fernanda bday column

Daily Collegian columnist Fernanda López cries while being presented with a birthday cake on her 16th birthday. 

The first time I felt I was getting older was when I turned 10.

After blowing out my birthday candles on Nov. 21, 2012, I distinctly remember whispering to my mom that I couldn't believe my age had two digits.

Yet, here I am 10 years later holding onto that same fear because soon I won’t be a teenager anymore — and that terrifies me.

I’ve always been that person who cries on their birthday. Not out of sadness or happiness — just out of confusion.

Being scared of getting older is just as universal as the fear of sharks.

As I grow up, I sometimes feel like I'm stuck to one age despite years going by, which makes me wonder if I'll ever feel my actual age.

The idea of teenage years is a sort of way of life on every screen, constantly romanticized and inescapable.

Before we even have a solid concept of what a teenager is, we are fed the idea of an ideal life we should live up to during our teen years the moment we turn 13.

Now, as my birthday gets closer, I can't stop thinking about the end of my teenage years, and the terrifying realization this is — the start of my 20s.

When you turn 20, you suddenly can’t seek refuge in teenage ignorance after making mistakes.

My teenage years were far from perfect, but at least they were eventful, like many stages in life.

Some moments I remember with every detail, while others are just a blurry memory. But somehow, I still don't want to leave them behind.

When I first became a teenager, I told myself I was going to accomplish a myriad of things I now see as impossible.

I wanted to become the ultimate version of myself — already perfected by age 20.

This fictitious idea came from someone so young who couldn’t even grasp the realities of a teenager — it’s an era in our life that’s somehow both monotonous and exciting.

Just like a decade ago, I'm still sitting down and creating an even more extensive bucket list of accomplishments I want to achieve during my early 20s.

Yet, I still don't know if I'm being rational or daydreaming once again — just as 10-year-old Fernanda once did.

But the concept of aging is something that will forever haunt people, and I'm no exception.

Some say our early 20s are the best time of our lives, but am I willing to listen to the general consensus?

Now that I've survived my teenage years, it's time to live up to even more TV shows and movies about being a young adult.

Once I was crying over going to high school, and now I'm worried about getting my dream job straight out of college.

It becomes an endless circle I want to escape from.

I don't want to be scared or seek shelter in an idealized version of my 20s because it’ll most likely lead to reality defeating my expectations.

I want my 20s to become a synonym for independence — one that comes with both exciting and dull moments. I’m looking forward to dancing to the song “212” in the club and filing my own taxes.

More importantly, I want to keep doing things I enjoy the most and not let my fear of getting older interfere.

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