Everyone tells you that the best part of your twenties is rooted in your own freedom. You finally graduated college, you found a good job, you can absolutely splurge and buy that purse. Everyone tells you that being young, glowing, and on the way up is how you will define these years.
In fact, the best part of your twenties is in the friends you make along the way. For many, that means the mothers they meet at parent groups. The women who understand how hard it is to shove a little person out of your body. For girls like us, the best part of our twenties is defined by the women we get to know who build us into the best versions of ourselves.
We all lie, especially in high school and college. We present personas to the world which have absolutely no reflection on who we are. These lies mean that we end up becoming friends with people who identify with us on those terms. That is not friendship.
We do eventually find true friendship in a bar bathroom. We find it at work. We find it at church. We find it in a woman crying her eyes out on a park bench.
And for the first time in our lives, we found friends who understand and love the authentic us.
We all carry different demons as we travel so close to becoming 30 years old. And such being the case, we find women who understand exactly where we are. Exactly what we are going through. What we thought was something we were alone in worrying about, we find that there are others who are going through the same thing. Together we lost a friend the same day we stood beside her at the altar. Together we worry that we drink too much. Together we suddenly come to terms with anxiety and panic attacks for the first time in our lives. Together we schedule therapists, doctors, dentist appointments, and learn how to grow up. Some of us bond over being aware of the days every month that our bodies scream at us to get pregnant and grieve that we have never really had that chance.
They say it takes a village to raise a child. True. But it also takes a village to support a single woman through her twenties. That village isn’t made up of the same characters that raise a child. Instead, it is made up of other strong independent women who hold us. Hold our hair as we puke our guts out after a breakup. Hold our hands when we walk into difficult work social events. Hold our bags as we run a 5K. Hold our secrets as if they were their own. Hold us accountable for our actions.
As I write this, and as you read this, we know who those women are. The bitches that know when to make you take a tequila shot, but also know when to help you pretend you took it, offering their water glass for a place for you to pour it into. The little madams who call you a hundred times to make sure that you’re awake for that important work event. The phenomenal women who know when to let you cry, but also know when to tell you that you need to suck it up and fix yourself, to find a therapist STAT.
The best part of your twenties is not the financial freedom. It is not that we finally feel that we are about to make it. It isn’t even found in that spectacular job offer that we worked for a full decade to obtain. The best part of your twenties is that you genuinely find your tribe. You find the people you can be completely honest with and show your entire murky self to, knowing that they will love you anyway. You find the people that, because you have been so honest, help you make yourself into the best version of you.
The best part of your twenties is the ability to be completely and authentically yourself with your girl friends. To be finally able to share with someone all of the parts of you that you’d kept hidden so long. To be able to scream with laughter while lying across a queen-sized bed, watching a movie from way back when, yet the next day be reviewing each other’s papers, resumes, and court documents.
It’s never the people you thought it would be that support you through the most difficult and challenging years of your life. Yet even in the surprise of it all, it makes sense. Two glasses of Argentinian Malbec into a conversation, we understand why the other feels so broken. And while we can’t fix ourselves, we can absolutely work to fix the other.
The hardest part of your twenties is the friends you leave behind because they move, change themselves, or get married and find someone else to love more. There is another side. Truly, the best part of your twenties is found in the women you find in the most random places, who turn you from a broken, anxious little girl into a shining and beautifully fabulous woman.