By: Adair Bingham
A few weeks ago I turned 22. Turning 22 has been the reason for a lot of self-reflection and critical thinking lately, especially regarding the passage of time. Four years ago I was “celebrating” my birthday in my English class, surrounded by people I haven’t seen or heard from since. One year later, I was celebrating by eating in the university cafeteria with my sister. And two years after that, I was celebrating at home for the first time in three years.
The passage of time is a difficult concept to swallow, especially as I age during this pandemic’s lockdown. Sometimes I still feel like an oblivious teenager and other times I feel like a hardened old man who’s seen it all. Recently, one thing that’s given me much strife has been my interests. I’m a self-proclaimed cartoonist and animation is one of my biggest interests, but I can’t help but feel that I’m “too old” to be invested in them these days. Although I know that there’s no age limit on interests or fun, there’s always going to be this nagging voice in the back of my head telling me that I’m “too old for this”. Like my unyielding imposter syndrome, this is something that haunts my thoughts more often than not, even though these things have played a substantial role in my life for years. Sometimes it feels as if everything I enjoy or partake in is heavily criticized by literally everything and everyone, especially as I’ve gotten older, and I often feel pressured into finding a more mature hobby.
To try to beat these pestering thoughts, I’m often reminding myself that “I’m only 22” and that I have all the time in the world to enjoy these things, and hopefully make a career out of them. As I mentioned earlier, there’s no age limit on passions and I should really be embracing my avocations, rather than trying to hide them all the time. The only thing that I’ve learned in doing so is that my interests and hobbies make me who I am, and, to put it bluntly, I’m absolutely miserable without them. Interests and hobbies don’t magically disappear as you age, and, like yourself, they need to be nurtured and cared for, too. There’s no need to self-sabotage your happiness to appease others just because they may not entirely understand something you enjoy.
One of the most important things that I’ve learned since entering my 20s is that, sometimes, the smallest things really are the most important. My love for animation was sparked at a young age and hasn’t dwindled since, and it certainly isn’t leaving anytime soon. So, rather than being ashamed of the things I love, I’m instead using them to inspire me to pursue my path and shape my future on my own terms and nobody else’s. These were things that widely influenced me as a youngster and I would ferociously argue that they inspire me more now as an adult. With so much left to do and as I find my footing in the world, I can’t fathom doing it without my passions guiding me along the way.