I find myself at one of the most pinnacle ages of my lifetime: 22. Sure, it’s not 18 and it’s definitely not 50, but 22 is the age of change for me.
At 5 I moved across the country for the first time, and at 6 I left the country for the first time. At 10 I bought Abercrombie for the first time and at 11 I wore mascara for the first time. At 12 I had a boyfriend for the first time and got suspended from school (for the first time). At 14 I drove a car for the first time and at 16 I drove it without my parents for the first time. At 18, I fell in love for the first time and moved away to school for the first time. And now I’m 22.
At 22, I graduated from college. I left my parents, my brother, my boyfriend, and my friends behind to move across the country. I rented a U-Haul and moved to a city where I knew not one living soul. I started the “Nine to Five Grind” and became a coffee addict. I travelled to three different states for the first time and opened my very own 401k. I paid my own (and astronomical) rent for the first time, which is probably my parents’ favorite part about this year. And yet, despite all these personal accomplishments, I’ve never felt more overlooked.
When you’re an entry-level employee, people rarely recognize your value. Wanting to make a good impression, I work my butt off and open myself to new challenges and opportunities alike, but my triumphs constantly go unnoticed. People tend to underestimate what I know I can deliver. At 22, I feel younger than I did when I started college and more invisible than I have since middle school. For the first time, my parents aren’t financially supporting my life, but no one is listening to me. I’m not a child. Nothing has slapped me across the face with as much force as the reality of Corporate America’s view on the lowest rung of the totem pole.
22 is difficult because I am so caught between two worlds; the land of 7-nights-a-week parties and the land of 5-nights-a-week-work. Taylor Swift is over there singing about “feelin’ 22” but Taylor Swift doesn’t have to hold a 40-hour structured work week.
At 22, I’ve learned I have to push myself; I need to speak up and chase what I’m after. I need to let my presence be known so no one will forget my name. 22 has empowered me to fight for what I want, follow my dreams, take care of myself, and be independent. 22 has forced me to mature and grow up, but 22 also lets me be silly and childish. At 22 I have to show up for work 9 hours a day, but at 22 I can drink for 9 hours every Friday night.
22 is my Age of Change. What’s yours?
Details of this writing challenge here.