Is 20 Years Old, Old?

Is 20 years old, old?

I am approaching my 20th year on this here planet and I have got to thinking – is 20 old, or young?

Reaching your second decade means you are no longer a teenager. But what does that actually mean? Does it mean you must leave the land of youth and frivolity, depart with silly decisions and “it seemed like a good idea at the time” moments? Are these things which should be left behind, remnants of a carefree past and a life lead with empty-headed trust in the sureness of your own future, to be replaced with the trudging tread of maturity?

In today’s society there is the argument that “children” stop being children much earlier than before. When once someone might be considered a child right up to their late teens, we are seeing 13 and 14 year olds parading about like their elder peers, in a way I certainly wouldn’t have had to the nerve to at that age. Even now, as I prepare to leave my adolescence behind, I still often feel like half my actual age!

So is it a generation thing or a personal state of mind? Scottish Parliament passed a bill just a couple of days ago to give 16 year olds the vote. Now, at just 16, we can vote, get married, smoke, enlist in the armed forces. By 18 we can drive and drink too (preferably not at the same time), so where, then, do we draw the line under childhood?

My friend today turns 20, but I doubt he woke up this morning thinking, right, time to dig out the tie and get in the sensible car to join the production line heading to the 9-5 office job. He will have woken up thinking yas, party time! Just because we are older does not necessarily mean we are any wiser, nor that we have to give up our childhood hopes and dreams. But it does make me wonder if, or when, we should.

When I finally abdicate me teenage throne, I hope I ascend to a similarly intriguing adult one. And I hope too that I feel mature enough to hold it’s mantle. This past year has aged me past my 19 years in many ways, and made me appreciate my youth. It always irked me when people older than me said “savour your youth, your only young once!” Now I realise, they are right. But you are only old once too. Immaturity is the blissful ignorance of adulthood, and adulthood the learned weariness of experience. To alleviate some of that languor, perhaps we should remember what it is to be young again?

Take a leaf out of that lazily filled in diary from your youth and add it to your senior memoir.




10 thoughts on “Is 20 Years Old, Old?

  1. Isn’t it early to be subconscious about your age? 🙂

    Don’t worry… 20 isn’t old… Not even close. Beside, you are as young as your heart allows you to be, I’m 28 and I feel younger than my teenage nephews and nieces, because I enjoy life. They, however, are in their dark-mood teenage years… Well I guess getting older can sometimes makes you younger I suppose 🙂

    Happy birthday in advance!!

    • thanks! it’s not til August but i’ll remember you said so 😉

      i definitely agree, mind over matter is a big factor. But certain events in your life make you evaluate different aspects of – my friend turning 20 did that for me. 20 is still young, it’s just weird to me that after 2 decades of being an adolescent, first as a child, then as the more advanced state of childhood, the terrible teens, i’m finally, mathematically at least, going to be counted purely as an adult. i love hearing pensioners saying things like “I may look 85, but i feel 30 again”. makes you think that life can be what you attitude makes it 🙂

      • ‘Life can be what your attitude makes it’
        Beautifully said. 🙂
        We men have an opposite and different angle when it comes to age… Well, at least I do. I can’t wait to reach that age where I have a couple of grey hairs… I think that’s the age where every man looks good. But until then, I’ll keep living like a 10 year old, each day is a wonder.

  2. every passing b’day kicks off thoughts “am I too old for something”, but I feel mind is always as young as your companions, it is only the body dat ages with time.

    Enjoy your b’day and leave these thots for the rest of the year 🙂

    • totally, another year, another lost opportunity – i’m too old for this, i’m too old to wear that – but it’s really your mind that matters 🙂

      stay tuned, I shall be blogging as often as possible for as long as possible! maybe i’ll have a bit more to say on the topic of age if you’re interested 🙂

  3. Rather than pull out the old “Ha! If 20 is old, I must be ancient!” chestnut, let me leave you with a quote from one of my favourite (and, IMO, most inspiring) authors:

    “I want to be an author when I grow up. Am I insane?” — powertothepencil
    “Yes. Growing up is highly overrated. Just be an author.” — Neil Gaiman

    Don’t worry about how many years you’ve lived on the planet. Just make good art, share good stories, and live as only you can live.

  4. I’m 26 with a responsible job but I think ultimately you’re as old as you feel and act. I have LOADS of fun and I have plenty things I still want to do before I “settle down”. I think when you’re younger you want to be an adult and when you’re an adult you wish you’d enjoyed being young. I think in general you’re never too young to do what you want so you should just make yourself happy!

  5. I’ll be 20 this August. I was feeling the same thing – I also always end up comparing myself to others of a similar age and thinking, ‘Oh no, they’ve achieved so much more than I have in the same amount of time being on this planet’ and panicking that my time’s running out and what have I actually done that people could remember me by if I died tomorrow… (And breathe.) Crazy thoughts I know ha ha, and then I realise my mum is 46 (I’m not saying this is old either) and she’s just done a degree and is doing SO MUCH with her life that I realise there’s actually plenty of time to do anything you want. My nan’s in her mid-70s yet she still runs about like a crazy woman volunteering and line dancing and what-not.
    Interesting post by the way 🙂

    • thank you so much! 😀 it’s not good for us to compare too much – everyone’s lives are different. i can’t help but think “Justin Beiber is younger than me and is INFINITELY more successful than me” and I don’t even LIKE Justin Beiber. it’s hard not to compare when we’re so much more aware of other peoples business now. But i’m glad you are so proud of your family, that’s nice to hear 😀

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