Before Britney Spears married Kevin Federline, shaved her head and attacked a car with an umbrella, she did one thing right. She (but really her songwriters) pointed out to all 20 something girls that we’re not really women just yet, but we’re also not 15-year-old immature skanks anymore (well, most of us, anyway…).
25 is a really weird/hard age. Actually, just being in your 20s in general is really weird/hard. You don’t realize how different shit is from college until you’re in your first real job at age 22, sitting in your first real apartment, drinking a glass of wine alone and thinking “What is this? Where all of my friends? Why aren’t we living in one, big, completely rundown house and making passive aggressive comments about taking the trash out?” Suddenly, you’re responsible for everything that goes wrong or undone in your domestic life. That rotting chicken smell is YOUR fault. The toilet paper running out? YOU’RE TO BLAME. Leaving the air on all day, full blast? You’re a dumbass. Being in your 20s means no more pointing fingers, but stepping up and admitting to your stupidity.
It also means being confused all the time. You thought being a teenager was awkward and anxiety provoking? That was just the tip of the iceberg. Try figuring out how to be a functioning adult in the real world. Wait, no. YOUNG adult. Don’t ever forget that “young” – it’s imperative, our scapegoat and saving grace. “I don’t have life insurance yet. I’m still a young adult.” “No, I didn’t fill out the census. I’m just a young adult.” “Yeah, I had wings for lunch. I’m a young adult.” There are so many worries to consider when you’re stuck in this perplexing, in-between phase of life. Allow me to provide you close-to-home examples:
What do I wear?
There’s this incredible urge in your 20s (SIDENOTE: when I say “your 20s,” I hope you all know I am referring specifically to 23 and up. Fuck this 20, 21-year-old bullshit. You kids don’t know what life is about) to want to own every piece of clothing produced from J.Crew while sporting a fun scarf from Forever 21. In other words, looking put together while still being able to keep your quirky, young side intact with colorful scarfs and maybe one or two bracelets made of yarn. It’s a delicate, confusing balance of wanting to dress maturely but not suddenly lose that fun side. For the first time in your life, you find yourself magnetically drawn to Italian-made custom suits and full-skirt dresses, yet you REALLY want those combat boots with studs on them at the same damn time. Suddenly, the infinite amount of thrift store t-shirts I own disgust me. Who the fuck actually collects THIS many t-shirts? And they’re never-ending. I swear to God, I have gone through my collection of thrift store finds at least ten times since college, and they still fill up every dresser drawer. Dressing in your 20s is tricky. You don’t want to look stuffy and professional, but you also don’t want to be that girl or guy who continues to dress like they’re walking around campus, trying new and really upsetting fashion trends. This is why you use Pinterest for inspiration, people. Get on it and utilize that shit.
Who do I date?
When you were young… you never needed anyone… and making love was just for fun. THOSE DAYS ARE GONE. Or at least that’s what it feels like. When you get cast into the unforgiving world of real world dating, it’s a miracle among the gods when you actually meet someone who’s worth more than one date. That’s because, in college, YOU DON’T DATE. You either whore around for 4+ years or end up calling the first guy you sleep with more than once your “boyfriend” and, four years later, are either going through the terrible 20something breakup with him or marrying him. It’s always one of the two. No effort or thought goes into college boyfriends. You booze together, you bang like rabbits and you fall in love over team colors and late night, very inebriated pizza. When you find yourself in the lion’s den of real world dating, shit’s a lot more complicated. You know nothing about this person, whereas in college, you most likely had a very specific idea of who they were before you even hung out with them since they lived in the frat next door and a friend of a friend was good friends with him and knew he grew up in Minnesota, has two older sisters and works at the local bar around the corner from your sorority. In real-life scenarios, you have no idea who this person is, where they’re from, what their family is like, what they do, how they got to do what they’re doing, where they went to college, who they hang out with, how they became friends with those people they hang out with, where they live, how far that is from your house, how many people they’ve dated, how many people they’ve boned, if they have STDs, IF THEY PICK THEIR NOSE ON A REGULAR BASIS? PLUS, this shit is eons more important at 23+ years of age than from 18-22. From 18-22, you can date a bartender with a big schlong who gets you super drunk and sometimes buys you your favorite 6-pack of beer and call it love. From 23 and up, there are so many questions to be answered and unforeseen events to happen. It’s not about if he’s going to ask you to his frat’s winter formal, but is he going to treat you right and take you out to dinner on a Saturday? Is he going to pay for it? And the granddaddy of all real-life dating questions: if I sleep with him, will I ever hear from him again? Depressing, I know. But let’s not kid ourselves here, guys. Real-life dating is far from a fairytale – it involves a lot of guards being up and smart choices being made (both of which humans are kind of bad at by nature). Just keep this in mind: keep all body limbs within the vehicle at all times until you have some sort of commitment. That’s my advice to you.
Where do I even work?
Half the time we’re at work, we’re in a dazed and confused state as to where we are and what we’re even supposed to be doing (yes, STILL at 25). Three years into this real world working process, I still find myself inwardly pondering… “wait – what do you MEAN I can’t gchat and pin all day long and do work in between?” Don’t these people know that an 8-hour day is overkill in working world. I have a feeling I could get all my required work accomplished in three hours or less, so those extra five hours are pointless and need to be filled with repins and likes. Don’t they also know how GOOD our generation is at multi-tasking (except for the idiots who haven’t perfected texting and driving and get in wrecks over it). I can be ordering something online, while tweaking my latest post, and answering work emails and filling out spreadsheets ALL AT ONCE! It’s a wretched thing that once we’re working for good, the highlights of our Monday-Fridays are: going to the bathroom, getting water, getting coffee, going out for an hour-long lunch (but really thirty minutes when you calculate driving there, ordering, eating, and then driving back), and when we realize it’s 4:45 p.m. (I don’t know why, but this exact time is the time that makes me elated that the workday is nearing a close). However, don’t get too anxious – it’s completely normal to not be in your dream job at this age. Don’t beat yourself up if you still have a job and not necessarily a career – THERE’S STILL TIME! Although, I will admit that when I see people from my college posting about their amazing new journalism gigs or entertainment industry jobs, I get a lurching feeling in my stomach followed immediately by thoughts like “Whatever. I bet their boyfriend’s penis is small” or “Good for her. She was always boring anyway” or “I need alcohol and please dear god tell me I recorded the latest ‘Say Yes To The Dress.” You learn to deal the best way you know how – it’s all about finding what method of denial works best for you and your 25-year-old brain.
Who are my actual friends?
This one is a doozy. If you are anything like me, you lived out most of your tween and teen years switching best friends every two weeks. One week Susie’s hair looked better so you deemed her worthy of best friendship, the next week Lily’s outfit was completely coordinated down to her underwear (don’t ask how you knew this) so CLEARLY she was the more appropriate BFF choice for the time being. C’est la vie, ya know? However, once the prolonged hangover of college is over and you can finally think somewhat clearly again and get through an evening without alcohol (still very rare), you begin to realize that maybe it’s time to reevaluate your so-called friendships. Are you REALLY going to make efforts to stay in touch with that one friend who was wasted every single night of her life or that one girl in your film class that you really clicked with and ended up sitting next to every semester? When you’re in your awkward, confusing 20s, something clicks that says “Ya know what? For as immature as I still can be and for as much as I know drama will never NOT exist in life, I can at least try and lessen all that with making solid friend choices.” It hits you that family is the most important, best friendships are few and far between, and how important it truly is to make sure only the most top notch people are chosen to partake in your life. It takes a lot of effort to maintain serious friendships. It’s sort of similar to having a child; it takes nurturing, care, a lot of empathy, patience, time, selflessness, listening, learning, respecting, confronting, and more times than not, just at least being sure to text back promptly. Being 20something is hard enough without adding on the complication of shitty or half-ass friends. Break-ups, horrible jobs, deep self-introspection, poverty, starvation… this shit happens every day and you need a small but mighty army of someones to help you through it. Otherwise, you’re gonna die in a pool of your pathetic vomit ridden with chunks of Papa John’s pizza and chocolate chip gelato (not speaking from my own diet here. Not at all).
25. 25 years of life. 25 years of growing, of changing, of kind of maturing a little but not a lot, of eating and realizing “Hey! I actually LIKE beans and my god – so many things taste good on a burger besides cheese and ketchup only!” 25 years and still just as confused and immature feeling as ever. BUT HEY – that’s why they say you always feel young at heart, right? At least we can know and say we’re all in this together. Except for the fucktards who are already married with babies or some shit. That’s just dumb. I can barely be to work by 9 in the morning – expecting me to grow up and buy a house and pop out a child is just other-worldly. I’m gonna go drink some wine alone in my one bedroom apartment now. Probably eat some chocolate chip gelato, too. Happy 25, y’all.