Whatever comes to mind: The uncertainty of turning 22

Whatever Comes To MindBy George Flynn | Opinions Editor

I was having a great day. I was  catching up on a few readings for class when a friend of mine asked an awful question. “Your 22nd birthday is coming up. What are we doing?”

I completely forgot that I was turning 22. I felt like I had already reached the peak of my life and was now heading toward a downward slope. The true aging process was about to begin. A year ago, I would have never thought I would be afraid of becoming 22, but now it just seems like I put a hole in my favorite pair of jeans. I feel I have outgrown this youthful period and my time has passed. But why? Why is 22 perceived as a horrendous age? This is still a young age, so why should I ever let a number make me run out and purchase wrinkle cream? There are many horrific endeavors approaching, but it doesn’t mean I can’t be happy.

One of the biggest reasons the big 21-plus-one scared me, is the fact that the age is traditionally coupled with being a senior in college. That next step toward graduation can be quite daunting, especially when one does not know what their next endeavor is going to entail.

You might end up living at home. According to a CNN Money article by Jessica Dickler, research done by Twentysomething Inc. found through research that 85 percent of graduates move back in with their parents.

Or you might end up moving to a new city without the slightest clue of what you are doing. Since I am in this strange place of uncertainty I have contemplated more than once or twice about packing my bags and heading somewhere like New York or Hawaii. Regardless, it might feel hopeless to not know what you are going to do next, but if you keep your head high and continue the job/grad school search, you will have a better chance of knowing where you will end up after graduation. The concept of losing the structure that college offers is a little unsettling.

Academia is not the only problem which inspires fear in the big 22. I have found myself being weighed down by my own metabolism.

My entire duration in college, I have had a relatively slim body size. I am still quite slim, but I have been able to see the changes in my body. After Christmas break, I saw my stomach had grown a bit and my thighs were a little larger than before. You might say because it was the holidays, but this has never happened to me before.  Now, I understand that there is nothing wrong with this, but bodily changes are something that I am not used to. Instead of stressing about packing on the pounds, my new approach is to simply accept all the weight that comes my way.

According to a Washington Post article by Gabriella Boston, by age 25, the metabolic rate decreases by two percent. Although I am not 25 yet, I am starting to see my metabolism already catching up with me.

Instead of looking at this as a bad occurrence in my life, I am going to embrace it. If I had enough money I would go clothes shopping. Regardless, a changing body should not be a problem. Embrace your body and the evolution of it.

Another reason I fear turning 22 is also vanity related. I caught my first gray hair a few weeks ago. My smile wrinkles under my eyes are a little bit out of control. In the wrong mirror, this feels like the beginning of a downward spiral to me. However, instead of looking at these new time induced, physical traits in a negative way, I am going to look at them as accolades for making it this far. If my wrinkles are from smiling, then I’ll wear these laugh lines proudly.

It seems that turning 22 is an age that is a mixed bag full of emotions, developments and revelations. However, this should not place a negative connotation on the number. For all the 22-year-olds out there, it should not be viewed as the end of fun times, but viewed as another year where positivity and good times can occur.

George Flynn is a senior English major and can be reached at flynng@duq.edu.

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