Why Do I Feel Like Nothing Has Changed Since I Was 22—Even Though I’m Almost 30?

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A few months after I graduated from college, I started this website. I was 22 at the time.

Today, I’m 29.

Where the fuck did the time go? This is a statement I’ve made every single year since I started this website. When I turned 23, I was all like, ‘howwwww am I almost in my mid-20s?! I was just in college!’ When I turned 25, I was all like, ‘I swear I was just 22. How am I closer to 30 than 20 now?!’ When I turned 27, I was all like, ‘I feel like I’m too old to party now, but wasn’t I just 25 and at prime party age?!’ Then I turned 29 and I’m all like, ‘Well fuck, I’m less than a year away from turning 30, but I’m pretty sure I turned 26 the other day? How did we get here?’

Of course, time goes by faster as you get older. That is literally science. But what amazes me is how fast a decade can go by. How ten years can just… end. When I started Forever Twenty Somethings, I named it that because I figured the next eight years of my twenties would feel like ‘forever.’ I mean, when I was 22, eight years before then, I was 14! A lot happened in those eight years. I grew up, I tried new things, I had a lot of firsts, I changed, my life changed, my boobs changed (from A’s to D’s, no exaggeration).

But did as much change in the past eight years? As in from when I was 21 to 29? I’ve grown older, sure. I’ve matured (I guess, although the peeing scene in Austin Powers still gives me life). I’ve tried new things, like eating bone marrow. I had some firsts, like getting my first job and going to a Vegas pool party. But nothing crazy memorable happened like ‘a first kiss.’ I’ve changed, sure, but I’ve also stayed the same. And my life has changed, too (for ex: I live in a nicer apartment, I don’t go out as much, and I make more money), but TBH, I’m still the same piece of shit I was at 22 (and I probably will be forever, help).

Honestly, life is SO FUCKING WEIRD. Like, I know things have changed. I just wrote about the changes above. It’s not like this is ‘fake news.’ That shit actually happened. So WHY do I feel like nothing has changed? Why do I feel like I feel the same way I did when I was in my early-mid 20s? Is it because I never moved to a new city? Is it because I still have the same friends? Is it because my boobs didn’t grow three cup sizes and I’m still hovering between the same 10-15 pounds? Is it because I’m still wearing clothes I bought 5-6 years ago? Is it because I was blacked out for the majority of the past 10 years and can only remember four years worth of time? Why is it?!

I feel like when you graduate college, you assume you won’t have your next ‘big moments’ until you get married, have a kid, buy a house, etc. You know—those ‘life milestones’ that for some reason equate adulthood. And because I have not done any of those things yet, I feel like I’m still swimming around in adult limbo. Like, I’ve gotten older and I’ve done stuff, but what do I have to show for it?

On social media, I see all these people being like “omg, look at us now, so much has changed! we’re such adults.” And their lives have changed. They have kids. They dress differently. They don’t party. They own homes. Meanwhile, I’m still drowning myself in vodka sodas at the bar purposely not checking my bank account because I don’t want to know that my checking account has dipped into double digits. What you don’t know can’t hurt you, right?

Lately, I feel like I’ve been searching for things to get mad at myself about—like not saving enough money, not saying ‘yes’ enough to trips with friends, and not moving somewhere new over the past eight years. I get angry that I “wasted” my 20s going to mediocre jobs Monday through Friday and doing the same shit every Friday and Saturday. It feels like my life has stayed consistently the same, even though it really hasn’t. But compared to my youth, these past ten years were basically the same.

My thought process—and possibly your thought process too—is bullshit though. As I said above, my life has changed a lot. I’ve changed a lot. On social media, people probably think I’ve “adulted” to a higher degree than I actually have. I’m sure they notice the changes much more than I do. And I’m sure all those people who I think have changed feel like they haven’t changed much either.

Becoming an adult is all about figuring out who you are. I spent the majority of grade school doing that—even college. I tried to be a lot of things I wasn’t, and I tried to be interested in a lot of things I wasn’t. Over time, though, I became more aware of who I was and what I enjoyed. I figured out who my real friends were and started doing only the things I liked. Since I figured all of this out, things haven’t drastically changed, but isn’t that a good thing? Isn’t it a good thing that I know who I am, what I like, and who I enjoy spending time with?

My friends haven’t changed like they constantly did in my youth because I’m not a moody, confused teenager trying out friend groups. My interests haven’t changed like they constantly did either because I’ve actually figured out—and admitted—what they are. Like, I have no shame in my perfect day being Pure Barre or SoulCycle followed by Starbucks and shopping (and a night out with friends).

So no—things haven’t changed as much as they did when I was younger, and that’s okay. But that doesn’t mean nothing has changed in the past ten years. It doesn’t mean that something is missing. It doesn’t mean I didn’t do enough in my 20s. It means that I grew up, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that.

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