COLUMN: '˜When you think about it, being 20 is pretty much like being in the Matrix'

Twenty is a sort of non-age.

You’ve gotten over the hype of being able to *legally* buy alcohol and getting into clubs is as normal to you as brushing your teeth.

You can vote, and drive and all the other perks that come with being an adult, but this is the first time that people start going their own ways. 
Some of us are students, others business men and women, and some are even planning their wedding already. 
Others, like me, don’t feel like adults at all; I’m an adult in the loosest sense of the word. 
I am a full-time student, living away from home, and I have mastered the art of making pasta for every meal of the week.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

When you think about it, being 20 is pretty much like being in the Matrix, everything is the same, but totally different, so here are some reasons why being 20 is really, kinda weird.

For starters, you can oversee a room full of children

Imagine walking into a room full of children, and not even having the peace of mind to tell yourself that you’re old enough to be their parents.

Yet you somehow must teach them things you’re pretty sure you should be learning yourself.

You’re still not sure what an adverb is, your multiplication tables are a bit hazy and you feel like you need another four years of schooling just to keep up!

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

And then you start to worry; what if they all suddenly come down with a strange bout of dragon pox? Or get bitten by Vermicious Knids (they’re very fond of small children you know?) What if they see right through your faux-confidence and decide to tie you to a chair and re-enact Lord of the Flies?

The risks are just too great.

You’re too young for the adults, and too adult for the kids

You’re trapped in limbo, unable to relate to teenagers yet also unable to relate to adults.

Despite being a teen less than a year ago, you’re not quite sure what dabbing is, you find the Kardashians annoying and you’ve found yourself quite enjoying University Challenge on an evening.

You’re not sure how this happened, but it must’ve been something monumental because you’ve found yourself referring to teens as ‘youths’ and think anyone younger than you looks about 12.

But then, how do you relate to adults?

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

You don’t have a mortgage, you don’t watch Midsummer Murders and you don’t know any pop culture references before 1990.

So where does that leave you?

No wonder we turn to technology to entertain us at family gatherings because the kids are in one corner, talking about how ‘Justin Bieber is soo lush’ and the adults are talking about the rapidly declining interest rate of ISAs… you just can’t win!

People won’t believe how old you are

Twenty is that odd age where some people have their adult faces, and others, like me, still look about 12. And this leads to a few… complications.

If you’re one of the lucky few that looks 25, and probably has a beard or something, then you’re pretty much set.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

You’ll still get the ‘didn’t think you were that old’ comment, but it will be said in a playful manner. A ‘lucky you, you’ve got an amazing beard’ manner, rather than the pitying stare us baby-faces get.

You probably won’t get asked for ID that much and you look like you could have your stuff together (even if you don’t, it’s all part of the illusion.)

You think being 20 is great, and smile to yourself in the mirror before you go off to prune your beard.

And then there’s us, the baby-faced 20-year olds who look like they could still be in school.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

We get asked for ID at the cinema, and not certificate 18s, but 15s.

Imagine wanting to buy a copy of the 1985 classic The Breakfast Club, which we can agree has no nudity, explosions and only a couple of swear words , and looking too young to buy it. You probably voted in the last general election, some of you may even be in the army, but be careful Judd Nelson’s dancing may be too much for your delicate eyes!

You start to feel overshadowed by other, more brilliant 20-year olds

At 20, Bill Gates dropped out of Harvard to cofound Microsoft.

At 20, Mary Shelley wrote Frankenstein.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

At 20, Sir Isaac Newton developed differential and integral calculus which basically meant he could precisely predict the position of the planets at any given time.

At 20, Malala Yousafzai has been campaigning for girl’s education for nine years, addressed the UN on her 16th birthday and has already published her memoir, amongst other things.

Meanwhile, I only learned what a Snakebite was the other week (half lager, half cider if you must know), my idea of fine dining is an M&S ready meal and I am too liberal with the acronym LOL.

It’s hard not to feel overshadowed when such greatness has been accomplished by others while we are the same age.

While I am floundering choosing which Subway filling I want, other people are on the path to greatness.

No, I’m not bitter at all.


Column by Charlotte Hutton