The Internal Struggle With Turning 23

Thought Catalog

Reality BitesReality Bites

In Reality Bites, Winona Ryder’s Lelaina lamented, “I was really going to be somebody by the time I was 23.” She’s not the only one who feels like a failure for being still short of extraordinary at this ripe age. I, too, felt panic set in when I turned 23 without a book deal, a marriage proposal, or even my own place. Before you brush us off as entitled brats, consider these: S. E. Hinton wrote The Outsiders when she was sixteen. Joan of Arc fought in the siege of Orleans when she was seventeen. LeBron James was drafted to the NBA with the first overall pick when he was eighteen.

“This world demands the qualities of youth,” Robert Kennedy once said. Success at a young age must be so sweet. But when you’re twenty-three, it’s more like, it’s now or never. Time is running out. You’re screwed if you have a dead-end job; you’re even more screwed…

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