November 14, 2021

ONONYE | Are you Feeling Twenty-Two?

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This week Taylor Swift made history with Red (Taylor’s Version) breaking records for both the “most-streamed album in a day by a female” and the “most-streamed female in a day” in Spotify history. Just like any other anticipated Taylor Swift album, Red (Taylor’s Version)was beyond celebrated at Cornell. For the past few days, Cornell Twitter has been swarming with Taylor lyrics. I’ve seen videos of Taylor themed listening parties and every apartment that I have walked into in the last few days has been blasting the album. 

Her revival album was released on Nov. 12th, just in time for a reimagined version of her song “22” available for my 22nd birthday on Nov. 13th. As you can imagine, it was the theme song for my birthday – and is tracking to be the theme for my entire year. 

I remember when the first version of “22” was released. I was 13 years old, and that night we blasted the entire album in my middle school youth group room. I was a too-big Swiftie and learned the lyrics to the album in less than a week. Blasting “22” with my friends at that age was a promise for the exciting adventures that were awaiting my college and young adult life. 

Yesterday, my mom called me to tell me that she listened to “22” again for my birthday and laughed that Taylor’s song didn’t sound like my life at all. She poked fun at my choice to almost cancel my birthday brunch to study for an interview this week and compared that to Taylor’s carefree, “live while your young” mantras. 

There’s the obvious Taylor Swift was a Grammy-winning pop star at twenty-two and I am finishing my senior year comparison. But beyond the surface, her song and entire album, describe a distant life from (most) of our Cornell lives. Except for the repeated heartbreak and boy-drama, Taylor’s “Red World” is one of no worries and constant adventures. “22” has no mention of the LSAT or MCAT, job and grad school applications, late night study sessions or e-board meetings. 

Her line “Tonight’s the night when we forget about the deadlines” is just a little ironic as I woke up the day after my birthday to write this column for my Sun deadline. It was definitely in the back of my mind before I went to sleep the night before. 

But at the same time lines like “We’re happy, free, confused and lonely at the same time” feel so accurate. My final year at Cornell has been clinging on to everything I love about Ithaca and this campus, spending time with my now life-long friends, freaking out about school and work and loving-to-hate every moment of it. 

My 22nd birthday was an excuse to be just-a-little-bit like Taylor for the day. It was my girl-group bracing the 35 degree Ithaca cold to sit outside for my birthday brunch, my law frat brothers threatening to make everyone in Libe Cafe sing happy birthday to me if I spent the day in the library, my parents nailing my birthday present and a shout out at the Nigerian Students’ Association’s Date Auction

Which leads me to no perfect ending to this column, except that 8 years later Red (Taylor’s Version) hits just as hard as the original, even though it didn’t foreshadow my young adult life. But one day into my Taylor year, I can say that I am feeling twenty-two!

Anuli Ononye is a senior in the College of Arts and Sciences. She can be reached at [email protected]. Womansplaining runs every other Monday this semester.