When I was seventeen, I believed in the world ahead of me. In possibilities, and opportunities. In grand romance, and wild freedom.
Three and a half years later, I’ve moved back home. Things didn’t all pan out the way I planned. The collegiate experience will forever be the life I only got a taste of. I went into that life a girl, and in the summer, all those boxes I never unpacked when I came back will be transferred to the house I share with my husband now that I’m a woman. All of the experience from the past year: my 9-5, The Budget, this sparkly ring on my left hand, the “real world” — none of it can be undone. It can’t be un-experienced. Possibilities were narrowed. Opportunities came and went. Some were taken; others were not. And more still will be decided.
I know what people think when they see me as a representation for my company. I know what marketing blogs and infographics say about companies who hire 20-somethings to fill the rapidly-spreading need to manage social media. They say we can’t possibly know where to start on a social media marketing initiative; we don’t have the experience. They say we’re fickle and restless. But to be fair, those articles and statistics are referring to recent graduates.
I refer to myself as a young professional. According to the Chamber of Commerce we belong to, their Young Professionals organization is intended for professionals in the area ranging in age from 21-40. But I guess you can just rule me out of that one. I don’t qualify.
Yes, I am 20 years old. I work at an insurance agency managing social media, small marketing projects, web development, answering phones, and the coffee. I am getting married in 6 months. I dropped out of college over a year ago because I couldn’t afford it, and I didn’t qualify for any more aid. I am paying back the loans, as I simultaneously even out the balance I left on my school account. My parents have agreed to cohabiting while my fiance and I pay for our modest wedding and plan for our first year of marriage.
I’ve had people look at me strangely when I tell them I work at an insurance agency. I’ve had them make the “were you even born when…” jokes. People still call me “sweetie” or “hon” when I answer the phone. I actually had a man at a chamber event tell me getting married was a mistake. Because I lacked experience.
What exactly does it look like I’m doing, sir?