Last Saturday a good friend of mine got married.
As I stood on the alter in my royal blue bridesmaid dress and watched her and her dad cry on their walk down the aisle, I wondered to myself, “am I really old enough for this?”
Being a 20-something is bizarre. One minute I am independent and secure, and the next minute I want to crawl into bed and revert back to childhood.
I look at the kids I babysit and I sometimes long for the childhood innocence they possess. To them, everything is fun and worth exploring. Their lives are carefree and a lot like mine was in elementary school.
As I’ve settled into D.C. and worried about bills and employment, my friends have been getting engaged, married, and pregnant. Not all of them, obviously, but enough to force me to notice that suddenly, I’ve grown up.
I’ve grown up, but sometimes I still feel like a big kid. I can still play kickball, sleep in on the weekends, and eat crackers and hummus for dinner and not have to worry about other peoples’ livelihoods besides my own. My friends and I still giggle like we’re in elementary school, gossip like middle schoolers, and stay up late chatting online about boys like we did in high school. Despite all the living we’ve done since those days, some things never change.
In just a few months of being a 20-something in a big US city, I’ve learned a lot about the friends I have and had; about what kind of people I want in my life. The people I know who are open minded, relaxed, and inquisitive are the most exciting to me. I’ve been learning to let go of toxic people, and to hold on to those who will forever have something to teach me.
I’ve learned to incorporate lessons from abroad into my American routine (patience and curiosity). Curiosity keeps D.C. exciting. By discovering new places and people in the city it will feel like traveling when I can’t afford to jet off somewhere. Curiosity helped me find delicious Indian food not far from where I live, a perfect place for reading, and new friends who have let me take my time getting settled into one city.
And patience is what kept me calm during (F)unemployment, which I am in no longer, I got a job and will start on Monday at a global health NGO in D.C. I’m so fortunate to have gotten something in the field I really wanted! Unemployment was one of those things that would have gotten me in a tizzy pre-India, but after living in the crazy city of Delhi, nothing seems to hard anymore.
So am I really old enough for this? Sure, but not too old just yet. In just a few months of being a 20-something in a big US city, I’ve accomplished a lot. I’ve grown up, but not too much to be unrecognizable. I think being a 20-something is a weird in-between stage of life: we’ve been thrown responsibilities resembling adulthood, but still have a lifestyle similar to college kids. Some of my friends may be married, and I may be old enough to do so, but that doesn’t mean I’m ready. Being 22 means I can go at my own pace. I’m just trying to figure it all out.