Feelin' 22

Have you guys seen Taylor Swift's new music video for her song "22"?

It goes a little something like this:

I was innocently surfing Buzzfeed a couple of days ago and came across a piece about a parody of this music video, simply entitled "32". I actually watched the parody first:

I got a good chuckle out of it, so I decided to watch the real music video to see if I had been missing out on anything. And then a (not so) surprising thing happened: I cried. I'm not talking a few tears welling up in my eyes, either. I'm talking a full on thirty seconds of real crying, with sounds and everything.

The tears passed fairly quickly, but the emotions did not, and I've been mulling it over ever since. What about that bubbly and happy music video tugged at my heartstrings in such a way that it created a visceral, physical reaction in the form of crying? Granted, lots of things have been making me cry for quite awhile now (a phenomenon I'm starting to document on my Twitter in the form of a #thingsthatmademecrytoday hash tag), from cute puppies to heart-wrenching stories to ridiculous television commercials, but usually my eyes just get a little wet; this was something completely different.

Nostalgia might be the best way to explain it; nostalgia for the past, nostalgia for the times in my life I felt the way the music video depicts, and nostalgia for what didn't happen. I never had a gaggle of girlfriends like that to lay on the beach with and "stay up dreaming instead of sleeping". I've had a smattering of groups here and there, but they were never incredibly deep and intimate; I've always preferred one-on-one contact. But there are times when I yearn for what never was. I find myself wishing to be able to say "me and my girls". However, I am also aware that the times I want to be able to say that are the times when I am romanticizing what "my girls" would really mean, which usually means I want my life to be like a Taylor Swift music video. In reality, I know that "my girls" would be a completely different scenario, often ending in the kind of drama that made me eschew close friendships with big groups of girls in the first place, namely the drama of late elementary school and junior high.

Beyond just the company Taylor is keeping in that music video, though, is the entire scene she is painting. "We're happy free confused and lonely at the same time/It's miserable and magical", she sings.  There is so much truth in those words. I have felt that, dude. So many times. And I miss it. Sometimes I feel like the anxiety about life, love, work, etc. welling up inside of me is due to a lack of that freedom. I miss my life being miserable and magical at the same time. Now the misery and the magic still come to me, but in separate packages. Did I lose the ability to hold them in my hands at the same time and mash them together, or is that just "real life"? Is the fact that I can simultaneously relate to the video for "22" and the parody for "32" a good thing or a bad thing? Is there a way it's supposed to be? These are the things I wonder.

I think that what it comes down to is that in my daily life I'm feelin' 32, but in general, I'm feelin' 22.

I am actually 26.

Most of the time I feel completely lost, and unworthy of being called an adult. I felt okay with the lostness in my early twenties; that's how I felt it was supposed to be, so I embraced it. Now, I am stuck with the sudden urgency of Being A Grown Up. You are not supposed to be such a mess, I tell myself.You act far too immature for your age. Get it together, woman.

 I find myself wondering how girls four years younger than me can (seemingly) be so filled with wisdom and grace when at their age I was, and still am, light years away from achieving either of those. I want to go back to feeling okay with the lostness. I want to stay up late, ditch the deadlines, hope and dream and act without thinking, be spontaneous, say what I mean, feel the tiny butterfly twinges of optimism and excitement about the possibilities of the future.

And that, I acknowledge, is all possible. It is up to me to make my 26 the new 22, yes? I mean, who else is going to do it? I've given up control of myself and my thoughts and actions and instead have handed the reigns to my monkey mind and its ridiculous notions that I have to "act my age" and "be and do precisely this way or that way at all times". It's a mishmash of perfectionism and freaking out that I might be doing it all wrong. At 22, I thought I had all the time in the world to get it all figured out, and at 26, it seems that I think all the time in the world has come to pass, and I should just be there, already, wherever there is. So I wax nostalgic about the "old days" instead of trying to figure out how to bring my mindset from those days into the present day. And that's just silly and unproductive.

Food for thought.