The University of Pittsburgh's Daily Student Newspaper

The Pitt News

The University of Pittsburgh's Daily Student Newspaper

The Pitt News

The University of Pittsburgh's Daily Student Newspaper

The Pitt News

Join our newsletter

Get Pitt and Oakland news in your inbox, three times a week.

Kamalani Akeo talks with members of the womens volleyball coaching staff in 2021.
Kamalani Akeo: An unsung hero contributing to the success of Pitt volleyball
By Matthew Scabilloni, Senior Staff Writer • 10:10 am

Join our newsletter

Get Pitt and Oakland news in your inbox, three times a week.

Kamalani Akeo talks with members of the womens volleyball coaching staff in 2021.
Kamalani Akeo: An unsung hero contributing to the success of Pitt volleyball
By Matthew Scabilloni, Senior Staff Writer • 10:10 am

Opinion | It’s okay to not be experienced in your 20s

Opinion+%7C+It%E2%80%99s+okay+to+not+be+experienced+in+your+20s
Joy Zhang | Staff Illustrator

I turn 23 tomorrow, on Feb. 27. I feel old, but I’m glad to be able to live one more year than the people who left this world early. I’m starting to realize that 23 is a special age that I don’t want to take for granted, as death has been present inside my mind since my grandfather’s passing. So, I’m grateful to be able to celebrate my birthday with some of my family members and friends. February is also deemed the month of love, but it just really dawned on me that I never celebrated Valentine’s Day or my birthday with a romantic partner or interest. 

I have never had a boyfriend nor had been on a date, and that gave me self-esteem issues for a while. I’m over that now, but in middle school and high school, it really made me wonder if it was my looks or personality that was the reason I didn’t have a boyfriend. 

I realized that I am at a place where that’s not a high priority on the list. 

Love takes on many forms — friends, family, pets. Yet most people believe that a romantic companion is a type of love everyone should experience. Now, it would be nice to have a romantic partner, but I realized a boyfriend is not on my list of needs right now. This column isn’t to say that you shouldn’t want to have a romantic partner or yearn for affection. I just found that, for me, I have finally accepted that the time will come when it comes. 

I’m too focused on my last year of cheerleading, classes, graduation and post-graduation plans to have another person come into my whirlwind of life right now. I’m not opposed to the idea of dating, but I realized first that I need to figure myself out before I bring someone else into my life. 

I like the feeling of being alone and doing things by myself, but as a reminder, just because you’re alone doesn’t mean that you’re lonely. “Alone” is always mistaken for loneliness and loneliness is always equated to sadness. There is nothing wrong with being alone and focusing on yourself, and it took me a while to grasp that idea. 

It can be discouraging and draining if you never dabble in the dating scene or start a love life. Society has pressured us to find a potential partner to marry and start a family with. That thought alone is very overwhelming, especially in your 20s. It seemed like my family would ask me all the time — and they still do — when I am going to bring a boyfriend back home. 

It took me a while to come to terms that I’m going at a perfect pace when it comes to my love life. It can be shocking to see people that you grew up with starting to experience life at a quicker pace than you. I sometimes log onto Instagram and see people I went to elementary or middle school with having children. I know that 23 means entering true young adult age, but it still feels like I’m 16 when I see my friends and ex-classmates having kids, buying houses and even getting married. 

However, I’m here to tell you that it’s OK if you’re not like your classmates having kids or dating. I had my first kiss at 21, which was a bit sad when it first happened because it felt so weird to think that I’m just now experiencing this. If you’re someone like me, that anxiety can live in your head for a while, but then I realized something. 

There’s no specific order to living in your 20s. Your 20s are for you to figure out what you want to do. Being in my early 20s confuses me at times. Everyone’s love lives move differently than others, which I realized is OK, and you should too. You’re not inexperienced among your friends, you’re just going at the pace that is ultimately right for you. 

Ashanti McLaurin primarily writes about Black culture, human injustices and gives life advice. Write to her at [email protected].

About the Contributor
Ashanti McLaurin, Staff Columnist