Ushering in a New Season: My Reflections on 20 years Old
Happy Monday pleasant people.
Well, what can I say! It’s been far too long since I’ve posted anything on this site.
Not to worry, my interest in this precious space is not lost, the intent to write is still alive, but truth be told, lately, my drive has been in other directions.
So…What has Samantha been up to?
I suppose that a life update would have served as a better reintroduction post, but here’re the facts:
I’m 4 months into my 21st year of life, nearing graduation, and have ample amounts i could talk about.
All this to say, I’m going to focus in on one thing today. You see, recently, I’ve been getting some common questions from those around me, that I’m finally deciding to tackle.
“Do you feel old now?” (um, yes)
“Wow, don’t you feel all grown up?” (What exactly does “all grown up” feel like?)
“You must be so glad that you're almost done school?” (Almost done school?!...this must be a misconception, as I have several years of schooling still ahead of me).
“Aren’t you excited to move past this phase, and finally get on with your life?” (But, wait, what if I actually enjoy ‘this phase’…whatever that phase is).
“There’s no need to stress, you’re going to go far” (again, am I? Please show me the map, and I will gladly follow)
“You’re going to have so much freedom once you graduate” (if freedom and added responsibilities are now synonyms, then sure…how liberating….(do you smell my sarcasm)
All jokes aside, upon turning the universally-legal-age that is 21, It appeared as if, I was somehow expected to be equipped with a long list of age-old knowledge to bestow on fellow peers, pre-adolescents, and parents alike. I felt a thick cloud of obligation pass over my head. The common theme of all these inquisitions seems to be that by now, I must’ve generated some significant wisdom, ground-breaking-awareness, or concrete plans in life, that I should’ve been itching to share with everyone…
But, that’s not exactly the case.
Age is such an arbitrary concept. We attach so much meaning and milestones to a number. I remember as a little girl, envisioning my future-self, Miss adult Samantha. Flashing back to the childhood conception of my grown self, what do we see?
Reminiscing through the lens of her great imagination reveals a woman who looked far more put together, haha. All I can say is that she had many more boxes checked off her list of ‘life goals’.
Several years later, fresh realities hit, goals change, and that juvenile list continues to be defined and redefined accordingly (sometimes even daily). Every new life experience clarifies my belief that this whole ‘growing-up” thing is going to be a life-long process.
Funnily enough, I think most journeying through a similar phase/age in life as myself, will confidently agree with me, that our minds are still a little bit a mess most days, (whether our movements are showing it or not).
Even though I hid it well, initially, I got fairly anxious and agitated when trying to answer these repetitive questions.
Despite my demeanour, I felt behind in particular trajectories. To keep things short, I lost passion in the profession I thought I wanted to pursue. I experienced self-inflicted burnout, and my health had me tethering up and down making it hard to show up in the world.
I’m aware I’m being rather vague but it’s on purpose.
These hiccups make countless topics for future content where I can go into greater detail. Forgive me for how trivial these ‘issues’ are but, thankfully, my mindset has drastically shifted. I no longer feel as though I’m playing catch up, in fact, I’ve never been more confident, comfortable, and eager to converse about the minor uncertainties of the future/adulthood
…and I’ll explain why shortly.
That being said, I am getting older, and without a doubt learning a thing or two. After dedicating some time to truly reflect on the chaos that was Samantha’s twentieth year-of-life my first response is that... It’s been a bit of a TRIP.
I spent the plurality of age 20, doing a lot of self-socializing
(aided by many pensive long walks around random neighbourhoods, and frustrating talks with the Lord, LOL).
It was surprisingly overwhelming, yet exciting. Often times the stones that God throws on our paths- the one we tend to stubbornly believe exist to trip us up- actually are there to reroute us in the best way possible. It’s up to us to have the faith to follow them. He really tested me during my first year outside of my teens, haha, BUT I’m better for it.
“Psychosocial moratorium.”- That’s where I’ve been at for the greater part of this past year.
Initially introduced to me during a lecture in my intro level psych class, I distinctly remember laughing at the concept. But friends…those giggles are gone. Let’s all be humbled together, for this phase of prolonged adolescence is real.
The concept was coined by a well-known psychologist Eric Erikson. In basic terms, Erikson describes this as a state of personality development where individuals find their sense of self. It’s the phase for an unapologetic time of exploration.
Others say it’s a period of permissible identity crisis. One where fellow young adults, like myself, start to question who we are. During this phase we attempt to determine our, religious beliefs, careers, how we want to contribute to society.
It’s also the time where many will refine their friend groups; Maybe you feel a push to go digging into your family roots, ancestry, and begin to worry about finding (or securing) a life partner.
On their own, none of these questions appear unique. What makes the young adult time frame so critical is that we are trying to develop answers for all of these curiosities at once. Traditionally, occurring around the age of 18, psychologists suggest, the majority of this development is now taking place until age 25.
Truth is while growing up with technology has made us more advanced in several ways, (apparently) it also is contributing to an extension in our ability to transition from adolescents/young adult, in-full blown adult status.
Today’s, first world teenagers, even children, can run a business from their phone, have a side hustles, publish their creative work online, generate an income from social media platforms. Yes, we live in an era where 8 year old can be entrepreneurs. It’s fairly unique.
Personally, I don’t think the concept of generating a stable income, graduating, getting a 9-5, buying a starter home, as being effective markers of adulthood. Unlike previous generations, the rite of passage moments that once define the entrance into “adulthood” are no longer concrete.
No wonder our culture has landed into a slightly longer phase of say is that the transition from one phase of life to another is not as simple to outline as it once was.
It’s not pure laziness. We’re not necessarily moving at a leisurely pace either. Certainly, we’re progressing. Just at different rates within new contexts, OK?!
Maybe I’m speaking myself BUT, I say that we’re just a little lost and just need more time to locate ourselves and our skill sets.
Perhaps for some of us, the age-old question “What do you want to be when you grow up?” is better posed, post gaining a first degree rather than getting a high school diploma. Far easier to answer now than my senior year, that’s for sure! Without getting too cynical, for me it had a lot to do with finding a way to marry social responsibility, servant leadership, and being successful in a capitalist society.
Personally, it wasn’t until this past year’s events that revealed to me what I wanted to dedicate my professional life too. A field that even a year ago, I would have written off ever working in (more on this later).
Our conception of the world is hardly complete at the age of 18, let alone our sense of selves! It’s okay to be scratching your head a little.
I know my audience, and right now I speak directly to all my peers in a similar place as I was.
Our current reality is this: we now reside in an era of extended adolescence. Therefore, breathe my friends, you are not behind, and you don’t need to catch up. Nevertheless, upon digesting this, I do believe there’re a few things to consider. Frankly, we need to take advantage of this longer lease of “less responsibility” and make some moves. It’s important to avoid staying idle. Quite oppositely make the most of this transitional period, by getting out of your comfort zone! Exposure, exposure, exposure. Read, then question constantly, be critical, consume new media, volunteer, pick up new skills, take some time to reflect on the individual you are growing into, find a mentor, and most importantly talk to a diverse array of people- parents, professors, professionals, and peers!
Do something that is outside of your status quo, apply for the job you think you’re under qualified for. I think you get the point… I’m hopeful that your opportunities, experiences, and adversities will also lead you stumbling into some sense of clarity in your personal and professional pursuits.
Circling back to the intro of this post, what is this wisdom I curated, that I should be so keen to spill to you all?!
Even though so much clarity has flourished this complicated year, my primary conclusion is one that may not be so satisfying…
I thought it was going to be easy to sit down and come up with a long list of great things I learned this past year, but as I began, the task turned out to be extremely challenging. Partially, due to the effort, it required of me to spend reflecting about all the chaos that culminated, but mostly because there’s isn’t one, key defining sentiment I can speak to.
In other words, for me, there’s no single most impactful lesson that stood out.
Obviously, by nature of being a student, there's all the academic knowledge I continue to gather. Additionally, there are ample amounts of realisations from time spent in different relationships, and with friends. Then, after facing the fact that it’s time to quit running from several hard truths- we all have them- and confront them instead, resulted in the development of improved levels of discernment.
A lot of the lessons that proved to be most valuable were not new. In fact, I can say it’s been the year of finally putting all the clichés of life into action. All the common things we know to be true, or redundant rhymes and morals that we’ve just been brushing off- well I’m picking them all backup. You know, the things that our parents told us when we were younger, or the feeling from our innate moral compass that knows best. Imagine a constant voice whispering, “I told you so”, or confronting the joyful consequences of several “you know better”, moments.
Yes- It’s a chapter saturated with multiple, familiar, yet impactful instances.
Not necessarily novel ones.
So, sorry fam, I’m not a new woman, but thanks to the Lord our Saviour, haha, I’m an evolved one.
RENEWED, calm, and far more level headed.
As I get back into the swing of this blogging thing, I reckoned that a month worth of themed posts would be a good way to re-position myself into sharing my thoughts with the world. May, will be the month dedicated to a short series of: Lessons I learned at 20. Here’s my attempt to showcase my gathered thoughts, lessons, and reflections on my twentieth year of life.
Collectively these posts will be a completion of several tidbits of two cents that I’ve collected this far from my experiences in this beautiful broken mess of a world, in which we reside.
April showers bring Mayflowers right? Well, the rainy season is over.
I have enough say, and it’s about time the thoughts begin to blossom once again.
Alas, I invite you all to stay tuned, my friends. I promise I’m working on refining my rambling.
Until then, that’s just me...