You are 23. You started from the bottom now you're...here.
This is the age where people expect you to have your shit together, and yet, you feel as though you have none of the resources required to do so. You have suddenly become really bad at making decisions. You are officially too old to be on your parents health coverage, so you're not even allowed to get violently ill. You are floating in the desolate inbetween- a page ripped straight out of the 'The Lovely Bones'; too old to find staying out all night at your local tavern appealing, yet too young to settle into the mundane patriarchy of society. Your liver has taken a year long sabbatical.
You are finished college and are working full time but your life is at a stand-still. You have no idea how to pay your own taxes. You wonder if anyone actually knows how to pay their own taxes. The student loan in your pocket is weighing you down like an anvil, holding you back from purchasing all of the clothes from Forever21. It's not fair. You are fresh to the career world yet you still say things like, 'I think it's time I retired,' like you've earned it, or, 'I'm just going to work from home.' You are on your 3rd vehicle.
Welcome to your freshman year of adulthood. You can finally relate to Blink 182's 'What's My Age Again?' because nobody likes you when you're 23. Seriously. You're constantly frustrated because your parents don't understand you, and you can't relate to your teenage nephews who seemingly became way cooler than you. They don't want to borrow your game boy advance or watch videos of your cat doing nothing. Your niece believes you are 13 because you are not tall enough to be a grown-up. Life is hard.
A vast majority of your friends now have houses, are planning weddings, and are popping out children. You scroll through your Facebook newsfeed and contemplate whether or not you should upload another photo of your cat or, better idea, adopt ANOTHER cat, then decide against it. Your mind often wanders back to your high school career; your glory days. Your hilarious and witty banter in the English classroom and your certificate for best supporting actress in theater. Your bedtime is now either 7:00pm or 3:00am. You eat a lot of fast food because you have too many bad hair days to get real groceries. You're permanently tired, even if you have done nothing, and you convince yourself it is because you have contracted some strange disease from a public toilet seat and refuse to be tested. You will die alone.
Your favorite nights are spent one on one with your cat, drinking wine and reading poetry, or occasionally, inviting your best friend over to drink wine with you and yell at your computer screen for various unknown reasons. Teen angst is no longer an excuse. You have not been a teenager for 300 years. Your life is less of a Nicolas Sparks movie and more of a Hey Arnold episode.
When asked what you enjoy doing by your peers you scrunch up your face and mumble something about couch naps. You are single and being pushed into the dating pool (which you come to realize is very shallow), and find it exhausting to introduce yourself to random strangers over cheap glasses of cab sav. When someone suggests your tempestuous attitude may be linked with your single status, you throw a 'Live, Laugh, Love' poster at their face. You say mature things like, 'If you don't want to date me, that's fine. But you're wrong and I hate you.' You then realize you felt more mature and in control at 20. People expected less and so you delivered more.
The only advice you are ever offered is to 'embrace it, enjoy it, these are the best years of your life!' You kindly thank them and retreat to your hole in the sofa. BUT (and yes, there is a but) there will be days where 23 isn't so bad. Days when people's expectations are so dangerously low that you surprise them, even make them proud, days when your hair is shiny and your eyebrows are on point, days where you are thankful you can still sleep in without the wailing of a child or the snore of a husband, and best of all: the days when you look in the mirror and actually enjoy being 23.