Girl Scout Badges For 20-Somethings
Survive off the following meals for up to two years: spaghetti with Prego (do not warm up sauce), mashed potatoes, Activia yogurt, cheese on toast, scrambled eggs on toast, Cinnamon Toast Crunch, anything else with the word “toast” attached to it.
Spend 40% of your earnings at Whole Foods. Fill your kitchen with at least five of the following items: kale, tempeh, miso, stevia, oat groats, chia, hemp hearts, or kombucha. Go vegan. Not for political or health reasons, but because it makes you feel more together when you say things like, “Sorry, I don’t keep milk in the house. Is coconut milk creamer okay?” Eat cheeseburgers almost every time you go to a restaurant because “meh, whatever. Screw it.”
Make your friends wait a minimum of 1.5 hours in line for a new brunch spot that’s on Urban Spoon’s Hottest in Town list. Plus, Ryan Reynolds ate there last week so maybe you’ll see him. Promise your friends that the pulled pork pancakes are supposed to be “uhmaaazing” and that it will be totally worth it. It won’t be. The coffee is pretty decent though.
Go to a costume party and have too much to drink. Witness your boyfriend standing a few inches too close to a cute girl wearing cat ears. Completely overreact. Options include: a) walking up and yelling at both of them; b) hiding in a stranger’s bedroom, refusing to come down until “the bitch is gone;” c) storming out, leaving your purse and jacket behind so you’re forced to sulk back in 15 minutes later, splochy-faced and ashamed.
Justify being dumped with one of the following excuses: a) “With the promotion and stuff things have just been really stressful for him at work;” b) “We’re just in different spaces in terms of our goals and life timelines;” c) “He just got scared.”
Carry on a casual relationship with someone who is the opposite of your type, but who is also 6’4” with no body fat. Examples include: a) a part-time tennis coach who wears a lot of leather bracelets; b) a lifeguard who is always inviting you over for a “chill sesh;” c) anyone who is still using the word “hella.” Bring him home after parties. Send him packing in the morning with a banana and a “catch ya later, buddy.”
Date a man in his late 30s because guys your age just can’t “get it together” and you need an “actual man.” Date for three months until he becomes increasingly uncomfortable over your abundance of Boy Meets World references and the fact that you still get grocery money from your parents. Break up under the pretense that you’re in “very different places.”
Finding Your Way
Spend a few months in what your parents describe to you as a “rut.” Decide you need to focus on yourself and hastily leave town for between three and five months. Go to Thailand. Learn to skimboard. Instagram a photo of you drinking from a bucket. Fall for an Australian ski instructor you met at a Full Moon party. Be “so inspired by the kindness and simplicity of the people.” Return home with both a new purse and new sense of purpose.
After a few mediocre dates, make the choice that you don’t actually want to date anyone right now, and you’re kind of happy doing your own thing. Mean it.
Live alone for at least one year. Learn how to pay your bills. Learn how expensive everything is. Buy a toilet brush, salad tongs and a soap caddy. Talk to yourself while doing dishes. Host a dinner party with jazz music, table settings, and wine that doesn’t come from the “value drinks” section. Develop fear of cutting off your finger with your new utility knife. Who will drive you to the hospital? Are you supposed to put it on ice? Remind yourself to look that up later.
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The apartment you lived in your first year out of school, the walk-up with a view of the street.
I wanted to quit my job. I hated my boss.
His eyes widened, he became angry, and backed off of me. I told him he could leave now. Now. He said “With you being a good Christian girl, and me studying to be a priest, I think it’s important we not tell anyone what we did.”
In a fallen world, hope, like faith, is often the hardest thing to hold onto especially when you need it the most.