"22 was like the worst idea that I have ever had..."

*Disclaimer: I haven’t been 22 since January, but…*

Seeing this Paramore song quoted on someone’s story for their 22nd birthday reminded me of a conversation I had a few months back with a different person, who told me, “Yeah, they say everyone hates you when you’re 23…”

I imagine this has something to do with the actual fact of being 23. It’s kind of an awkward time, to speak really clearly. All of a sudden you’ve finished you’re schooling, and you’re looking to integrate into “the real world,” “the work force,” and trying to be “an adult,” who “contributes to society.” Coming with those transitions are the possibilities that you’re likely the youngest person on your work team, have the least amount of experience, are still learning how to manage your time, and maybe have the most energy out of all the people on your team… which can be seen as a positive or a negative, depending on your viewpoint! It’s also likely that you face new challenges of being able to connect with your coworkers who could be at much different stages of life than you. AND at the same time, you’re all of a sudden TOO OLD, and have TOO MANY RESPONSIBILITIES to be able to really connect with people much younger than you.

WHERE DO I FIT IN?!?!? WHAT’S THE POINT OF BEING 23 IF NOBODY WANTS ME?!?!?

***Update: 23 year olds (along with many other 20 something’s/ young adults) are indeed necessary and play a vital part in maintaining the equilibrium of today’s current society.***

I have really, really enjoyed the relationships that I’ve been able to build with my coworker and her 16 year old daughter after moving in next door to them. I’m claiming the 16 year old as my little sister, and she has been such a good friend to me these past few months.

A few weeks ago, “my little sister” and her friend came running up to me, giddy, and asked if I wanted to come to a thrift store with them to do some clothes shopping later on that week. I was a little confused, because I obviously knew I was too old to really “be their friend,” and wondered if they just wanted me to talk with the moms during the trip, so the girls could have more fun with their own conversations. It took some time, but eventually it dawned on me, that the girls had come up with the idea of inviting me, not to entertain their moms, but indeed, to replace their moms- to be “the responsible adult” on this shopping trip.

I was taken aback at first. A conversation with the mother, “Wait, so- Oh, like, … so you wouldn’t… So I’d be… You TRUST ME?!”

I was nervous at first! What if the girls were going to act up and start causing trouble, or what if they wanted me to act like I was their age instead of a 23 year old… how does a 23 year old act anyways?! And most importantly, what if someone died?!

But, I’d like to share with you all, that it was indeed an enjoyable day. The girls waited until I got off work then we left from the church. We went to the coolest thrift store on our side of town, took our time browsing and laughing, then went to a different store and repeated the process there. We did this until we had browsed nearly all the thrift stores on our side of town. Then we shoved all our thrifty purchases in someone’s backpack, and started our walk back towards the church so we could drop off “my little sister’s” friend. Utterly exhausted, but with our new-old clothes, we shared animated stories with her parents, then said our goodbyes and headed to our house.

Upon arrival at my apartment (and silence), I pulled my phone out of my pocket and realized I had about 6 missed calls… from both girls’ parents. Whoops! This 23 year old forgot to check her phone! I quickly texted an apology and thanks to the more worried parents, wondering if a day like this would ever be allowed again. But to my surprise, the mother texted back, “You are incredible! Thanks for taking them. She really needed to do something with YOUNG people, WITHOUT her parents!! Today was a blessing.

And then it hit me… being 23 can come in really handy. That day I was able to fill a role that, to be honest, not many other people at our church or in our current community could fill very well right now. Yeah, I’m thankful to be 23.