The Twenty-Something Blues

No one really prepares you for your Twenties. I mean, honestly, couldn’t we have had a few helpful hints as kids? Like, “In you’re twenties, you’re going to be in the in-between; both a child and an adult, which means you won’t have any idea what the hell is going on or how the f*** to deal with any of it.”

When you’re 16, you can’t wait to turn 18. When you’re 18, you can’t wait to be 21. Then you hit 22. And then somehow, you’re 26 looking around wondering how you could already have little lines on your forehead that don’t quite disappear anymore.

It feels like the “Twenties” years are like the preschool of adulthood; we don’t yet know how to take care of ourselves, and yet, we are expected to get it all right. The abrasive ‘real world’ doesn’t even knock. Nope. You turn 20 and that shit impales you. All of a sudden, you’re flat on your ass trying to figure out how to balance still being young while living in the adult world. We are all still so incredibly stupid and naive at 20, the only difference between now and our teen years is that now we know how unprepared we are … and we just have to sit with it.

We went from high school, where our biggest responsibilities were trying not to get on the bad side of the popular kids, praying we wouldn’t get caught as we snuck up to the mountains to drink, and choosing the perfect prom dress, to BOOM, worrying about college, career choices, bills, buying our own food, buying our own clothes … and how to avoid calling Mom & Dad for help.

My early twenties were windy. I found odd jobs, got & lost apartments, bought & lost new cars, and drank way too much. I was free and I wanted to celebrate it … unfortunately, our desire for freedom builds up so much as we approach high school graduation, that it’s all too easy to go overboard when we finally get it. I remember my first apartment, and I remember the beer cans that covered the floor as I was moving out. I remember the magical credit cards that gave me free money … that I still haven’t paid back. I remember going to four or five parties a night, and coming home two hours before my work shift started. I remember quitting jobs before I had new ones lined up. I remember the confusion. I remember the bottles of cheap wine. I remember being called flaky, irresponsible and misguided. I remember the clouds of smoke that surrounded me & my friends. I remember the pills that floated around from hand to hand. We all lived in a fantasy; the fantasy of fun and freedom without repercussions… as if the consequences for our actions weren’t piling up outside of our imaginary doors.

I’m 26 now. I’m married now. I’m sober now. And I still have nothing figured out. Perhaps I’m reaching the Junior & Senior years of my Twenties; maybe, magically, soon I will learn how to be an adult and what it means to know myself.

But what if that’s not what I want? What if I still want to live in my discovery stage? What if I want to be poetically naive, surrounded by my curiosity? What if I still want to look up at the clouds and dream dreams that will never come true, but believe they will anyway?

I guess that’s the paradox of being in one’s Twenties. Or perhaps that’s just life in general. We don’t ever really know until we know … so during the wait, we might as well raise a glass (of, in my case, sparkling cider) and enjoy the ride.

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26 thoughts on “The Twenty-Something Blues

  1. It’s so tough! We’re all supposed to have knowledgeable, caring, inspiring parents or someone to guide us in the right direction. But I think the reality is a lot of us don’t. Not having that guidance is like a caveman never having someone teaching them now to hunt, stay away from poison berries, etc. They’re going to have a tough time in life.

    Those dreams that you believe will happen make for a good fuel for life. Not believing in anything makes living feel like a life not worth living. My twenty something blues have carried on to my thirty somethings…haha

    • Well at least I know that I still have lots of time to keep up with these blues ๐Ÿ™‚ And you’re right, without that parental guidance, it’s a lot tougher for… us lucky ones, right?

  2. I loved this post. I’m 37 now and I feel like I really didn’t start to know myself until my early 30’s. And now, I’m beginning to reach a point of self-awareness and confidence that is refreshing. But don’t worry, the discovery will never end. I’m still learning about myself and life, it’s just through a wiser set of eyes. And we should always enjoy the ride! Life is one big roller coaster!

  3. I think it’s an equally big lie to say that at 30 we’ll all magically figure out where we’re going with our life and what we’re doing. Why would it work like that?
    “Meaning” is what I define it to be, rather than what Life hands me.

    • True. I have definitely heard the “Turn 30 and everything fixes itself” thing many times. Though I am excited for the new journey, I do agree with you … the definition of “meaning” should be what we decide.

  4. With my 21st birthday coming up in 6 months, I’m absolutely mortified by what’s going to come in the next few years because for the first time in my life I truly have no idea. Thank you for the great read.

  5. I believe in life you should always be in the discovery stage, always willing to experience new things and see everyday through new eyes. The difference is as we get older we gain wisdom but we never quite figure it all out at once but we keep learning! Hold on and enjoy the journey! Great post!

  6. I haven’t blogged in a while or read blogs. But when I logged on two days ago I saw this blog and thought I have to come back and read this and I am glad I did. I always enjoy reading your blogs and this one made me think a lot about myself and how I am currently living. I am 22 and I agree that I find myself confused and misguided at times but I think there is truly a beauty about living through your twenties.

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