Being 22 is the new thing. Taylor Swift sings about it. People treat it like it’s the new 21. For me, it was my biggest year of growth, and the year when life hurled every possible damaging and heart wrenching challenge in my general direction. But it was also a year where I had the most fun, the year I moved on, and the year I grew up more than I thought was possible.
“I don’t know about you, but I’m feeling 22.”
1. Drinking tequila with orange juice was an easy way to avoid vomiting.
2. A 2.30am Disaronno and Coke is fuel for 2 more hours of tragic singing, losing your voice, and bad decision making while your hair resembles that of a tramp.
3. I finally learned to not vomit on my carpet any more.
4. The people you lived with at university witnessed every single good and bad thing to hurl its way into your life, and without them you don’t have anyone to rationalise your life or anyone to want to smother with a pillow when they play FIFA all night. (I do not miss the nauseating sounds of a FIFA victory).
5. Graduating was a massive palaver. The novelty wore off when we couldn’t get real jobs.
6. Do not try moulding anything into something it isn’t. You can add sugar to grape juice and call it wine, but it’s not wine. Accept things as they are.
7. If you go on holiday to Spain, you probably will spend all your time in Irish bars. You will then love Irish songs. Until you come back from Spain, work in an Irish pub, and hear them on a daily basis.
8. Graduate logic meant we thought even working minimum wage would be better than a student loan. I mourn the sweet naivety of my post diploma receiving brain.
9. Justin Timberlake was right on schedule with Suit & Tie. The key to my heart is a nice clean cut suit, and nachos.
10. 22 is not too young for a back injury.
11. There’s a reason behind every bad decision you make, but denial is a comfortable nest to hide away in.
12. A block of cheese gets you more cheese than a bag of grated cheese. You’re welcome.
13. How to parallel park. It only took me 5 years.
15. Even if you say they didn’t mean to hurt you – they still knew they were doing it. They carried on, so never make an excuse for them.
16. The summer meant going out every night, even if you had to be in work at 8am. You regret nothing.
17. There are some people who will love you unconditionally, embrace your messy decisions and tangled web of dramatic events.
18. There are some who will judge you.
19. It only takes something small to create happiness for someone.
20. There are some inevitabilities. I still miss you, Alfie.
21. You might go back to the place that inspires you. It’ll make you want more. New York fiercely owns an ambitious piece of me that nothing else can touch. Find somewhere, or somewhere, to embed into your character, and use it to work through failure. Use it to win, and use it to conquer something that belongs to you.
22. You rarely find people who surprise you. You might find an exception.
22 was a big year for me. I still have 2 months of it left. When you look back at the biggest years at your life, and at the biggest moments, there’s only one certainty. That being that nothing will ever go to plan, so prepare for battle. It’s a long road to getting what we want, are we there yet?