So scared of getting older,
I’m only good at being young
So I play the numbers game
To find a way to say that life has just begun
These lyrics from John Mayer’s song “Stop This Train” were emblazoned on the sweatshirts created by my junior class in high school. It wasn’t the quote I voted for, or even a quote I particularly understood at the time. But in the now almost 3 years since I began donning that sweatshirt, I have become all too familiar with the sentiment in these lyrics.
In the past three years, I have attended proms, taken standardized tests, graduated high school, moved to Los Angeles, completed a year of college, traveled alone to Europe, nervously watched my baby sister practice driving, and, just last week, turned 20. At each of these landmarks, particularly the last one, I have felt as though the universe had made some sort of mistake. Here I am, skidding into these new life experiences, but it seems as though I’m not nearly old enough for any of them. I still feel like a kid, but on August 10th I entered the decade during which I’d always expected to start a career, get married, and have kids. Sure, a decade is a long time and sure, whether or not my life turns out the way I imagined it when I was young isn’t entirely relevant. But I never imagined that upon entering my twenties, I would still feel so remarkably young.
I suppose this feeling is not so different from the feelings I’ve had at all the other birthdays and big life experiences. I certainly didn’t feel like a teenager when I turned 13, or like I should be trusted with a motor vehicle on my 16th birthday. And I am sure I’m not unique in this experience. It seems that people hardly ever feel prepared for the next chapter in their lives, and yet we almost always seem to make it through each new experience to the next unexpected checkpoint.
So, as common as a feeling as it seems to be, we must not stop this train. We’ve got to just keep on rolling along until we make it to whatever our unknown destination may be. It may seem like we’ve reached a difficult leg in our journey, but most likely we are more ready for it than we can possibly know.
At least, I hope so.