Being 20 is nothing special. I won’t bitch about the shitty laws that prevent me from buying overpriced cocktails at speakeasies with my bougie and socially unaware friends, though that would make for a fun article. Instead, I’ll give you an honest account of what it’s like to be a single and cynical twenty-year-old who’s trying to reignite combusted relationships and make new “meaningful” ones along the way.
I’ve lost touch with 90% of my high school class. I graduated from high school three years ago, but that doesn’t seem like it was too long ago or too recent. Half of the lost relationships cooled naturally, for lack of a better term. I abandoned the rest because I didn’t want to be around people who didn’t take every opportunity to be successful or position themselves for future success. To me, success can be an abstruse and imprecise measure but I still rely on my [arguably] infallible intuition to separate motivated do-gooders from burnouts who would consider reading this piece a grossly indulgent activity.
Now, we’re left with the 10%. These people, at one point or another, were my closest friends. We knew each other intimately, courtesy of drunk and sporadic rounds of Never Have I Ever. We’ve seen each other at our worst and fought over issues that now seem trivial and instantly resolvable. I remind them of repressed fashion choices and they remind me of my triple XL black puffer jacket from Century 21. Baggy was in for a while, right? I’ve begun to realize, however, that our hangouts, now called reunions, are catered meetings scheduled for reminiscing. Yes, I remember that time and the other one. Yeah, my newsfeed told me that she got engaged. No, I don’t know when she’s getting married. Sure, we could grab lunch again in the summer, when you get back from school.
Reminiscing once in a while is fine and can be therapeutic or comforting on a sad day. Relationships built on reminiscing, however, are doomed to fail. I’ve learned to appreciate good memories and friendships. I’m worried, though, that by continuing to drag relationships past their prime, I might damage them or harm their significance to me. I shouldn’t feel obligated to see you, nor should you feel obligated to see me. We can like one another’s photos and share clever Buzzfeed articles, but we can’t pretend that those gestures alone will help our friendship last.
On an equally pathetic note, as a 20-year-old who’s shy about using his not-so-fake fake ID, it’s hard for me to meet people who interest me romantically. Setting me up with a friend of a friend might sound like a good bet, but usually it doesn’t work. Neither does hitting on the cute sales associate at Zara while trying on a size-11 monk strap shoe. Find me a gay college-age man (dimples preferred) who is interested in a short or long-term relationship that prioritizes interests-driven conversation and activities, not immediate sexual gratification, and I’ll bake you 500 chewy chocolate cookies, prorated over the life of me & my boy’s beautiful relationship.
In fairness, I’m sure it’s hard to be single at any age. I’m also sure it gets easier to meet people (marginally, at least) once you have the legal freedom to sip your aforementioned overpriced cocktail and eye fuck the shit out of well dressed hipsters at your new favorite bar. It’s hard to know that older friendships will dissolve, even though new friendships will be there to fill their place. In general, it’s hard to be 20. You’re stuck in the ultimate transition between late adolescence and adulthood. You have to make peace with who you were, figure out who you are, and plan lightly for who you’ll become. Above all, you have to have patience. Your public debut – your night of cocktail chugging, toilet-hugging debauchery – is less than a year away.