The 5 Pillars Of Being A 20-Something
Declaration of Faith
Ever since the dawn of civilization, 20-somethings have been united by their faith in one true goal. They keep this at the forefront of their minds by reciting the following mantra: I will find a job and not be a complete failure. I will find a job and not be a complete failure. Many 20-somethings chant this as part of their morning routines, though it is especially important to recite during major holidays and phone calls with parents.
There are three types of fasting recognized by the 20-something: aesthetic fasting, for the purpose of fitting into skinny jeans; fasting as compensation for failing to buy groceries; and ritual fasting as a result of unemployment. All 20-somethings at some point celebrate the fasting holiday known colloquially as Ramen-dan. From sunrise to sunset, the 20-something drinks only water and whatever coffee shops provide for free — typically whole milk and Sweet’N Low. They will break their fast at nightfall with Top Ramen and whatever scraps are left in the fridge. A traditional dish prepared during Ramen-dan is bread butts dipped in pickle brine.
All 20-somethings, regardless of personal wealth, are obliged to give back to their community. They are expected to routinely donate at least 99 cents to the iTunes accounts of some undernourished musicians. Those with means, however, are compelled to buy the vinyl. Other acceptable forms of charity include buying clothes from thrift stores, being vegan (which is like charity for animals), riding a bike (which is like charity for air breathers), and going to the independent movie theater. Some 20-somethings find they are unable to afford these forms of charity, but they are still expected to spring for a six-pack now and then.
At some point in the decade, all 20-somethings who are physically capable and financially irresponsible must try living in New York City. Before arriving in the city, they should don the traditional attire, which varies by season and magnitude of irony — the objective is to strip away any social distinctions so that everyone looks more or less like a hipster. There are a number of rites the 20-something must perform while living in New York, including walking seven times past a bar without finding the entrance, biking seven times between downtown and Central Park without getting doored, and the symbolic “stoning of the devil,” which means getting super high and eating Brick Lane’s spicy curry.
At least five times a day, all 20-somethings must prostrate themselves, or sit in an office chair, and face toward Macbook. They look deep into the light of their screens and connect with something larger than themselves, searching for truth, love, job postings and restaurant reviews. Devout 20-somethings maximize their connection with the all-knowing by carrying smartphones, so that the warming presence of Google may be with them always.
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If you’ve been looking for a chance to say something then this very well could be it.
I wish to God I’d had a list like this when I was 23.
Answer phones better than anyone else has answered phones before. Relay messages so brilliant, they bring people to tears. Turn the coffee run into the choreography of Swan Lake. Become best friends with every intern and every underling and every taxi driver you encounter.
I remember taking the pen and notebook from that woman outside the courtroom, flipping to a clean page in the book, and writing, JESSICA IS SAD in big, bold, uncoordinated letters. “My sister is going to be a good writer someday! Look at how nice her lines are!”