7 Things That Are Considered An Accomplishment For 20-Somethings
1. Going 5-7 days without drinking. Whenever I’m at a bar and say, “Wow, I can’t remember the last time I drank something. Could it have been 2 weeks? Jesus!” *pats self on the back* Then I start to do the math in my head and realize I had that glass of wine at dinner three days ago and, oh wait, I got totally wasted at that work event last weekend. Oops. I guess “a long time” translates to a single blink, a gulp of water, and one night in which I went to bed early.
2. Clearing out your Gmail inbox. Is anyone — 20-something or not — actually able to do this? It takes superhuman strength and perhaps a sliver of Adderall to accomplish said task. But damn if it doesn’t feel good when there are no emails bolded in your inbox. You feel weightless. You feel free. You could probably even have great sex afterwards. Go up to someone and be like, “There’s a void where my full Gmail inbox used to be. Can you fill it?”
3. Exiting a conversation without the person ever realizing that you secretly hate them. Sometimes I think my best work is not on the written page but getting out of these social assaults with ease and grace. Holding a conversation with someone you have zero in common with, laughing and nodding your head at the appropriate before politely excusing yourself: This is not easy work. These are what we call the social Olympics and although I don’t always get the gold, I’ve given some BRILLIANT performances in my day. “How are you? Tell me more about that thing I don’t care about. Really? I want to hear more even though I hate this right now. I’m in fucking agony. Is this what childbirth feels like? All right, well I have to go. When I leave, a sense of calm will wash over me. Can’t wait to feel that.” Yes, ladies and gentlemen, I’m the Michael Phelps of winning awkward conversations. Where’s my bong?
4. Printing something out. Printers are the number one foe for millennials. We would like to own one someday but maybe after we get married and have children. I don’t know. Owning a printer means your youth is officially over, right? Your friends will call you up and be like, “Let’s go out tonight! Bobby has some coke and I’m in the mood to make out with a mistake on legs!” You’ll tell them wearily, “I can’t go, Cynthia. I own a printer now.” And then Cynthia will get all quiet and a cloud of sadness will descend on the phone call. Her voice trembling, Cynthia will say to you, “That’s fine. I see how it is now. Good-bye forever, Tami.”
5. Meeting someone new. Meeting someone IRL these days is considered to be a sort of big deal. Isn’t that hilarious? Can you imagine people from the 20s or even the 80s seeing how socially inept we’ve become? “We’ve been texting nonstop for three weeks and now I’m nervous to meet him because I feel like there’s all this pressure, you know?” Um, you’re crazy. I hope you know that. I hope you know that this is why previous generations hate us so much. Being scared to do something as simple as meet someone? Please. In the olden days (read: 15 years ago), if you met someone who was sort of cute and didn’t seem like the type of person who would sell your liver on the black market, you’d be like, “Super! When are we having a baby? My schedule is pretty much open for the rest of my life.”
6. Not flaking out on plans. “Oh my god, what are you doing here?” a bewildered friend greets you at happy hour. “Well, you did say to meet you at this bar at 6:30 p.m., right?” “Um, yeah, but I didn’t think you’d actually show up! Wow! This is awesome!”
7. Answering someone’s phone call who isn’t your parents or the Time Warner Cable guy. “Hello?” your confused friend will say on the other end of the line. “Hey babe. What’s up?” “Um, nothing. Gee.” “What? Is something wrong?” “No, I just never thought you’d pick up. I don’t even really have, like, a conversation prepared. I was just feeling very vintage today and decided to call someone on the phone. I gotta go actually but I’ll text you in a sec.”
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When I say I’m in love with you, I mean I love the story I can tell to my next lover, about my ex-lover, about how beautiful things were, how intense, how storybook, what a couple we were, and how you gradually, inexplicably, painfully, bit by bit, disappeared.
“I used to be afraid of failing at something that really mattered to me, but now I’m more afraid of succeeding at things that don’t matter.”
I was 24 and, while not gay, ever since college I had been getting more attention from gay men than from heterosexual women.
I realize that one can’t turn heterosexual overnight, but I thought I’d no longer be having gay desires.