This Is For The 20-Somethings Who Fear They’ll Never Amount To Anything

Noah Kalina
Noah Kalina

Your best friend just got that new job you’ve been coveting, your sister can afford to wear heels every day to work and eat avocados and smoothies for breakfast, an old classmate from high school is now the creative director of a prestigious marketing company, and everyone else at your college seems to have steady significant others and their theses completely planned out.

In short, you feel fucked. And not the sexy kind either.
You put too much salt in your stirfry and somehow can never manage to leave the house with matching socks. You get in bar fights on the weekends and sleep with lonely men who cry on your shoulder and smear your lipstick, and all your assignments are either turned in at the nick of time or days after the due date. You can’t figure out how bills or apartment leases work or how to save money at the grocery store and not spend too much on wine and bagels. You can’t even keep a goddamn pet for more than a week at a time, for crying out loud.

And you think you’re a burden to everyone you know, an adult who’s really just a child who drinks a little too much sometimes and doesn’t know how to set boundaries with strangers. You sincerely believe that even when you turn fifty you’ll still be a sentimental mess working a dozen odd jobs because you can’t keep a single one for long, living in a small room next door to teenagers who smoke weed and party all day, that you’re a failure and everyone else has already figured out the rest of their lives long before you’ve even begun to figure out the next college course you’re going to take next semester.

But the needle in the haystack is always found.

The Victorian Lily Pad, found in the waters of the Amazon River Basin, can carry up to 71 pounds. Its pink and white blooms are inhabited by scarab beetles who shine golden in the morning light. You can carry as much as that lily pad and bear just as much weight, the weight of uncertainty about your future, the weight of not knowing even remotely what career you want to choose, the weight of feeling unaccomplished and unsophisticated and young and just barely making ends meet.

If all else fails, go to a nearby coffee shop and people-watch. See that girl in the blazer and Louboutins ordering a vanilla latte? Look a little closer. She has dog hairs all over her skirt and her polish is chipped, the result of not having enough time or expensive products to clean her clothes as well as she’d like, her nails worn from cleaning her own bathroom floor. She doesn’t have a maid. She does her work herself, like you. She cries at night in the kitchen when she feels alone and when she wants to call her parents but would feel childish doing so. Her boyfriend is about to break up with her and sometimes she wants to quit her job.

But look at the way she smiles at the barista when she goes up to grab her drink. A smile like that reaches the eyes, and a lot of its beauty comes from being lost.

It takes time, but soon enough you’ll be found. TC mark

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