The Satirical Ironies of Turning 20

When I was a primary school kid, my form teacher told the whole class that she yearned to be our age now that she’s grown up. It’s easy to see the advantages of being a kid- kids are fulfilled by the simpler things and are free of adult responsibilities such as house loans and caring about politics. When I was a kid, I thought that I’d grow up to feel the same about adulthood as my form teacher had openly expressed. Now that I have turned 20 though, I sure as hell realise I don’t, despite the many responsibilities that I have gradually gathered over the years.

Our world evolves during our tumultous teenage years and after they conclude, we are held a lot more responsible and accountable for our own matters, decisions and personal character. In this blog post, I am going to write about the certain things that people will inevitably see and talk about VERY differently when you’re in your teens and younger compared to when you hit the big 2-0.

1. Follow your dreams

Teens and younger: Want to explore a career in obscure fields such as music? Go for it! Join a CCA, pick up an instrument! By the way, you can consider arts schools too.

20s and beyond: We know you like playing music, but is it realistic to embark on a musical career? I mean no harm exploring your personal interests now but you’ve got your parents, your dog, your cat and your house loans to pay for. Can you afford the time and money to juggle both your cash-making day job and your dreams? By the way, I heard that you can earn a lot in the science field. Are you interested by any chance?

2. ‘Stay away from BGrs’. 

I’m sure this is discussed a lot in schools these days, with the sexual education health ed and all, which are all well intended.

Teens and younger: Boys/girls will make you lose focus, they are temptations, stay away from these. He/she is not the one (Adults are right about this most of the time). During this time, boyfriends/girlfriends and temptations are inevitably linked and treated as a dirty word at times.

20s and beyond: Prepare for marriage and/or Do you have a romantic partner? Like WHAT? In both instances of 14 and 20, these contrasting things are said by the SAME groups of people. I know everybody’s concerns are legitimate and everyone means well but how am I supposed to suddenly want something that was just some time back, had a negative connotation?

Which leads me to:

3. Indifference towards opposite gender

Not because you’re gay. Perhaps you’re straight, but you just don’t fall easily at all although you may find the opposite gender’s looks attractive. It might be because you’re unmoved by superficial charm and what you’ve seen around you doesn’t give you a good reference for the prospect of your future romantic relationships, hence your natural indifference. There are various reasons for this, all psychological. Or if you happen to be romantically attracted to the same sex or both, you may also find the following scenario relatable:

Teens and younger: Good girl/boy! Boys/girls aren’t all that! Just enjoy friendship, it’s enough for now! You’ve got a good head on your shoulders! Sensible child!

20s and beyond: “So it can be said that you haven’t met the right person?” “You can say so.”

In a more extreme degree people might for a moment have the random thought that you might be gay and some may simply just voice it out without further though, which can be annoying if you’re clear about your heterosexual orientation. It depends on your own personal situation and viewpoint. Personally I find it very heartening that people won’t say anything else unless you choose to out yourself about having the ability to feel same sex romantic attraction. It’s especially polite, not outing anyone before the person outs himself/herself.

4. A lack of culinary skills becomes a bigger deal

When you’re in your teens or on the cusp of it, not being able to cook is a lot more over-lookable as you’re on the cusp of metamorphosing from a child into a half-grown adult.

When you’re 20 and beyond.. lack of culinary skills may burn a hole in your pocket more significantly, as you’ll have financial liabilities by then. Also, you can’t control what goes into your food, which impacts your body nutritionally. If you have a pet dog or cat you love doting over, it also means you may not know how to cook homemade meals for them as a special treat.

Teens and younger: Let’s eat healthy. Let’s go to the Soup Spoon for a meal full of vegetables!

20s and beyond: If I buy all the ingredients for chicken stew, add the costs up and the servings that I can store and eat for the next 3 days, will it be cheaper than eating a bowl of Soup Spoon for the next 3 days?

5. Role of elders change

Remember the good old days of temper tantrums when we didn’t get what we wanted? Our elders may have punished us by taking away our pocket money or grounding, and we in turn viewed them as self-righteous tyrants who royally ruled over our wonderful world. As we mature and establish our own stances and values independently from our elders, most times our elders slowly but gradually relax the rules we were handed as kids.

They may give us the talk on any topic they deem necessary for our own unique situation, but this time instead of instilling in us what’s right and what’s wrong, they give much lifelong-attained wisdom, shedding light on things we’re in denial of and blind spots. For those with close relationships with parents, they may occasionally hold their tongue when they know we’re dating the wrong kind of people or ill-suited prospects but know it is not an appropriate time to speak up and point it out. Instead, they let us make our own mistakes and voice out their true feelings about our exes when things are over and done. For the sentence before this one, that’s what I discovered.

During this time of growing up and the roles of our elders change, we might also experience the following role reversal of child and parent:

Teens and younger: Where were you mom/dad? I was walking around the department store but couldn’t find you!

20s and beyond: Where were you _____? You know the train stations in the city area are complicated, I can’t navigate this place on my own. I was lost for half an hour, called your cell but couldn’t reach you!


So here’s my list of ironies. There will be more in future, we all will only find out as we experience life more. Before I end this post, I would like to thank anyone who has given me insight into their growing into 20s and beyond personal experiences and shared them, giving me a chance to make this post a bit more well-rounded. You know who you are 😉

Signing off, bye for now!


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