13 Specific Emotions You Suddenly Start Experiencing In Your Mid-20s

1. Netflix justification. While your love for watching 17 episodes of a television show in a row hasn’t changed, your feeling of “well otherwise I would be doing homework, and that must be avoided all costs” mentality has. Now, with each episode you watch, you have to go through a whole process of justification/shame-management when you think of all the things you could be doing with your time.

2. Desk-eating depression. At first, there was a bit of a novelty to eating your lunch at your desk, because it meant you were this cool working person, with things like a desk, and a career, and healthy-ish (because your coworkers can see it) lunch. But now, you catch yourself looking down and being overwhelmed with sadness at your leftover chicken pasta salad out of a tupperware and lukewarm Coke Zero. You want to go outside to eat but, eh, it’s so far away.

3. Phantom wedding fatigue. You are not getting married any time soon, and certainly aren’t planning a wedding, but you are overwhelmed with fatigue at the whole concept. You see so many people around you posting pictures of cake tasting and calligraphy and location scouting that all you want to do is lie in bed and watch television, to avoid all of this intensive event-planning you’re not actually doing.

4. Phantom baby fatigue. You are also overwhelmed with babies, because you can’t seem to escape them. Even the act of “liking” multiple daily photos of people’s children and leaving supportive comments feels like an intense emotional undertaking, and you feel like you’ve gotten your dose of babies just by looking at all of these Instagram-filtered images of other peoples’.

5. “I’m still bad at social media” resignation. One would imagine that by 25 or so, you’ve mastered the art of not posting dumb shit on Facebook while drunk, and yet, there you are, writing vaguely aggressive comments on your crush’s profile picture.

6. Sibling realization. It’s so strange — one day you look over at your younger sibling and they are a full-blown adult, whereas a mere three days ago they were a child and you were the rebellious teenager/early-20-something who had all of this living to do. Now they are making mistakes, and drinking alcohol, and having significant others, and arguing with your parents about petty shit. And it’s simply too much to handle.

7. Office aging. Is there any realization more extreme than that of “I am no longer the youngest person in the office?” No longer are your mistakes excused by the flighty indiscretions of youth — you have someone who is younger, and likely sexier, and now you are supposed to have your shit together.

8. Apartment envy. Although there is apartment envy at all ages, it’s certainly strongest in its mid-20s. There are some apartments you go to and just feel overwhelmed with this sense of “Well, shit, I guess I’ll never be worth anything… Are those footrests from Crate + Barrel? I swear to god, if they are from Crate + Barrel…”

9. Brunch pressure. I think we’re all living a simultaneous lie, because brunch is expensive as shit, and yet nothing makes you feel like more of a scrub than being like “Hey, I can’t just go spend 40 dollars on pancakes and cocktails this Sunday morning, maybe we can just meet for coffee later in the day?” It’s a form of peer pressure that breaks the soul.

10. Dating site fatigue. When you first got on them, it was all so novel and cool, like “I can meet people that don’t live in my building or work in my office??? What is this black magic???” and now all you can feel is remorse for having signed up to a site that provides you with 30 gross sexual innuendo messages per day.

11. Junk food awareness. You used to just sort of eat, and everything worked itself out. You would get twisted on your Smirnoff Ice or whatever, walk to Taco Bell, eat three Crunchwrap Supremes, and then wake up at noon and hit IHOP with total impunity. But now you’re aware that, at the very least, you are going to be really, really bloated if you do this. At worst, you’re going to gain seven pounds and get winded going up three flights of stairs. You are suddenly aware of all the gross food you’re taking, and have to dole it out at least somewhat.

12. 21-year-old bitterness. You’re only a few years away from them, but already you’re like “Ugh, Christ, get out of my bars.” You feel that you have evolved to a refined, classy level of getting drunk, where they are all kamikazes and Red Bulls and bumping into you while dancing to their 21-year-old music. You feel a bitterness towards them that at least partially stems from jealousy, even though you don’t like to admit it.

13. Seamless love. One of the most overwhelming emotions, the deep, spiritual connection you form while making it through your 20s, has to be the love between you and your Seamless account. No matter what is going on, no matter how stressed out you are, no matter how late you come home from work or what you are craving, there it is. Embracing you, taking you in its big, Seamless-y arms and asking you what you want for dinner.

Pad thai, Seamless, I would like Pad Thai. And a hug. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

Read more in our bestselling ebook How to Be a 20-Something here.


Chelsea Fagan founded the blog The Financial Diet. She is on Twitter.

Keep up with Chelsea on Twitter

More From Thought Catalog