By Nora Thompson
When I turned 18, I was one month away from graduating high school, three weeks from my final theater performance and two weeks away from my senior prom.
When I turned 19, I had an essay to write.
And that’s what I did — I wrote an essay for my writing class. I went out with some friends a little later on in the week, but compared the joy I felt just a year ago, 19 was a little weird. It solidified the idea that the age range of 18 to 23 is the weirdest time to be alive.
For one thing, people in this age group don’t have a set generation that they belong to. No one knows when the millennial generation ended and the Generation Z group began, so those born in 1995 to 2000 are kind of floating in between. This isn’t a complete destruction of one’s identity. It’s hard to relate to people who grew up with little to no technology in their houses as well as people who grew up with a lot of technology in their houses.
Personally, I had a childhood where I was able to go and ride my bike around the neighborhood with the other neighborhood kids, but I also remember watching “Harry Potter Puppet Pals” on the desktop computer.
Generational thinking can be kind of dangerous considering most generations will be in the workforce at the same time. And age differences only further separate us.
But the missing generation — those ages 18 to 23 are also entering their 20s, which is a strange time in itself. According to Gallup, about 16 percent of people ages 18 to 29 are married. So, chances are that almost everyone in their 20s knows at least one person that’s engaged or has already tied the knot. Twenty-four percent of adults had started a family by age 25, according to the U.S. Census, so chances are also high that people in their 20s know someone with a child.
What makes this weird is that everyone is on a different timeline. Some people are going to college, some are working, some are starting families and some are still living with their parents.
For the first 18 years of life, the end goal was graduating from high school. We all had to get there, and the plan to do so was laid out for us. When we graduated, the power to decide what we did and when we did it was put into our own hands.
I believe that 19 is the sophomore year of adulthood (revised from an earlier statement when I said “19 is the sophomore year of life” and my mom asked me if I planned to die at 21) nothing new really happens. It’s not like I can vote all of a sudden like I could at 18.
Right now, my life feels like a lineal space, like I’m in the waiting room of my doctor’s office who’s now another semester late. I’m waiting to transfer to a four-year university, I’m waiting to move out and find a job in my major while everyone around me works their own timeline.
I couldn’t imagine getting married right now, just like I assume that some people my age couldn’t imagine going to college right now. It’s a weird time.