By Aubrey Murtha – I just had my 20th birthday last week.
Most kids my age think that 20 really isn’t a big year. It doesn’t generate the excitement that a Sweet 16 promises. It’s not like 18, which brings with it adulthood and the right to vote, be drafted into the military and serve alcohol in some establishments. And speaking of alcohol, 20 pales in comparison to the very anticipated 21st day of birth.
Despite peoples’ claims that a 20th birthday is really just an excuse to eat cake, I’d argue that it is a special occasion for a number of reasons. After reflecting on my birthday, these are my insights:
1.) It is an excuse to eat cake. And cake is amazing. So this fact is actually proof that your 20th birthday is an integral 24-hour period during the calendar year.
2.) It is a reminder that you are another year wiser. Though you may not feel smarter or more experienced than you did at 19, trust that life has taught you a few things.
3.) You are no longer a teenager.
4.) To go with the above statement: Though 18 brings legal adulthood, I think 20 sounds more mature because your age no longer ends in “teen.” When somebody asks how old you are, and you reply, “20,” that person believes that they are dealing with a relatively responsible human being. Whether you are, in fact, responsible is up for grabs.
5.) You get to blow out 20 candles! On my birthday, my roommates “unknowingly” purchased trick candles, so my 20 candles actually felt more like 80.
6.) You’re learning a lot about yourself. Now, this may not be a result of turning 20, but I do think it is representative of your college years. You’re figuring out where your loyalties lay and discovering your passions and interests. Twenty is a great year to fine-tune this list.
7.) If you don’t already have one, you will likely begin thinking about renting an apartment in the near future. This is a gigantic leap into adulthood and something many people don’t think about until they reach their twenties.
8.) For many of us MU students, 20 is a “half-way through college” marker. Bring on these last two years, MU, because we are ready to take them on with all we’ve got.
9.) You’re two decades old. Two decades!
10.) You still have ten more years until your 30th birthday and twenty until your 40th. So you don’t have to worry about being labeled “old” just yet.
11.) Gifts become less important as you age. If you’re like me, turning 20 is more about spending time with your favorite people than it is about receiving some presents.
12.) (I’m only including this because you are all thinking it) Only 365 more days until your 21st.
13.) You still have ample time to make mistakes. At this age, the majority of mistakes you make will not result in life changing or devastating consequences. Be smart and use what you’ve learned these past 20 years to take the occasional calculated risk. If you fail, such is life. Learn from it. Let your twenties be a time to explore, try, and live it up.
14.) Every year is a gift. Heck, every day is a gift. Don’t skip out on an opportunity to celebrate life.
15.) You’re beginning your twenties. This decade brings with it exciting changes. For example, in two short years, you’ll finally know what it is like to not be in school for every waking moment. You’ll hopefully start earning an income. You’ll have enough money to begin saving for your future. This is big stuff, guys.
As you might see, there is a relatively common thread here (excusing #1, #5 and maybe some others). Twenty is an important year because it marks a time of great personal growth, intellectual development, and uninhibited learning. To my fellow 20-year-olds, particularly those of the MU Class of 2017, twenty is important. Make the most of what you have left of this big year.
Much love from me to you all.