The Truth About My Age Anxiety

Age: the length of an existence extending from the beginning to any given time

Something happened with my birthday this year. Something happened all while nothing happened.

I was born May 25, 1995, and this year was my 23rd birthday. It fell on a Friday. I got lunch with the guy I thought was going to be my boyfriend the Saturday before and went to San Francisco with my best friend the day after. It was overall nice. Not lit, dope, dazzling, or incredible. Simply nice. It was one of those birthdays that passes by without any one wow-factor to it, ya know? I’m not going to look back on this birthday ten years from now and think oh, that was a good one. It came, and it went.

But, I mean, there is one notable thing about this birthday: the anxietyI feel like I aged significantly between May 24th and May 25th. 

My body didn’t change. I didn’t suddenly have wrinkles around my eyes or a sag to my skin. I didn’t have unusual aches and pains I’d never experienced. I was (and am) still curvy and bangin’ as always. There was no change to my outward youth than there was days before. 

See, my 22nd birthday was the day of my college graduation. I got to enter into the world and a new year as a free woman with all the potential of the life ahead of me and the terror of college behind me. I felt like I was raw potential. I could do anything and the world was at my feet. I could finally actualize my dreams and live life without the cloud of homework, papers, GPA, graduation requirements, and trying not to pound my face into a classroom desk hanging over me. I felt like there was still an aura of youth around me. Oh, I just graduated in May. Oh, I’m only 22.

23, though still young, tastes different. I’m no longer fresh out of college, and I’m at the end of my “early twenties.” There’s this air of adulthood that’s crept into me. I know I still have a ton of time to live my best life and achieve my dreams, but I feel like my options are becoming less and less. I have to make decisions now and make things happen for me if I want them. It’s not enough to dream and imagine tomorrow anymore. Tomorrow has arrived and I have to decide what I’m going to do with it.

There are people my age and younger who have already succeeded in life. They have businesses, careers, and a fuck ton of abundance. It used to be people who were younger than me and successful were child prodigies or started out loaded, but now it’s life. I’ll admit it makes me feel insecure about what I want to accomplish when I hear about 19, 20, 21 year old CEOs or millionaires. I tell myself everyone’s experience and life builds up to something different, but I can’t help but shame myself: why don’t I want it as much as them, why don’t I work harder, why am I not doing 100% 24/7?

And even stepping back from the stress about starting my own business, I feel pressure about my relationship status. I mean, I just got thoroughly dumped this summer by someone I wanted to spend forever with. Now I’m 23 and single, still sorting out my post-breakup emotions, and not sure when I’ll be ready to start meeting people

There are girls I grew up with and graduated high school with who are a few years into marriage and having children. Facebook is now a roulette of who’s engaged.

I by no means want to be married at 23. Absolutely zero percent. To each their own, but that’s not me. But, like, I always imagined getting married in my late twenties and having kids through my early thirties. We women sort of have a biological clock on the whole kids thing.

It’s, like, okay – I want to get married in my late twenties. I need to meet someone, date them, be engaged, and then get married. Let’s say it takes me a year from now to meet someone – I’ll be 24. Then I date them for two years, we fall madly in love, and we get engaged – I’ll be 26. A one year engagement will put me married at 27. That would put me in the perfect position to enjoy married life for about three years before jumping on the baby train.

That’s perfectly plausible and could happen, but, like, it could totally not. There’s no scheduling when you’ll meet who you fall in love with. I met my not-ex at a concert. I didn’t plan for us to hit it off the way we did. I might not meet someone for three, four years or even more. I’m honestly terrified of being single in my thirties. I don’t mean that as a knock against anyone, but it scares me. I may not get married until I’m in my early to mid thirties and have to rush into having children. I want to be able to enjoy time with my husband, ya know? I want us to be able to get married and enjoy that bliss – travel, go on adventures, spending our money on silly things. I feel like that goes away if I need to start popping out babies immediately because I’m 35.

And another little thing – if I drink a soda after 3 o’clock, I can’t sleep at night. I don’t really know when that started happening, but I don’t appreciate it at all. I would very much like that to stop.

I just… I don’t feel like I’m young anymore. I don’t feel like there’s an air of naivety or innocence to me. Not that I want there to be, but it was almost inherently there because of where I was in life. I feel silly saying this, but, like, it’s true. It’s how I feel. I’m gasping, taking the dying breaths of my youth.

And hey, I get itI’m 23. In five years, 10 years, 15 years, I’ll think about how young I was and what I would give to be 23 again. I know anyone over 23 reading this may feel some measure of indignant or offended by what I’m saying, but that’s not what I’m meaning. I know this pressure is all in my head. It’s all about perspective and what we do. It’s on each of us to feel young and vivacious. Abundance, love, happiness, success, and experience are available to us at any age.

I know that and have to remember that. Maybe you do too.