Even though I crossed the threshold into my 30s well over a year ago, sometimes I still feel like I’m 20 years old. I feel young, and I feel like people are constantly looking at me, thinking “she’s too young” to be doing this or that. It’s not because I think I look like I’m 20 years old, it’s just that sometimes I have the….let’s see, what’s the word for it? Fear. Yep, sometimes I have the fear that I’m still 20 years old.
Don’t get me wrong, life as 20-year-old Jillian LeCompte wasn’t bad. It wasn’t bad at all.
At 20 years old, I was going to college in sunny San Diego, dating my soon-to-be-husband-then-ex-husband, and getting drunk every day in between. I was going on modeling shoots, taking weekend trips with my friends to L.A., and keeping up with my MySpace pics and LiveJournal blog.
I was sneaking into bars, attending college parties, and studying for exams (last-minute all-nighters, of course).
My only real worries involved not having enough money to pay my college apartment rent (in which case I would have to borrow money from my parents), or when I would see my boyfriend next. Very trivial worries in the grand scheme of life, wouldn’t you say?
So why would I never want to be 20 years old again? Because I was also oh-so-stupid back then. And I’m not the only one. All of us were. Every single 20-year-old out there is nothing compared to the person they will be ten years from now. Justin Bieber? Ten years from now, he’ll look back on his peeing-in-mop-buckets and egging-the-neighbors-house antics and realize just how stupid he really was.
There are some exceptions, of course. For example, I don’t think Charles Manson improved very much from the ages of 20 – 30, but I digress.
I’m 31 years old now, and I’m smart enough to know that although I’m smarter in my older age, I’m nowhere near where I’ll be ten years from now…and ten years from then…and so on.
So to anyone in your 20s, just know that life will be radically different 10 years from now, in ways you would never expect. You’ll grow so much as a person and the things that interest you now will most likely be just a mere blip on your radar (with some exceptions, of course).
Here are some examples of how different my life is now vs then:
1. Going Out.
At 20 years old, going out was everything. Whether it was during the weekend or on a weekday (sometimes even better!), I was down.
If I DIDN’T go to some sort of party or event that my friends were going to, I would actually get anxiety about it, thinking that I was “missing out.” I would picture my friends at said event, bonding and laughing at things they would bring up in conversations for weeks to come, and I’d be forced to smile politely while frantically wondering what the hell they were talking about.
At 30 years old, you don’t really give a shit. If you go out, you go out. Whenever my plans are canceled, I typically feel a sense of relief that I can spend another nice and quiet night at home, with just me and Anderson Cooper.
At 20 years old, when I DID go out, I would usually eat a quick dinner, start getting ready at about 9 PM, head out around 10:30 or 11, and return home (or not) no earlier than 4 AM.
At 30 years old, everything starts about 2 – 3 hours earlier (including wake up times!). Your new schedule may look something like this:
6 PM– Shower and get ready.
7:30 PM– You arrive at your dinner destination.
9 PM– You’re either lingering at the above dinner destination (coffee, maybe an after-dinner drink, etc), or you decide to go to a separate bar to drag the night out a little bit longer.
11 PM– If you’re not home already, you’re on your way there or at the very least, saying your good-byes to the crew.
Midnight– You’re in bed and well on your way to dream land.
8 AM – You’re awake and showering so you can run some morning errands (because that’s what you do now – you run errands, practically every day).
Please note that the dinner isn’t the “pre-party;” it’s actually the main event of your night. It might be followed by some drinks if you’re down to get a little crazy, but the bed time typically remains the same.
3. Social Media Profiles.
When you’re 20 years old, social media is EVERYTHING. You live on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. You can’t wait to update everyone on the cool/amazing/fun/sexy thing you’re doing, or to post that #nomakeup pic (if you’re a girl) or that pic of you in the locker room after a hard workout (if you’re a guy). Even though none of the social media accounts I listed above were around when I was 20, I did have Friendster and MySpace (Google it, young’ns).
I would be lying through my teeth if I said the obsession with social media doesn’t leak over into your 30s. It does. You do almost the exact same thing, except clean it up a little, in case your employers are looking. But not only are you obsessed with your personal profiles, you also have to keep up with your professional profiles too, like LinkedIn. Sure, you can still post the “OMG what is Julia Roberts wearing at the #GoldenGlobes?” tweet on Twitter, but you might also want to follow that up with a post on LinkedIn, linking to an article about the Stand Your Ground law in Florida.
When you’re in your 20s, chances are you’re in no hurry to get that ring on your finger or to start popping out babies. You take things date-by-date, or you declare you’re in love and are going to one day get married…but then nothing really happens for the next 3 – 5 years.
In your 30s, relationships move a hell of a lot quicker. All of a sudden, your time is a lot more valuable and you don’t want to waste it hanging out with someone you can’t immediately see a future with. It’s not as easy to meet people, so if you exhaust all of your friends’ friends and coworkers’ friends, you create some dating profiles on sites such as OKCupid or Tinder. You meet people online, and if it doesn’t happen for you after one date, you typically don’t see that person again, and you move on to the next. If it DOES work out and you continue dating, chances are there will be some major relationship moves (or talks, at the very least) within a year.
I had a shitload of friends when I was in my 20s. I had best friends, going out friends, friends I would see once in awhile, proximity friends, acquaintances, etc. I couldn’t know enough people, or have enough events to be invited to.
Now, I have about 5 – 10 friends (not including the other halves of couples), and that’s all I need, even all I have time for. Those going out friends? They tend to not be so great when something major goes wrong in your life (and the older you get, the more things go wrong).
You have a whole new type of worrying to do when you’re in your 30s. You worry about when you’ll settle down (if you’re not already), how you’ll afford to buy a property if you don’t own one yet, or maybe you’ll have kids and that’s an entirely new set of worries.
You know what else is more of a concern when you’re in your 30s? Things can happen to you that you would never even have imagined for yourself. Divorce, for example. My ex and I are officially getting a divorce this year, and I have to say that I never in a million years would have imagined that I’d be a 31-year-old divorcee. I also never imagined that I’d no longer be friends with some of my old best friends, lose someone in our group to a drug overdose, or have to leave the job I loved due to an acquisition. I never would have guessed that I’d be sitting here today, typing out this blog post…essentially a jobless divorcee.
And why didn’t I know? Because I was oh-so-stupid back then.