in doing so feel better in the long run. Hope this helps- its crazy how much I admire you as a long time blog reader and I'm definitely thinking of you!

Jenni said...

Today, I saw: a large group of my friends as we met up in the pub :)
Today, I heard: ridiculous heavy metal music in the pub (I'm not against that type of music, it just doesn't go with the social setting :L)
Today, I touched: my friend. He started poking me so I poked back (yes, we're mature D:)
Today, I smelled: blokes deodorant sprayed in my room :( It now smells like man ridiculously strongly :L
Today, I tasted: cheesey pasta (making it caused me to grate my finger >.<)
20 sounds really old to me too, and that's silly cos I am 18 so it is NOT that far off... It's weird how we perceive ages. Let me know what it is like to be 20 and whether I should be as scared as I am!!

Sidsel said...

I'm stunned. This blog post says it exactly right. I've been feeling that way for a couple of years now and next month I'll be 21 - that is "in your twenties" for real (I mean when you think about it the 2010´s don't start until next year, so you could still go by teenager-isk, right? At least that's what I've been telling myself this last year.)

What is the point of it all? I feel like life is already laid out for you. At least you're doing something. Every blog post you've been somewhere new. I just go around at home being comfortable but doing nothing. Good thing I'm going to university next year, but... then what?

Scared too.

Kara said...

I'm turning 20 in about 3 weeks (omg 3 weeks!) And I am completely lost. I keep jokingly telling my friends that i'm actually turning 19 to make myself feel better, but I know that it's just lying to myself. I want to still be a teen because I want to be able to say that I don't know what to do with my life yet.. but I feel like when I turn 20, all of a sudden I need to know whats going on, and what to do next. I'm glad i'm not the only one who feels like the rest of my life will just be hope and then dissapointment. I'm sure it wont end up being like that, but I can't help feeling that way. Thanks again for showing me that someone else in this world thinks the same way I do.

Alex Cee said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Alex Cee said...

I'm turning twenty in a few months, and I just transferred universities because I hated where I went for my Freshman year. Now I am doubting that decision.

I live my life thinking that I have to suffer through something to get to something better. Middle school sucks, but in high school all my dreams will come true. High school is a bit of despair, but college will be a miracle. College is an even bigger pit of despair, but grad school will be where everything goes right.

I stopped myself the other day when I was on that train of thought. I'm either always thinking about how tomorrow will be better or living in a bittersweet nostalgia. I never take the time to enjoy now.

So I think we're both suffering from the same problem. In thirty years you may be doing this, or looking like that. But what about today? I won't say don't look into the future, but I will definitely recommend not living in the future. You're nineteen right now. And so, yeah, you're going to be twenty. It's freaking me out, too. But it's just a title.

Just be Hayley.

Haley said...

Of course it's scary! Growing up can be completely terrifying sometimes... I'm right there with you. But that fact that you're addressing your fears, facing reality, and not becoming a jaded adult that refuses to grow up, tells me that you're going to do just fantastic :)

Today I saw: A torrential rainstorm and lightning - right now!
Today I heard: Katy Perry... all of her songs. Obsessed.
Today I touched: Pool water testing equipment (y'know, sulfuric acid, nbd).
Today I smelled: Chlorine.
Today I tasted: Those sourdough nugget pretzels... omgwtfsogood.

Anonymous said...

I turned twenty yesterday and was totally freaking out. I mean, I still haven't picked a major. Well, actually I picked a couple. That's the problem. I have four ideas for books, none of which ave gotten past two chapters, an inexplicable urge to travel to Spain (from Virginia) even though I'm broke and not entirely fluent in Spanish, and my parents still do my taxes. (That stuff is hard.) I feel like adulthood is really far away and right around the corner. Like, I'm going to being walking along and then BAM! - Responsibility! Maturity! Ability to leave a phone message without sounding like a stoned robot!
At least, I focus on the fact that since my mom gave me a Spider-Man balloon with some cupcakes, my best friend baked me a TARDIS-shaped cake, and all my high school chums got together to watch Harry Potter for my birthday, I'm not alone in my distaste for growing up.
(BTW, in my opinion, you are like crazy successful. You have friends and fans all over the world that love like a fat kid loves cake.)

Anonymous said...

I don't have any advice for you, Hayley, I'm even younger than you, but I like to think of it the way John Green does in paper towns. He talks about how it seems like everything we do is for the future- we go to school to go to college, go to college to get a job, get a job to get money for you kids who will go to school to go to college and so on...
I don't know what to say about this one!

Gina said...

This is why I love your blog so much. First of all, I feel like we're experiencing things at weirdly similar times. I'll be twenty in December, about to be a sophomore, dating someone seriously (for the first time), even started eating healthy/lost some weight this summer. And I'm also definitely having the same, scary, thoughts. It's so nice for me to be able to come to your blog and read the thoughts I'm having put so much more eloquently than I could ever express them.
So thank you! And here's hoping Real Life isn't quite as depressing as it sometimes sounds.

holly said...

reading this post was like having deja vu. i feel much the same way! even the way you pictured each stage of your life is eerily similar to the way i do.

i'm 21 and although i'd consider myself a happy-go-lucky optimistic kind of person, it terrifies me to think that my life may not be all that i want it to be.

today i visited my dying grandpa in the hospital, and the way he looks at my grandma like there is no one else in the room is enough to give me hope. my grandma told me that she had sat in the dark last night and thought about their entire life together, and despite ups and downs she was happy. if i can get to her age and feel the same, then i won't be disappointed :)

xx holly

Pip said...

Hayley, once again you are living my life. I'm turning 20 soon too. I'm going to be living in my own apartment at school, which is another big change (no more dorms, a real apartment like a grown up). I had to buy like toilet cleaner and stuff, like a real grown up. This whole growing up thing sure is weird. Shopping for stuff for my apartment I just kept thinking, "This is the rest of my life. Shopping for toilet cleaner."

Sarah said...

24 (soon to be 25) year old reader here - and a lot of times I feel exactly as you described turning 20. I am dreading my up and coming birthday! You think 20 is bad...

It didn't help with my family home for the last couple of weeks (they usually live in Hong Kong while I am in New Zealand). Out of the blue my mother says "so what are your plans? Do you have *pause* goals?"

I wanted to strangle her.

It's like geez Mum, I only just finished grad school with a Masters a year and a half ago - right in the middle of the recession. Didn't get a job based anything around a potential career till 6 months ago, and it still isn't really what I wish I could be doing (but beggars can't be choosers). Living with my boyfriend - he is 28 and doing his PhD and is about as ready to grow up as an 18 year old, and all around me my friends are getting engaged, married, having babies, buying houses, getting puppies, getting promotions.

I don't feel ready for any of that stuff most of the time, even though I really want most of it, most of the time. I don't feel like I have done anything to be prepared and that my whole life has suddenly sneaked up on me! And I look around me at my friends and think, how are THEY prepared??

But really, they aren't.

I look at some of the girls I went to school with, one now with her 3rd kid under 3 (bajezus). A couple working at Show Girls as strippers. Some living at home still with their parents. Another has just broken her engagement with her long term boyfriend and is wallowing in the belief she will now only ever live with cats.

And I think we all feel the same deep down, no matter what life has thrown at us. That makes me feel better.

So no, wonderful and mature Hayley. You are not looking at it wrong, and you do get it, as much as those older than you get it. As much as I get it anyway!! It is totally okay, and it will stay okay for a long while! At least I hope so.

<3 (sorry for the long comment!)

bassrocks9 said...

Ok, I just have to say, TonksftMemories, I am totally stealing that quote and adding it to my facebook page. :)

And Hayley, I am only 16, but I do believe that you have a lot less to worry about than many other people your age. You've already gotten over the high school-college transition, you're in a great university, you're talented in your area of study, you seem to have great relationships with your family, friends, and boyfriend.

And just the fact that you are worrying about this is a good sign, I think. I feel like some people would think "Oh, I'm only 19, not EVEN 20, I've got so much time to figure this all out," which is true, but you already have the tools to do so, and the support of not only your IRL family, but also all us blog readers. :)

Courtney said...

I'm only 16, but I worry about the same exact thing. I'm also worried that I'm not "living it up" as much as I should. Apparently, these years are the ones we are going to be looking back at longingly, and I'm actually pretty happy with life right now, I just hope I'm not wasting away my time right now.

Anonymous said...

Have you ever seen the short film Harvie Krumpet?It really puts things in perspective. Don't worry, Hayley, you're so brilliant that you'll be a published novelist in no time.

bookmouse99 said...

I am only a couple years older than you, but I have to say I disagree.

Life is a series of choices. Which I am sure everyone has heard a gagillion times before, and now you are rolling your eyes and going "dear lord, not that old thing again", but hear me out.

2 years ago on august 25, a 15 year old very close to my heart decided that he couldn't handle the possibility of disappointment and sadness, that there was nothing, and that he was too scared. I think about him every day, and because of him I am completely changed. I had the same fears and thoughts that you do, but I decided that there had to be more. If you have grand expectations of life, with your high heels, chocolate fountains, fancy names and mismatched silverware, don't give them up. Things may not turn out exactly like planned, but ignore the stats. Believe it will happen. Always make sure you have things to look forward too, but don't wish time away. Don't think of college as just something you have to do in order to get a job. Experience it. Savour it. Once its gone, savour the next step. If you aren't ready to move on, don't.

Be happy. Don't dwell on the POSSIBILITY of disappointment and sadness and stretch marks. Roll with the punches. Work your Ass off. Life isnt easy. Its damn hard. But that is half the fun. Don't give up on things because "apparently it's really, really unlikely that you'll make a living off being occasionally clever. And apparently you're going to screw up your kids no matter how hard you try, and they'll never be exactly what you want them to, and apparently a whole lot of people lie and steal and have affairs and apparently your body doesn't stay hot forever". Just because something is unlikely, doesn't mean it doesn't happen. The odds may not be in your favour, but at least there are odds. Don't listen to the pesimists. Not everybody screws up their kids. Not everybody lies and cheats.

Make the choice to be the exception. And never give up. Roll with the punches, change plans, but never give up

Do it for that boy who is forever 15

89ravenclaw said...

Screw the real world, it's our world, and it is what we make it.

Twenty is freaking scary, but then life goes on the way it did, and you do feel different, but it's the same different to experience when you're no longer a middle-schooler and suddenly nearing high school graduation. Your perception has just shifted, and usually shifted for the better. You see everything in more simple terms, everything is as dramatic. Yes it's more complicated in terms of responsibilities, but that's gradual. Stuff happens, life goes on.

Anonymous said...

34 years old here...and it's a strange place. John Green did a really good job of capturing some of the feeling in that recent post where he visited his old school. The thing just happens, time. And age. And one minute you are having the best night of your life on your 20th birthday (true story) and the next you are 34. Now, some feelings you have will change gradually and some won't, but you never fully really FEEL whatever age you are. You remember the exact same feelings you had 15 years ago with your friends. It's the ultimate mindfuck.

Sarah said...

I wrote a really, overly long comment to this blog post, and then my work computer crashed - le sigh.

But what I will say, with certainty as an almost 25 year old, that you aren't looking at this wrong, and are brimming with more maturity and grace than I had at 19. If anything, going on 25 is not much different to going on at 20, but instead on decisions about majors, grad school, or if I like my boyfriend, it has turned into potential marriage, having babies, getting puppies, saving to buy a house, getting promotions, and I still feel like it is a completely weird, and surreal experience that nothing in my life has prepared me for.

Trust me 25 is much, much harder!!

So in essence you do get it, as much as I think anyone can get it. Even my married friends, my single friends, the ones that are still living at home, or the one that has 3 babies under 3, feel exactly the same!!

But on a happy note, my early 20s have so far been the best. You are adult enough to make the big choices, but still young enough that it is okay if you screw up, or make no choice at all! You can experiment, and live, and have fun without the complete and utter responsibility of the fact you are old enough for it to matter ^.^

When you are 24 going on 25 you can start worrying about that fact!

The Vagabond said...

Oh my god, I was JUST thinking about this! I was just thinking about how maybe it's not even really worth getting married if you aren't going to be happy with the person later. Like maybe you should just be in a relationship and that's it. If you find someone you really truly love and you're 50 and haven't married them yet but still love them then maybe then you get married. Cause you're pretty sure it'll stand through anything if it's lasted that long. Maybe you should just live to be happy is what I'm saying. Fuck tradition. It obviously doesn't really work for most people. That's why I HATE Nicholas Sparks and his stupid books. He always takes the easy way out and makes love look so good. He makes a wonderful couple who seem like they would stand the test of time and then kills one of them off before he gets to the bad "real life" stuff. Bastard.

Right now I'm just making enough money to pay off the loan I got for study abroad. Cause that made me realise that, even though something seems impossible and ridiculous like spending 4 months in another country when you don't really have the money to cover it, you should still do it if you want to. Cause when are you ever going to get a chance like that? I've made plans, however elaborate they may seem, and I'm going to stick to them. I just posted about those crazy plans actually. A life of crime may or may not (but kind of is) involved. ; )

Sarah said...

Ok, I only read the first 30 or so comments, so sorry if I massively repeat what others have said ... But here are my thoughts:

1) I turn 25 this year, and am done grad school this week, and I understand your feelings of trepidation. I said the words "I'm turning 25" out loud for the first time the other day, and I actually gasped.

2) I am still waiting to feel like an adult, which I definitely don't. I don't know that uncertainty gets replaced by disappointment ... for me, I still feel uncertain, and still feel like a kid who is faking it in the adult world, and I know several adults decades older than me who feel the same way.

3) Even with uncertainty, and even with disappointments along the way, you will have endless moments throughout your days and years - big moments and small moments - that will be wonderful and magical and worth it all. You will beat the odds in some ways, and become statistics in other ways. Sometimes uncertainty and the unknown will work in your favour, and sometimes it will work against you. But I really believe that the good moments, and the fun of feeling out your own path and finding your own way, makes life worth it and fun, throughout your whole life! (Or at least that's what I tell myself as I freak out about the next stage in my life, lol...)

Cassie said...

I get this. It's so scary. I'm definitely going to college in order to prolong my childhood. I just keep telling myself that I'm going to try so hard to never be miserable like everyone else, but I'm afraid I'll grow up and won't be able to do anything about it. I've promised myself that I will never be too old to jump into a pool. Everyone over 30 just slips in on the stairs. I'm always going to jump.

Kimberly said...

Being 25 I'd say it's scary getting older. Mostly because you don't feel any different, you just get more responsibilities and feel like you're playing adult.

Emily said...

Hayley - I understand where you're coming from. I just turned 30 this year, though, and from 10 years down the road I can tell you that everything will turn out just fine. I am happily married to a marvelous man and just had the most beautiful baby boy ever. I'm also a successful attorney who enjoys her career, but is still considering following her original dream and becoming an English teacher after all. My life is not exactly what I pictured when I was 19 going on 20, but that's only because at that point I could not have pictured myself experiencing such pure joy that didn't come from fame or riches or whatever I wanted at that time. Life is a beautiful journey and I know you will find a path that brings you joy and love.

Angieanything said...

I responded to you gmail because I wanted to share some things and don't want all of them private.

Life is a journey. Check your e-mail.
: )

Much love!!

Anonymous said...

Just be glad that you're good at something. Some of us have no talents, smarts, or have a financially stable family like you. Yeah. I know my grammar sucks. I'm starting university in 2 weeks but I'm going to commute by public transportation because I was too stupid to get accepted anywhere else. So... yeah.
Don't worry, Hayley, you've already got thousands of people who'll rush to buy your books, you know, once you get there.

Anonymous said...

My best advice would be to throw away everything you think about being an adult and just be you, always, at every age. Oh, and be kind to people, everyone's just finding their own way.

Martín Daniela said...

I recently turned 19, i wasn´t gonna post a comment ´cause i thought "what can i say to her?" but then i realized that i really understand what you´re saying, i have been feeling like that ever since i turned 18 because everyone told me "you are an adult now, behave like one" (legal age is 18 in my country).

I guess what i´m trying to say is that no matter how scary life seems, i think is just as bad as you let it be, i mean, life is such a roller coaster, just a year ago i was really scared of living alone, terrified of college and excited because i was going to study my "dream" career, now i love living alone, bored with college and recently realized that my "dream" career isn´t the one i picked, but that i have to finish this career because i can´t find a job with what i love doing, so i restructured my life and now have a goal and it may require amazing sacrifice, but that´s life: to get what you want, you gotta work hard.

Love and Happiness to you

Suburban Sweetheart said...

Oh, Hayley. Wish I could be helpful - but I think this every day. I just turned 26 for crying out loud, & I'm none of the things I thought I would be. I'm not married, I'm not a mother, I don't have a job I love. In fact, I'm JUST now dating, I'm eons away from kids, I just quit my brand new job because I hated it... & I'm terrified of my life. I try to remember, every day, that I have a family who loves me & will support me & catch me & help me... but I want to be a real adult. When does that happen? Does it ever happen? Will it happen when I'm not looking?

Good luck. I hope you find your way happily through your twenties!

Bree said...

Wow, my first-ever comment on your blog. I just wanted to quickly say that it's perfectly normal to freak out and have all these "what ifs" going through your head. However, to be totally cliched: life is a journey, not a destination. We really can't predict what our lives will turn out to be, but the important thing is that we enjoy as much of it as we can and not take anything too seriously.

I'm 24, happily married, and am just seeing what each new day brings.

Try not to feel pressured by leaving behind your teenage years, and just see your future as the blank canvas that it is. The great thing about your future is...each day, you have the chance to start anew, do something different, or change your mind. It doesn't have to be a big, scary, looming shadow monster. Take it a day at a time, focus on your passions and how good it feels to accomplish each new goal you set for yourself, and you'll see that everything somehow falls into place.

I'm a big believer in the power of positive thinking and living in the Now moment. Visualize what you want for yourself (ever-changing as it will be through the course of your life), and choose to do and look at what makes you feel happy. Follow your bliss and you can't go wrong.

Good luck, and I just have to say, I love your blog.

kira902k said...

Wayyy to make me even more stressed about life. Even though I'm only 16. *sigh*


Anonymous said...

I'm a little late in reading this but I'll give this advice thing a shot...

I'm only a couple years older than yourself, so I don't really know much more but I can tell you that your outlook is completely normal. We are told that we should expect life to go to crap once we "grow up," so we all just get used to the idea, I guess.
I just graduated from college but I'm nowhere prepared, both intellectually and emotionally, to start my "life's career." It's back to school for me to get my Master's degree.
I still don't see myself as a complete adult, but more as an inbetweener...I have a lot of responsibility but I don't quite have to pay the utility bills yet (if that analogy made any sense).
All I can tell you is to just enjoy life, enjoy college, and prepare yourself for life after...but don't put undue stress on yourself yet. I've found that stressing yourself out just makes everything worse.

partyweetow said...

In Paper Towns, John wrote:

"Did you know that for pretty much the entire history of the human species, the average life span was less than thirty years? You could count on ten years or so of real adulthood, right? There was no planning for retirement, There was no planning for a career. There was no planning. No time for plannning. No time for a future. But then the life spans started getting longer, and people started having more and more future. And now life has become the future. Every moment of your life is lived for the future--you go to high school so you can go to college so you can get a good job so you can get a nice house so you can afford to send your kids to college so they can get a good job so they can get a nice house so they can afford to send their kids to college."