I turned 23 a little under a month ago. I've had to take an extra year in my undergrad due to illness and lack of funds in my third/fourth years of school. I feel so insecure when I realise that I should be starting on my Masters', not still working on my undergrad, and I'm not even doing honours. Heck, some people even get their first degree done in three years!
As I sat on the bus headed to class this afternoon, Lily Allen's "22" popped up on my iPod. I was a fan of her first album, but I was a little late to the party on checking her second album "It's Not Me, It's You" out, and so I added it to my iPod rotation in hopes that I'd get gradually introduced.
When she was 22 the future looked bright
But she's nearly 30 now and she's out every night
I see that look in her face, she's got that look in her eye
She's thinking how did I get here and wondering why
It's sad but it's true how society says her life is already over
There's nothing to do and there's nothing to say
'Til the man of her dreams comes along
Picks her up and puts her over his shoulder
It seems so unlikely in this day and age
She's got an alright job but it's not a career
Whenever she thinks about it, it brings her to tears
'Cause all she wants is a boyfriend, she gets one night stands
She's thinking how did I get here, I'm doing all that I can
Anyway, I wasn't sure what I was listening to when the song started, but when I heard the lyrics I found myself hooked. Lily Allen's lyrics sound like some of the songs I've written in the past, with some lines in particular standing out, and they got me thinking...
We are a youth-obsessed culture, and that really goes without saying. But I get the feeling that that doesn't just start at age 30. We're always being one-upped by those who are younger than ourselves. Maybe I've read too much into my copy of "Ender's Game", watching episodes of Naruto, reading about 12-year-old prodigies going to university, and seeing young kids using cell phones, but it's a worrying trend.
We're asking kids to grow up faster, and telling grown-ups they're inadequate because they haven't gotten a degree/married/chosen a career/had a baby/paid off their student loan/retired/bought a car/bought a house, etc. at as young of an age as they should have.
At the same time, we're promoting lifelong childishness or adolescence - bachelors having one-night stands and playing video games, for example. It seems like acting like a modern-day Peter Pan is de rigeur.
I need to think about this more.