I’m 23 years old, but on the tail, kinda sick of the overdone Blink-182 references, end of 23. Safe to say, my early 20s are pretty much donezo. I know this, because using the word donezo sounds embarrassingly forced.
Since the 20+ months it’s been on YouTube, I’ve been a rather big fan of Pat Stansik’s “Im 24” music video — the tagline of which is “I’m not really that old, but not that young.” One of those simple lines that means so much more if you decide to look at it the right way. 24, it seems, is the age where you know everything, but don’t really know what to do with any of that information. There was a line in the most recent Girls episode (crucial reference) that said something similar — that we have all this information and all these thoughts that are good and actionable, but don’t really know how to properly utilize a lot of them.
Anyway, a lot of #growth happens between 20 and 24. People change, bro. Here’s how:
1. You’ve realized that every experience, even the ones that appear to be complete wastes of time, can be manipulated into something valuable. Or at the very least, you’ve convinced yourself that’s true.
2. You’ve stopped giving as much of a shit of what others think of you. Though this is less out of moral righteousness, and more out of necessity.
3. College feels like “forever ago.” But when you reunite for college/pregame functions, it feels like you never left. Which you know, because at least 3 different people will utter the phrase “dude, it’s like we never left.”
4. You still love drinking, but are kinda shocked that not too long ago, was spent hanging out in minimalist rooms where the only objective was to get as drunk as possible.
5. Similarly, you have no idea how you ever willingly stomached the flavored Burnett’s collection.
6. Your drinking now is more frequent — maybe most days — but it’s definitely not as ratchet. One to two beers with a meal, or a casual after work happy hour. You enjoy acknowledging this, because it makes you feel like an “actual adult.”
7. You’ve referred to yourself as “an actual adult” enough times to make anyone you’re talking to throw up in their mouth.
8. By this point, you’ve heard the phrase “paying your dues” at least 1,000 times. You get the concept, but wish you had some money to actually pay them.
9. Your clothing selection matures. I’m slowly making the transition from hoodies to those turtleneck boyfriend trapper things. I’ve also weirdly started to care whether or not my shirts have wrinkles.
10. Since you’re a few years closer to dying, you’ve probably started working out for the sole purpose of making sure you stay healthy.
11. In terms of the dating game, people are more scattered than ever. Some are serious, some are scarily hinting at marriage, and many are extremely single with no inkling of becoming locked down. “Such a mess,” they’ll say.
12. You’ve probably lived in at least 3 different places over the past four years, and sometimes imagine what it’d be like if your apartments could talk to each other.
13. With anxious frequency, you legitimately wonder how you’re ever gonna make enough money to support a family, let alone have anything to help pay for their college education. For now, you’ve convinced yourself that the college education system is gonna totally collapse by the time your kids turn 18.
14. Speaking of kids, the idea of having them sounds repulsive. Though you’re now aware enough to realize that in 7-10 years, that’ll probably change.
15. You finally understand why everyone 32 and older hates you and your generation. Despite thinking that you’ve accumulated enough information to run shit, you know you haven’t had enough experiences to really relate to anyone.
16. Whatever you want out of life, you now realize that it’s gonna change so many times over the years that what you want now is probably going to be old news in 24 months’ time. No such thing as straight line to #success.
17. At the same time, you’ve probably figured out, in some form, what it is you want to spend your days doing. The prospect of devoting yourself to some sort of cause seems weirdly empowering, in a way that if written about, it would probably be mocked by insecure strangers who are terrified of vulnerability.
18. You’re old enough to appreciate the value of nostalgia. but you’re not really old enough to be nostalgic for half the things you’re nostalgic for. Conveniently, you don’t care.
19. In relation to your friends at age 20 — you’ve either grown with them, or have outgrown them.
20. Whereas you still get mountains of advice from everyone you meet that’s at least 2 years older than you, you’ve started to pass you sage wisdom onto the younger members of your cohort. So goes the endless cycle of empty obligatory nodding.
21. Mornings used to be as evil as that terror Devil baby. Now, they’re a great topic of conversation for insinuating that you have your shit together.
22. You’re not old enough to have completely given up on your dreams. But you realize that if you’re gonna have any shot at making them happen, you’ll probably have to do some nightmarish things.
23. You’ve finally realized that all your thoughts are not in fact epiphanies.
24. You’ve come to the heartbreaking conclusion that no matter how much you may have grown over the past few years, you’re still way too young to have a remote chance at conquering the New York Times crossword puzzle.