I don’t usually ‘do’ Facebook quizzes, but today, I saw a friend post a few sentences about what her life was like at age 16. Her status invited her friends to play the ‘Age Game’ with her – she would assign us a number and we would have to answer questions about our lives at that age.
I was intrigued, and I was running out of reasons to postpone folding the laundry, so I asked my friend to give me an age. She soon emailed back with this response: ‘Your age is 20.’
I did some quick math. I was 20 years old fifteen years ago. Not too far back in the annals of time, but the pertinent point here is that I was 20 years old loooong before my mind was warped by the sleep deprivation and relentless demands of parenthood. It took a little while for me to clear the mental cobwebs surrounding the year 1995-1996, but when the dust cleared, this is how I answered my Age Game questions:
When I was 20 years old,
I wanted to be: a singer, and/or married to Jonathan Lupton
I was in a relationship with : Jonathan Lupton. We actually started dating on my birthday.
I had an undying love for: Jonathan Lupton
I was scared of: things not working out with Jonathan Lupton
I was best friends with: Jonathan Lupton and Erin McQuade
Geez. No wonder the National Women’s Liberation people won’t return my calls. Here’s the full scoop on the year I spent being twenty years old…
In 1995, I was a junior in college, and this is where I lived:
That’s Doane Hall on the campus of Eastern University, where I was studying music and yes, also falling in love with one Jonathan Lupton. Jon and I met the first day of college, and I was head-over-heels for him less than a week after that first meeting. Two years later, on my 20th birthday, he finally got with the program by giving me a picture frame I had admired in F.A.O. Schwartz in NYC a few weeks before. He had driven back to New York from our school near Philly just to get it for me.
So, Jon and I were deep, deep, deep in young love the year I turned 20, and looking back from this distance, it is the defining feature of that year. Sure, I had my classes. I played the Baker’s Wife in the school production of Into the Woods. I gave my junior year recital – a musical event remarkable only for the fact that I forgot the first words to my first song and had to ask my accompanist to give me the text (winning!). I worked in the college mailroom. I think I may have damaged a parked car outside a church in suburban Philadelphia while driving a 15-passenger van emblazoned with my alma mater’s logo.
When I wasn’t committing hit-and-runs with college-owned vehicles, I was with Jon. We made the transition from best friends to boyfriend/girlfriend and then made the leap to affianced people:
The rest, as they say, is history.
My gut reaction to my own responses to the Age Game questions was not favorable – it doesn’t look good for a woman to seem (even in retrospect) that she’s all about her man. I wished that my friend had given me a different year of my life – like this year, when I have an undying love for the internet and I’m scared every day that my jeans won’t fit anymore. (That sounds better than being all hung up on a guy. Right?)
But now that I’ve given it some more thought, the year I turned 20 changed the direction of my whole life, even though it makes me look a little bit like a stalker on paper. If the events of that year turned out differently, I honestly can’t say where I would be or what I’d be doing. Maybe I’d be better off, maybe worse, but look at what I have today – how could I settle for anything else?