Everything is going to pass in a hazy blur at 20; you will be treated as a fragile, uncoordinated kid one moment, then allowed to do things on your own the next. Welcome to young adulthood, where a free trial is not an option. But don’t worry, it gets better.
At 21, you’ll get a shot to freedom and feel a different kind of scary as you consider moving out of your town and into a new city to find your place, to find yourself. It’s daunting, but no one ever made it in this life by playing safe. But if you continue reading, you’ll know you will get through this; it’s just a phase after all.
You’re going to live all the fantasies in your mind. You’re going to go to every party you get invited to, drink a little too much, break the things you love so much, and wake up with a hangover. But it’s alright. The world will not judge you. After all, you’re just feeling 22.
At 23, you’ll think you have things figured out. But things are just going to start to change—your body, your state of mind, even your perceptions in life. You’re going to lose your mind, tell yourself it’s not your fault, say things you did not mean, take them all back, then realize it’s all just you blowing things out of proportion like you always do.
At 24, you’re going to break rules. And you are going to break a lot! More than the number you broke in high school and college. Because life will somehow force you to make a litany of rules, which you are going to break one way or another anyway. And this comes as a result of humans inherently not wanting to be simplified or generalized. There’s just no way for us to strictly adhere to rules. So do not sweat yourself, but choose which rules to break every once in a while.
At 25, Grey’s Anatomy will make you cry. And it’s going to make you cry a lot! When you reach adolescence, you’ll find that you already have gone through so many challenges. You even won at some of them, and you deserve a pat on the back for coming out stronger and wiser. But one thing you will never be immune to is the emotional traces those battles have left you with. Watching shows like Grey’s Anatomy will remind you of those, as if Meredith Grey took pages from your book. And those words will hit you to the core and will make you cry just a little bit too much. Just know crying is not an indication of weakness; it’s a reminder of how strong and mature you have been for so long.
At 26, you either stay or sashay away. The thing about RuPaul’s Drag Race is you will be reminded to be strong because life is full of shady people with schemes lurking in the bushes, ready to strike when the time has come. You will be reminded to pick your messy self up, face the mirror, put on your own kind of drag, and get back up there! No one is going to root for you but yourself. RuPaul always says, “If you can’t love yourself, how in the hell are you going to love somebody else?” And it’s true. Point being, life is never fair and never too just. But you will have your tribe to depend on and rely upon when things go wrong; people who will cheer you up when things take a positive turn.
At 27, you’ll learn that you win some, you lose some. Notice how you loved to read books and how you can’t seem to put one down. At 8 o’clock, you said that chapter 10 was the last for the day. But when the clock ticked to midnight, you were at chapter God-knows-what. Or remember when you used to binge-watch a TV series and would say, “Last episode”? You used to love to sing, dance, and explore the great outdoors, but all of a sudden you don’t. Doing those things do not make sense anymore in the same way everything else does. Let me tell you this: It’s practically normal. Nothing is wrong with you. This is just part of the process called change. You are changing and you have to embrace life from a different perspective. See this as an opportunity to learn different skill sets.
At 28, you should learn quality is better than quantity. Sound cliché? It should. But it remains to be true. You’ll question yourself and your entire belief system once you start losing some people in your life, but change should be embraced. The emotional toll can be all-consuming, but it’s also something that you will get over and be thankful for. It’s tough to lose people, and you should learn to value and treasure those who chose to stay.
At 29, late afternoons will make you cry. You’re going to cry for making a wrong decision. And that’s okay. You’re going to call your mom and try to sound happy while holding back tears that are threatening to spill. And that’s okay. You’re going to call your friends and tell them how you got your heart broken again, explaining while trying to steady your voice. And that’s okay. You’re going to feel alone and empty after a day at work and cry because you were scolded by your boss; you are no longer sure why you still do what you do. And that’s okay. Cry if you must. Cry if you should—it helps ease the pain.
Your 20s will not define the rest of your life. It’s the perfect time to make mistakes, be rebellious, make soft and hard choices, get your heart broken, champion your fears, succeed, fail, learn from failures, step into the daylight, and cry. No, your 20s will not define your future, but they will serve as the foundation of your next decade. How well or bad you do, that’s up to you. After all, your 20s is just a crazy roller coaster ride.