22 is too young to be feeling this negative. That’s what my father told me last night and I can’t say that he’s wrong. 22 is too young for a lot of the ways that I’ve come to define myself: cynical, tired, curmudgeonly in the face of Excel tutorials. And yet here I am, 22 with a glass half empty and an unshakable desire to skip to the last page of a book I’ve all but completely written off. Because hey, the twenties are a lot like the last Harry Potter book: full of hasty narrative choices and a needless amount of time spent alone in the woods. But, unlike Harry Potter, who had his teen years and a genocidal wizard lord to justify his angst, I just have my feelings. And my free childhood home. And a lifetime of institutional privilege. And a father who is still alive to tell me I’m negative.
So, what do I do? Do I feel guilty that I’m not as happy as I should be or do I take the Inside Out approach, and just feel Joy that it’s okay to be Sad?
Do I cry it out now and feel bad, and miss my boyfriend, and hope that I can wake up tomorrow and go to work and feel like a person instead of an ungrateful garbage monster?
Do I just take a deep breath and admit that maybe my dad, no matter how well intentioned, was wrong? I am feeling negative but I’m not too young to do so.
The thing about being 22 is that there’s a seemingly never-ending amount of emotions, questions, and choices. There’s no Dark Lord to slay, but the path to self improvement is just as daunting. Answers still need to be found. Excel still needs to be learned.
Today, I choose to not to feel bad about feeling bad. I choose to listen to my family while still accepting that I may not (or may) have the maturity to implement their advice. Tonight, I choose to shut off Excel and save self-improvement for the next chapter. Harry out.