Being twentysomething is hard. Full on throbbing veiny penis prodding your back when you’re trying to sleep hard.
It’s like what the fuck am I supposed to do with my life, oh wait, I’m also broke and emotionally unstable so this is cool and all.
And then people judge you if you’re just making lattes and you’re not president yet, on account of you were in all AP classes and should be at least self-published by now.
It’s draining because there’s no one to stop you from wearing your pajamas all day and sitting around in the smell of your own farts. No one to tell you to get off the internet, where there’s always someone prettier, more accomplished, smarter and better traveled than you are. And they’re willing to teach you how they did it all through their six week online course.
It’s tough because you feel like you should spend your Saturday nights squeezing in the last few shots of your youth to a poorly remixed Katy Perry tune in a club that’s above occupancy, lodged in a bra that triples your cup size. But you didn’t get any invites.
It’s exhilarating because you still have the optimism of your childhood dreams, but are starting to realize that you could actually get there—through a fuck ton of hard work.
It’s inspiring because you’re creating the life you want to live by choosing who you want to surround yourself with and the thoughts you want to inhabit your mind. You get to choose the first thing you do when you wake up and the last thing before you fall asleep. You decide whether or not you want to have a garden, comb your hair, adopt a pet. Being twentysomething is awesome because your body is fucking amazing. Later on in life you might have financial security, career satisfaction, or a happy family. But as for right now, you have a fucking rocking body that you get to be fully in charge of. You get to fuel it, exercise it, stretch it, rest it, push it, tan it, flip it upside down. She’s a beaut, so take care of her.
It’s frustrating because the woman you voted for didn’t win. And you’re not allowed to call the man who did an xenophobic sweet potato because you’re supposed to take the high road and critique his policies and foreign affairs and not his little hands. And you feel helpless as you watch rights for everyone who’s not a wealthy white man rollback, Walmart style.
It’s enraging because you’ve spent enough time on birth control to know it turns you into a mother fucking lunatic so you’re off it now, but don’t want kids. But do want sex, and haven’t figured out why the fuck we have sauna pants but no one has come up with a better solution for birth control. And every time you miss your period, you take three pregnancy tests. Even though it wouldn’t be a scandal if you were knocked up. And you’d actually be a pretty good parent.
It’s complicated because you’ve been in a relationship for the last five years with a man who’s sweet, and thoughtful, and supportive, and caring, and all things wonderful. And now you have to decide if you want to spend the rest of your life with him. Except that decisions like that are really hard, despite what your mom and the rest of the universe says about “just knowing.” You’re terrified of choosing something you’ll come to regret, which could go either way. It’s difficult because a waffle iron is never just a waffle iron. Whether you’re conscious of it or not, every thing you buy further cements you to your location. And you’re terrified to wake up one day and find a white picket fence. You know that the more shit you have the harder it will be to walk away. Especially when all you want more than anything is to be wandering the world with a knapsack on your back, scaling Machu Picchu, making stone soup in Indonesia, skinny dipping in Greece.
And the upside of minimum wage and having not much more than the dirt beneath your fingernails, is that there’s really not all that much to lose. This is different than being ungrateful—you should always be desperately thankful for every breath of air and gulp of water and warm conversation. I’m just speculating that it would be harder to walk away and throw caution to the wind if you had a six-figure salary, or a Lamborghini, or both.
Lately when leaving a place I’ve gotten into the bad habit of looking back over my shoulder several times, checking to be sure I haven’t dropped a hundred things. I always stop myself and laugh, because even if I did lose something, it wouldn’t be too dire. Being twentysomething is somewhat forgiving because you get to make stupid decisions and be the one to bear the brunt of them. You get to decide what you believe and what you don’t, and you get to firm up those decisions, and write them in stone, and preach them on the mountain, and then change your whole mind about everything. Because you’re twentysomething, and you don’t have a damn diddly about a diddly damn.
You know you’re making it a thousand times worse by perpetually overthinking and fixating and justifying everything. And wouldn’t it be lovely if, in the words of Mary Baker Eddy, you could just cut your thinker off.
Because being twentysomething is exhausting. You get to believe in a creator, or not. You get to pray, and beg the universe, and destroy yourself with crippling thoughts, and wake up early to watch the sunrise, and call your mom, and cry, all in the same sentence.
But you know there’ll be a time when you look back and connect the dots and nod your head like a douche and say, “Yes, it all makes perfect sense now.” This had to happen, and then this, and that heartbreak was necessary. And you’ll take a marker, and run it along every single event as if quitting your grown-up job, and landing flat on your ass broke (returning $2.50 clothes to Goodwill for a refund kind of broke) were all part of some grand master plan. And the now-you flips the bird to the douchey-all-knowing-marker-wielding-future-you because right now all it feels like you’re doing is floundering.
But, as the universe and douchey-future-you know, it’s gonna be okay.