Reflections After 22 Years of Being Alive on Planet Earth

(This is a long one and I’m really sorry so feel free to stop reading at any point or to skip it altogether! Offense will not be taken.)


Hello, it’s me again. I started writing this post about a month ago when my birthday had just passed, but obviously I got distracted and never finished it. You didn’t miss much. I am just 22 now instead of 21. No big deal… Just that my youth is running out and I’m really quite afraid of adulthood.


I must say I am a little terrified of growing up. I know 22 is technically grown up (please don’t remind me), but in my mind I’m so far from grown up it’s not even funny. See, the scary thing is that I am actually dreading the day when I have a serious responsibility (aka a real person job) that people count on me and only me to do, and to do well. In all honesty, I don’t have much faith in my ability to be the best at anything and if someone asked me in an interview why they should hire me over someone else I’d probably say “Good question!” But I don’t plan on graduating for another seven years so no need to worry about being a real world human being just yet!


Editor’s note (that is me, I am the editor): only a month after writing this I actually have a different perspective on aging. I’m kind of excited! Not for the real life job that keeps you from doing anything meaningful or happy ever again in your life, but just for getting older and growing into myself and learning not to care so much about what other people think. Lady Gaga talks about this in her Netflix documentary Five Foot Two which I highly recommend. I also learned this from a woman in my French group this semester who was 39. She told me and my other younger group members how great it is to get older and not be so concerned with other people’s opinions. I can’t wait to get there. I think it really is a growing process and not something that happens over night, but it is comforting to know that confidence and self-assurance just come with age and life experience. Turns out there is an upside to getting older after all!


Anyway, I am currently not writing the essay that is due in two days, because since turning 22 I have changed. Remember last year when I would have all my essays done and perfected at LEAST two days before they were even due? Usually the weekend before, even if they weren’t due until the following Friday. I was awesome. Who even was that girl? Now, this monster of a paper that is slowly but surely stripping me of any sanity I had left needs to be submitted in just two short days and I’ve done next to nothing (possibly exaggerating for dramatic effect- I’ve done some work but nothing I’m proud of in the least). The anxiety is rising. I clench my jaw in my sleep and wake up with a headache and major jaw pain. This happens most mornings now. So far, 22 is hard.


One could say my body is failing me. On paper, I’d say I look pretty perfect when it comes to health and balance. I go to my classes, go to the gym at least 3 times a week, walk home when the weather permits, eat a healthy vegan diet (not always the healthiest because SkipTheDishes has gotten the best of me, but I try like 80% of the time), and I put a lot of effort into my school work. Plus I work a part-time job after school tutoring kids (doesn’t that just make me sound extra great?) and then I go home and am in bed before 11 (on a good day). For a university student, I’d say that’s pretty darn balanced. But on the inside, I’m a ball of stress struggling to find meaning in any of the stuff I do on a daily basis and suffering because of it! Really though, I have a great life and I’m very fortunate to have the things that I have. But some days it’s extra hard to get out of bed and tell myself that my poetry class is important and is going to benefit my life in any real way. I’m sorry poetry lovers, but there’s only so much poetry a faux English major can take.


So I’ve been 22 for five days now (ed note: five days when I wrote this. It has now been a month and one day and things are surprisingly different- stay tuned for a brief update at the end!!! Only if you care, of course. If not then I don’t blame you but also why are you even reading this?). Five days is not that long, but the changes are real. I get weird white spots around my eyes and sort of all over my face. They’re like really, really tiny dots on my eyelids and around my eyebrows and under my eyes in that super sensitive skin area that you’re not supposed to drag or touch or even look at too long because wrinkles and permanent eye bags WILL form and you will never be the same again. So 22 is all about anti-aging. Actually, no, I’ve always been very proactive about that because I’m a skincare junkie who believes everything she reads on the internet and WILL pay $60 for a face cream. With a student budget?! Yes, with a student budget. Priorities, guys. Or maybe I’m just dumb and like throwing away money but oh well at least I won’t be wrinkly when I’m older and if I am I will be very upset, but oh well.


Oh well. That seems to be the phrase so far of 22. Oh well. Need to write that essay, but oh well. Probably shouldn’t spend money ordering SkipTheDishes again, but oh well. Probably shouldn’t drink when you feel sickness coming on and the last thing you need is a hangover, but oh well. There are a lot of “oh wells” in 22. There were also a lot of them before 22 as well. But oh well I guess.


Now that we’ve gotten the classic pessimism out of the way, since I can’t really post anything now without being at least somewhat negative and stressed about my life, let’s talk happy things. I had a great birthday! I especially loved that I got to do whatever I wanted and Michael couldn’t say anything about it (I promise I didn’t abuse my powers). The morning of my birthday Michael and I went for breakfast smoothies at my favourite health food bar and drove along Beach Drive to look at all the dreamy oceanfront houses that I will never be able to afford with a silly little BA. I then went to class, because I’m such a good student that I go to school even on my birthday! I got dropped off and picked up from school, which is a luxury for a public transportation taker like me, and then we went to play mini-golf since the weather was so sunny and beautiful like a true spring day (sorry Calgarians! No snow here!). We then went for sushi and returned home to recover from the food coma. We picked up some Riesling, my favourite wine, on the way home and drank it in the beauty of the golden hour before going to the grocery store to get an abundance of unhealthy treats like Oreos, a massive bag of popcorn, and a vegan pizza! Overall, a very happy day because food = happiness. (remember when I said I eat healthy 80% of the time? This was definitely in the 20% but… you know, oh well.)


Actually, the day before I turned 22 I witnessed a really scary thing. It was a beautiful sunny evening- one of those perfect spring nights when the golden hour hits around 7 o’clock and it’s still warm. (Oh, sorry, if you live in Calgary you may not be familiar with this). I was walking home from a hair appointment and a quick grocery shop when I saw a biker get hit by a car. I watched him lay non-responsive and convulsing on the road for 10 minutes before the ambulance arrived. Thank goodness he was wearing a helmet because the way he flung into the air and landed on his head would have without a doubt led to a far worse outcome if it weren’t for the barrier between his skull and the pavement. It was crazy that on what seemed to be a perfect night, just five minutes away from home, I witnessed something so horrible and temporarily traumatizing. It shook me to my core and for about all of three days I was so on edge about anyone I loved doing anything that could be even remotely dangerous. I realized how quickly and easily our lives can change. But like most minor traumatic experiences, the irrationally cautious behaviour wore off after a few days and I was back to normal. I just hope the guy who was hit is okay. Something that changed my perspective of life just for a couple days could have changed his life forever.


So folks, what I learned is that there are some “oh wells” that are not “oh wells” at all. Like not wearing a helmet, or a seatbelt, or doing something else that’s just stupid. You may think you look stupid in your helmet, but OH WELL. You may think it’s lame to wear a seatbelt, but OH WELL. It just might save your life. So many bad things happen just because people make stupid choices and it’s so not worth it. Especially if you’re spending $60 on face cream so you can look young and beautiful when you’re 45. Don’t you want to make it to 45 to make sure that $60 investment was worth it?! Pick your “oh wells” wisely.


Well, that took a serious and somber turn. To end on a positive note, this is present day Tal here and I’ll have you know that my phenomenal and studious self is back in action as I have just completed my final essay that is not due until Friday. AKA I finished it three days early AKA overachieving hermit girl is back and better than ever. Just one exam stands between me and sweet, sweet freedom (until its back to the summer job grind, of course). Oh and also, I don’t wake up with headaches and jaw pain anymore! And the white spots around my eyes are pretty much gone! It’s amazing what happens when your workload and stress levels decrease significantly! Oh, the joys of school. I know a certain level of stress is healthy and normal, but when is it actually too much? That’s a topic for another day. For now, I am just happy to be nearing the end of another year of my trusty higher education (to be read with a Southern drawl).


That’s all for today. This has been yet another messy jumble of thoughts and I applaud you if you’re still reading! See you soon my Calgarians! Please perform an anti-snow dance or something because I am now a BC girl and have no interest in coming home to a snowy spring.


Tal

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