Two months ago (or so) I turned 22. Yay me! That's like two eleven year olds being combined into one person after not dying and then continuing to not die. How proud my parents must be of my vitality. That's over two decades. That's longer than the Vietnam War, over twice as long as the American Revolution, and more than three times longer than the Second World War. (I use wars because people are typically very aware of their existence, as I am of mine.)
22 years. A long time, no?
And yet, it isn't. I've only been out of regular schooling since last May. I've never owned my own apartment or my own home. Hell, I've never had a dog that's just mine. It's not something I'm unhappy about, or insecure about. I feel pretty cheerful about being young the vast majority of the time, and I think my relative immaturity and uncertainty are both normal. They're products of youth - or so I assume - and one day I will grow up, move on, and be very stable and witheringly mature. But, as I am happy to assert, I am not quite there yet.
What weirds me out on a weekly basis is that a lot of my peers are.
At least once a week I get a notification about someone getting engaged, or I'll go to send a message to an old friend and discover that they're married or pregnant, and the frequency of this is increasing so rapidly I am bewildered. They're my age! My age or younger! How can they feel so ready for these things, so sure, when I'm still uncertain over whether I should have a peanut butter or grilled cheese sandwich for lunch?
I can't imagine getting married right now. Sure, I like weddings as much as the next girl - they're pretty, everyone wears nice clothing, the bride and groom always look happy, and hey, who doesn't love a good party? Not to mention eternal love, soul mates, fidelity and the support of people who care about you. Let's not forget those. It's just not the sort of thing I can picture for myself as I am right now, and that carries on to other people when I see their engagement announcements. I can't help but think, Really? Now? But you're so young! You're as young as I am!!
My generation is growing up. I know that. Yet even as part of it, even as I recognize that I myself am growing up and out into the world, I still marvel and worry over all of us and whether we're really, truly, honest to God ready.