I’m old at 21.

People say “I’m old” all the time. They could be over 55, or younger than someone not even old enough to get into the bars. If age doesn’t determine what is “old”, then am I old already? I’m 21 and so young. And sometimes so “old.” I don’t want to party 3 nights in a row anymore; two is enough. I’m fine with sitting at home, reading a book. Drinking tea at the coffee shop. Writing a thank you note instead of texting my friend a quick thanks. I listen to Billie Holiday with my doors closed, louder than my singing. I’d rather write than type out my letters. I write letters. With my hand. I’m old to the young ones.

And I’m so young. I haven’t seen the world. I haven’t had my heart broken. I haven’t gone through a horrible struggle that has helped me gain deep insight and wisdom. I’m far from wise.

I’m not old at 21. This is my peak. I’m at a perfect turning point where I’m old enough to act like a young person, and young enough to get away with it. At this point, I’m so focused on the one thing that will be here quicker than I can get my life together. Graduation is going to kick me out the door, hand me my suitcase, and few dollars to buy myself some courage so I can be a big girl and get a job. Does this mean I’m old? Grad school means I’m a big girl with other big girls, that have no problem being old. This is scary.

And at the same time, I’m so scared of the big girl, the “old” girl, that is going to kick butt and leave a mark where I want to leave one. She’s not only old, but she’s wise. She likes to make appearances here and there when I’m given a challenge, but what happens when she’s here for good? Will that make me old?


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