I can still remember when I thought that phrase and life stage – one’s ‘twenties’ – felt light years away; like a true indication of adulthood. And now that I’m well and truly there, three years into my third decade, I’ve had that universal epiphany. You know – the one where it suddenly hits you that there isn’t really an age when you all the sudden feel grown up and like you have the answers necessary to make it in the real world.
My twenties definitely haven’t been about knowing the answers. Clarity, in fact, feels like an elusive butterfly I’m constantly chasing through a maddening, ever-widening field.
The more I learn, the more I think that confusion is going to be an integral part of my adult psyche.
But….. my twenties also have this semi-magical feeling, a grungy kind of beauty, like sunlight filtering through a glass window; the way it throws a glow around the dust motes twirling in the air. (I haven’t grown up enough to voluntarily dust my house). They’re about this contrast and mix of emotions; the freedom/responsibilities/messiness/self actualization that comes with burgeoning adulthood.
So I want to remember them. And maybe find some kindred twenty-something spirits to be my online, millennial version of the Sex And The City bffs.
So far, being in my twenties feels like this [present-participle list] Disclaimer: List of characterizations will be unfiltered, potentially cringey (depending on your tolerance to cringe) and aided/abetted by the three full glasses of Cab Sav I’ve already consumed:
(1) Identifying very much with women whose dating lives, sex lives, and social endeavors
are these all kind of the same thing? are much more varied and experimental than mine (happily married youngin’ here). Because it’s all about the head space we’re collectively in.
(2) Drinking champagne with Thai takeout. Balance.
(3) Drinking champagne while I work weekends. Also balance.
(4) Believing that I’ll practice proper skincare when I’m older, because 20 still seems so removed from 30. Except I’m almost 24, which is almost 25.
(5) Always feeling thrilled about staying in, but around 11 p.m. experiencing intense fear that I’m wasting another part of my youth, like how you look back on playing capture the flag with the neighborhood kids and hate that you didn’t realize how freaking good it all was. Also freshman year of college.
(6) Making pregnancy pacts.
(7) Breaking pregnancy pacts.
(8) Wondering how short is ‘too short’ for a twenty-something hemline.
(9) Wondering how much side boob is ‘too much’ twenty-something side boob.
(10) Praying for a street style-meets-professionalism revolution that will make these two things non-issues.
(11) Questioning whether I should start a more adult Instagram account in case my free-spirited blogger one doesn’t “go anywhere.”
(12) Learning to make my own rules. *Best perk of adulthood so far!*
(13) Shopping for off-brands. Hating it. (And cringing at my privileged woes.)
(14) Debating whether doctor’s appointments are really worth the awkward phone calls I now have to make to set them up myself.
(15) Feeling intensely attracted to my husband for his excel spreadsheet/financial calculating capabilites……. and aghast at this attraction.
(16) Being unsure of literally everything/making big decisions anyway.
(17) Actually answering my emails. Feeling pretty ‘WTF’ about it.
(18) Stretching a grocery trip so far that a jar of pickles becomes lunch and an unused cheese and cracker platter, my would-be contribution for a potluck, becomes supper for two.
(19) Buying lattes and booze as though they’re entirely separate from the aforementioned grocery budget.
(21) and alternately: FOMS (Fear Of Missing Sleep).
(22) Knowing my twitter might not be employer or running-for-public-office friendly, but hoping all we social-sharing millennials have equal amounts of skeletons in our social closets.
(23) Wanting a kitten. And a puppy. And a baby. Being unable to afford even one of these.
(24) Learning how hard adult friendships are to find.
(25) Getting first-date butterflies when an adult female connection actually occurs. True romance = female friendship.
(26) Lamenting career paths that have expired from “someday, maybe” to never happening: aka acting/modeling/joining the royal family.
(27) Happily learning that societal constraints aren’t actual walls and you can walk right through them.
(28) Aaand – dramatic internal gasp – realizing that 30 will probably feel just as young (and endearingly dumb) as 23.
I can’t wait for the future bullet points.
Kindred spirits – you out there?
Sending you love and intense writerly affection (brought to the surface with that most recent sip of red wine),
*a 23-year-old who sees daydreams in the dust motes*