Tips on turning 20 years old

by Randy Gingeleski

3 minutes to read

Reflections on turning 20 years old before offering some advice to others.

Post featured image

Today I quietly turned 20. Birthdays always bring out a range of emotions for me. They’re almost stressful - I get all these thoughts swirling around in my head:

I need to jam this day full of crazy exciting things.

I have to make a big deal out of the fact it’s my birthday.

I’m closer to death and I’m nowhere near accomplishing what I want to yet.

Usually not a lot of that last one, but on this birthday yes. How can I be 20 already? It’s sad. And I can’t exactly place my finger on why.

It’s not like I’m unaccomplished. I’ve traveled the world, fallen in and out of love, gone on all kinds of wild escapades, published a couple of books (they sucked), met all kinds of people in the weirdest situations, made friends, made enemies, lost touch with most of those, got in a heap of trouble being a reckless kid, had a problem with alcohol, almost had a problem with painkillers, sorted all of that out 100%.

I’ve experienced things that I never dreamed, back when I was 10 or whatever, I would get to experience. I’m blessed.

Somehow I sorted out where I want to go professionally in my life. That was back in the summer before 11th grade, watching Las Vegas re-runs. It was such a foreign concept, the gaming industry, because obviously I wasn’t old enough to know much about it. But I said “that looks like fun,” ended up obsessed.

My relationship with my parents has settled. By that I mean, when you’re a little kid you think your parents are perfect. That’s one extreme. Then in your earlier teenage years you figure out they’re not, and you get angry. Another extreme. At this point I appreciate my parents as flawed human beings, like we all are. You learn to accept things. I believe this is the middle-ground, the settling point.

I appreciate my entire family more now than I did in my earlier years, honestly. My closest group of friends too. That all came after an accident a couple years ago where I was in the hospital for a week. You realize who cares and what’s important in moments like that, you’re forced to stop and reflect.

Overall I guess not much has changed, becoming 20. I’m grouped with a new age group but I still can’t legally drink or get a NY pistol permit. I’m still in college, until May at least. I don’t look different. Things are pretty much the same. Cheer up.

If you’re approaching 20 I would maybe say, think about what it’ll be like ahead of time. Get the “teenager” out of your system if you feel like it. The actual event can be weird and nobody warns you to prepare mentally. My 20th birthday sort of snuck up.

Next one I’ll be in Vegas. 🙂

Related content

2022 in review
2021 in review