1. You have room for mistakes.
The thing about making a heart-crushing mistake at the age of 24 is that it isn’t necessarily going to destroy your life indefinitely. (Even if it feels like it will when it’s happening.) Much like our knees, our spirits are fairly resilient and rubber-band like in their ability to go from “I am only ever going to love this one person for the rest of my life, I must breed with them as soon as possible, my ovaries hurt” to “Hey wow that barista is actually pretty hot, I hope that chest tattoo is as delicious to lick as it looks” in a matter of days. Things are not as final as they might be later in life, and the relationships we take ~extremely seriously~ may prove to not work out in the long term. Now is a time to experiment, and be ourselves, and take the chances we might not later. While it can be a bit scary, it certainly makes for relationships which are lived honestly and without fear — even though we kind of fear it when we can feel the “break-up talk” coming ominously towards us over breakfast.
2. People aren’t being judged as harshly.
We have heard a lot about the whole “being a stable person with a good income and a mature living situation is essential to finding those sweet ‘mate for life’ partners.” It seems to be a rubric that was used throughout history to decide who was just going to get some temporary boning and who was going to get into relationships for the long term. But now (especially given the dadaist landscape of our current job market), 20-somethings of all castes are mingling and settling in with each other, their expectations about what life should look like at 26 should look like generously lowered. You can have any number of backgrounds, any number of degrees, and any degree of unpaid in your internship, and still find someone who loves you. The relationships of our generation are less based on money than perhaps any other group’s, and it certainly makes for a more even playing field when it comes to being in love.
3. Your goals aren’t set in stone.
Maybe you want to have children. Maybe you want to get married. Maybe you want a beach house in Montauk for when you go to play with your several aryan children named Mitchell, Buckley, Chloe, and Rhett. But for now, all of those things are kind of up in the air. You’re not putting timetables on things yet — or, if you are, you at least know they are somewhat realistic. Relationships are able to unfold more organically because you’re not constantly checking your biological watch to make sure you’re not late for any appointments. And though there are definitely things we all want out of life, there is not the sense of urgency that is certain to come later, when the deadline is much closer to our immediate vicinity. It’s not a guarantee that any relationship will work — or that it can overcome inherent differences of goals — but it does mean that things are more open to change. And sometimes, when it comes to someone you really love in spite of your preconceived notions about what is “good on paper,” change can be good.