The Big 2-Oh

I celebrated my twentieth birthday inside the Sinag office.

There was no cake with candles, no ice cream, no food, even the lack of alcoholic drinks was evident. It was no grandiose celebration. Everyone was either busy, dead tired or both, as there were still quite a number of articles, videos and interviews to plow through. The deadline we had set hung heavy over our heads. I was given a complimentary birthday song, and we had the luxury of five minutes to do whatever it was that we wanted. After that, it was back to work. The dreariness of my birthday could be alluded to the fact that we were cramming the election issue, so no complaints from me there.

Hours before I choose to lock myself in the office until the wee hours of the morning, a friend of mine strongly suggested that I go do something special. She said it was because I was about to enter another stage in my life, or something to that effect. I simply nodded, but all the while I was thinking of what was so special about turning twenty. I was dropping the word 'teen' from my age, is it really such a big deal? Is it enough qualification for me to be considered an adult? If that were the case, then we live in such a sad, sad world. I can think of a handful of adults who need to take full time courses in maturity.

As a kid, I painted a picture in my head of what I would look like once I turned twenty: wearing a-line skirts and sensible pumps, my hair in a bun, composed and without a single strand of hair out of place. A quick look into my closet revealed no a-line skirts, at least those with modest lengths, and two stilettos primarily used for partying. My head is almost often up in the clouds, and the closest I had gotten to being composed, was the zoned out look I get after a particularly challenging subject. Somehow my twenty-year old self doesn’t quite match up to the me I had in mind.

I also have an issue with the word twenteen. It comes off as a failed attempt to standardize fashion sizes: preteens’ wear, teens’ wear, twenteens’ wear. Ugh. It’s horrible. Seeing quite a number refer to themselves as such, just strengthen my belief that there really is a prevalent fear of aging these days, even for those coming from my age bracket. The irony is not at all lost to me, when just a year ago looking older was the in thing.

It seems that twenty is just another transition year, similar to how we all become legal, and can be put to jail, by the age of eighteen. The carefree days call us back, and we are tempted to be content as teens and live for the moment. The pull of exploring the possibilities that lie ahead, given that we've already had a glimpse of the things that are yet to come, is also a strong force. Perhaps it is here in this tug of war that the charm of being twenty lies.