Taylor Swift’s release of “All Too Well (10 Minute Version) (Taylor’s Version)” has had me self-reflect — not necessarily on the heartbreak aspect, but on the idea of time passing. More specifically, the bittersweet feeling I have at the age of 21. No one prepares you for the reality of turning 21, being a senior and the moments leading up to post-grad lifestyle. Growing up, I always pictured 21 to be filled with carefree bliss, a time where nothing mattered but enjoying fun moments with friends. However, I would have to agree with Taylor Swifts’ new additional “All Too Well” lyrics when she says “It’s supposed to be fun turning 21.”
Although this lyric refers to Swift dealing with heartbreak around the time of her 21st birthday, I think this lyric encapsulates a lot more for any 21-year-olds listening. Throughout college, I remember longing for the clock to strike midnight on my 21st birthday. I expected it to be the best year yet. All of my friends and I would count down the days until this milestone birthday, as the younger side of our friend group couldn’t wait to catch up. And, as much fun as it has been, it has also been difficult.
Turning 21 brought on senior year of college, and with senior year came a whole lot of baggage that I never planned for. Maybe it is my own personal doing, but in my experience, turning 21 meant growing up. It was the start of adulthood that I didn’t see coming until it was too late. It was the beginning of the last days of college. The first of the lasts with my college friends before moving back out-of-state and going on our separate post-grad journeys. Turning 21 brought my last first day of school, my last sorority semi-formal and the last year before entering the real world. Every day, I find myself thinking about how much I am going to miss this, but I think what I miss is already behind me. I miss the feeling of being in my youth. The jump between 20 and 21 is one I never thought about. I was so eager for the jump that I didn’t realize how much I would miss it.
I don’t mean this to sound as if I have taken for granted any moment of being 21. I am thankful for the memories I have made. The ups and downs of this year have taught me some important life lessons. I don’t think I would describe the feeling of turning 21 as sad. I think I would just describe it as fearful. I am fearful for the next chapter of life. With that being said, I hope “feeling 22” won’t be as scary as it sounds, and that everything will be alright if we just keep dancing (queue “22 (Taylor’s Version)”).