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I’m finding that 20 is a difficult age to be. End of teenage years, not quite adult years. Do you remember that one Britney song? That summed it up nicely. I hope there are others that, like me, find defining yourself around this age extremely difficult.
Yet society, to an extent, expects you to have it all planned out already. Most try to shed the previous personas they’ve identified with during their teenage phases by going to the extreme opposite of their past selves, with some challenging the idea that they should be growing up as an adult at all by acting the opposite.
Basically, have you seen Miley Cyrus’ latest video?
Personally, I love her but I hate the video. It’s her first release post-Disney and she REALLY wants you to know she’s not Hannah Montana anymore. There’s the twerking, the drug references (badass), the skimpy outfits, and just every aspect is overdone to the extreme to really let you know SHE’S NOT HANNAH MONTANA ANYMORE.
The thing is, she still retains much of who she was during those Disney years. The line, “we like to party, dancing with Miley,” has caused controversy over whether she’s saying Molly or not, with she herself claiming that her name is a reference to cocaine. However, it just reminds me of the last time she name dropped herself: “my best friend Leslie said, ‘oh she’s just being Miley.’” Cute.
Obviously, Miley being Miley, her breakaway from her old self and transition to a new identity is going to be extreme and exaggerated due to her celebrity status. Mini versions of these rebellious acts to harden old images of oneself can easily be seen in general. I got my nose pierced earlier this year just because it’s the cliché thing to do when you want to rebel.
I have nothing to rebel against, I just wanted something new and edgy to add to my self-definition and it was something I could do all by myself, with my money, my decision and no parents and so on. My friend recently got piercings and has been told by his family that he’s a lot stronger and opinionated.
Something I, and I imagine many readers, can relate to, is growing with these new morals, motivations and principles, strengthening or doing away with our previous ones. This is part of becoming an adult, right? Nevertheless, as you’re just beginning to form these stronger values and new ideas, shouldn’t everything else be at that pace? There are some choices you’ll make that are going to be mistakes (we’re coming back to Miley soon) but because you’re now supposed to be an adult, these will now stick with you as you’re not a teenager anymore and apparently that’s good enough reason for you to know better.
But if you haven’t experienced adult life yet, then why should you know any better? Maybe there’ll (hopefully) be a point where Miley will look back at this video and question why she ever thought a goddamn grill would be a good look or that she wouldn’t look like a try-hard-wannabe twerking next to big booty bitches.
University is almost like the slow lane to adulthood. It’s a time to start really building your own identity and, yeah, mistakes are going to happen, but at least when you have the safety net of uni, you can fix those mistakes.
Another friend took full advantage of this slow lane. From having a, erm, rather promiscuous time as a teenager, they decided that was not who they wanted to be anymore. They were doing a course that made them unhappy (mistake) and couldn’t see a future with this, which just led them to more mistakes.
Happily ever after though, they changed their course because they, “want to become the person that I needed throughout adolescence.” They had the opportunity to make mistakes, fix them, and change who they saw themselves as, who they wanted to be and not be tied down.
I don’t think, as a generation, we get enough chances to do this. I don’t want to be rushed into making adult choices and deciding my future career and who I’m going to be right now just because I’ve hit my twenties.
I’m coming up to the third and final freshers week that I’ll be attending and I’m a completely different person than I was last year, and even further alienated from the person I was the year before that. I figure that freshers week is comparative to albums in Miley’s world. Miley still references herself in ways reminiscent of her past just as I still cuddle teddies every night like I have during past freshers week and beyond.
We’re the same but we’re different. We’re building who we are through rebellion, mistakes and the old comforts. That’s who I’ve always been, but it’s not who I am today or will be tomorrow, because through this journey towards adulthood you feel like you’re always forming a new identity. New and old, good and bad, open and private, Jake & Miley. Here’s to never growing up.