Me at 20

9 Oct


Inspired by this post about being 20 years old and what that means.

Twenty was a big year for me.  Looking back, it was maybe The big year.  The year where all the things that make me who I am today were set in motion.  The year I was presented with some of my first Important Life Lessons, and the year I completely failed to figure out what most of them meant.

Twenty was a turning point.

At 20 years old, I was in graduate school at the University of Utah.  I was studying social work and interning at Valley Mental Health and eating a lot of Swedish Fish and cream cheese bagels from the Marriott Library.

It’s funny how certain foods are associated with certain times.

It’s funny how I don’t eat Swedish Fish much anymore.

At 20 years old, I was positive I knew how my life would go.  I knew what career I would have.  I knew what boy I would be with.  I knew that everything was about to come together in my life, finally!  Finally it seemed, things were about to all fall into place.

It would take me four years to quit the career I had at 20.

It would take me a very, very, very long time to quit the boy I had at 20.  In fact, we might call 20 the beginning of my Kate Moss “years and years of tears” phase.

At 20 years old, my very best friends in the world and I were all single.  My first best friend got married later that year and from there, one by one, my favorite people suddenly found new favorite people.  And while these girls remain my kindred souls, 20 was the last time our friendships were so carefree and spontaneous and silly.

Twenty was the year grownup friendships began.

At 20 years old, I went to Europe for the first time.  It was a point of personal pride that I made this trip happen, that I got my passport, that I planned it all out with my best friends.  It was the culmination of a lifelong dream and an event that proved I could live the life I imagined.  When I touched down on British soil for the first time and heard The Beatles playing in the bathrooms at Heathrow I thought, “Yes.  This is for me.”

Three years later I returned with a working visa in hand.

At 20 years old, my parents moved back to Utah from Kentucky.  This move was something I had eagerly anticipated for over two years, something I was certain would fix all the troubles in my life.   At 20,  I believed I had two main problems, and between This Move and That Boy, all the things wrong in my life would be magically right.

What a simple, and difficult lesson it is to learn that no one event, certainly no one boy can fix all the problems in my life.

At 20 years old, I saw the Spice Girls in concert.  I flirted with a man named Romeo at an outdoor restaurant in Italy.  I watched the Olympics in Trafalgar Square.  I graduated with my MSW.  I got my first job.  I started a 401K.

I became a grownup way too young, but then again, I was always a grownup way too young.  It was this premature  adulthood, this rigid idea of what my life would be and the ultimate crumbling of that imagined future that spurred my quarterlife crisis now simply referred to as “Malibu.”

That 20-year-old Jill, man.

That silly, wonderful, thought-she-knew-what-“finally”-meant,  20-year-old Jill.

I can’t escape her.

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7 Responses to “Me at 20”

  1. Linnea October 9, 2013 at 7:51 am #

    Love this. Now I want to reflect on my own 20-year-old self…isn’t it crazy how quickly life changes?

    In Anne of the Island (one of the sequels to Anne of Green Gables, if you aren’t a fan) she says something when she turns 20 about having been certain that her character would be fixed at that point – I can’t remember it exactly but now I must go find said quote. Will return,

  2. Linnea Farnsworth October 9, 2013 at 7:56 am #

    “Miss Stacy told me long ago that by the time I was twenty my character would be formed, for good or evil. I don’t feel that it’s what it should be. It’s full of flaws.”

    “So’s everybody’s,” said Aunt Jamesina cheerfully. “Mine’s cracked in a hundred places. Your Miss Stacy likely meant that when you are twenty your character would have got its permanent bent in one direction or ‘tother, and would go on developing in that line. Don’t worry over it, Anne.”

    There we go. If you had asked me at 20 where I thought I’d be when I was 26, it would be NOTHING like where I am now. And yet that silly 20-year-old is still a part of me today, and was a step toward getting where I am now.

    • jillianlorraine October 9, 2013 at 11:39 am #

      Thank you for bringing Anne Shirley into this. I love that quote.

  3. Laura Money October 11, 2013 at 8:06 am #

    This is so great! Made me want to cry. And Linnea??? Also so profound. You girls are smaaaart.

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