One month from today I will be twenty-two, an occasion I’m dreading. Twenty-one ends the string of age earned privileges. From driving, to voting, to drinking, the last five years seemed to each bring something special. Twenty-two carries a different surprise altogether. With it comes the onset of post-collegiate life, “adulthood”, and responsibility. The future seems to only promise increasing numbers: age, debt and waistline.
The early twenties are particularly difficult, because during this period you realize how many successful people are your own age, or younger. When I was ten I would look at a Disney star and say, “they’re so much older than me. That could be me one day.” Now I look at Miley Cyrus and feel like a pedophile. When I was five I would play basketball with my little brother, and pretend to make a buzzer beating shot in the final seconds of a championship game, actually believing one day it could come true (granted this was somewhat misguided as neither one of us was destine to break six foot). Around the same time another kid was playing out the same championship scenario in his back yard in Akron, Ohio, his name is Lebron James.
But what’s worse than the celebrity or sports stars, which were both fantasies I had moved beyond by high school, is the number of truly accomplished individuals who are my age. Mark Zuckerberg, founded a website in his dorm room that Microsoft recently valued at a miserly $15 billion (Facebook). He turned 24 in May. Michael Sessions, always wanted to be a politician so when he got his chance in 2005 he ran and won the Mayoral election in Hillsdale, Michigan. He was eighteen. Michael Monsoor, was in Ramadi, Iraq with his team of fellow Navy Seals when an insurgent tossed a grenade into their hideout. Without hesitation, Monsoor through himself on the grenade, sacrificing himself to save the rest of his team at the age of 25.
I make no false pretense or apology: I want to be great too. In many ways these stories of my contemporaries are inspiring, as they show that it can be done. But I would be remiss if I didn’t admit my frustration. If they’ve done it, why haven’t I?