Young & Consumed

I am a 22 year-old American. I’m middle class, in college, and healthy. On paper I should be happy but reality is quite different from surface level facts as many of us know. I think age means something different than what it did 20 years ago or even 10. I don’t feel 22 most of the time.

Teenagers becoming millionaires makes me feel like an old aimless failure of a person. The fact that an attractive person not old enough to drink can make two year’s-worth an average person’s salary by posting on Instagram blows my mind. When I look around me I feel young, the amount of people in my area are mostly middle aged or older; content in life. When people around my age get married I feel a mix of “I’m young and shouldn’t be concerned with being in a serious relationship” and “Jesus, why am I still single if my peers are already beginning their lives with another person?” At times I feel like I should be empowered in my youth and see the world as mine to conquer but it’s not as easy as it sounds. The next day I could see myself fading away into a job I hate and living alone, drinking myself to sleep every night and coming to family functions with a fake smile.

I sit in class and compare myself. Half of them don’t look old enough to be in college while the other half are married or almost there. I seem to fit in the middle, the “still figuring things out” group of 20 somethings frequently depicted in awkward humor TV. The funny thing is it’s accurate. I’m also the only one in my friend group with no significant other which leaves me as the single gay who stereotypically just likes to hook up and not commit but that’s only half-true.

The truth is loneliness, insignificance, and uncertainty doesn’t care if you’re 22 or 87; they can consume you. The question is how you deal with their persistence. Good luck, my friends.

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