What 20-Somethings Want

You want to find someone who will pick you up from the airport. It’s such a kind gesture but also one you would expect from someone who loved you a reasonable amount. The thought of having to wait for a shuttle while others are embracing their loved ones on the curb might just be too much for your little heart to bear. Where’s your car full of love? Where are the people who are going to make you feel welcome in this city? And, no, you are NOT going to take a taxi. You have too many friends who like you WAY too much for you to be taking that nonsense. Right? Hello? I’M AT TERMINAL 3. WHERE ARE THE PEOPLE THAT LOVE ME? Dear god, people have started to hug on the curb. Come quick!

You want to live closer to your parents. It’s not because you need to see them more. God no! Who would ever do a thing like that? It’s for if you ever wanted to see them. If their health took a turn for the worse, god forbid, or if you ever felt lonely and needed to just sleep in a home that felt warm and loved, you could do it. Living far away from them has its advantages but you’re starting to realize how much you miss out on by being on the opposite end of the country. If you lived in the same city as your parents, feeling safe and secure would just be one phone call and a twenty minute drive away.

You want to be “stable” and see yourself make real progress. You would love to find the key to adulthood (Um, I think I saw it at Crate & Barrel next to the colanders) and not want to get drunk at happy hour anymore. It’s quickly turning into unhappy hour and you’re trying hard not to become a casualty of your age. You want nothing more than just to make it through the twentysomething rain and land on a nice job, a nice couch that wasn’t purchased from IKEA, and, most importantly, someone’s nice dick and/ or vagina.

You want to develop a backbone and start saying no to having lunch with the random friend from high school. In fact, you want to abolish “catch up” lunches altogether. People are either in your life as it happens or not in it at all. Sitting through these elaborate brunches with people who once meant something to you but no longer make sense, and talking about how great your lives are going while reflecting on the good ol’ days is a slow form of masochistic torture. It feels like performance art: *INSERT SMILE HERE* and *INSERT “I’M IN A REALLY GOOD PLACE. HOW ABOUT YOU?” HERE*. You’ve been through so many lunches like this that you could practically do them in your sleep. In fact, you should probably just arrive to the restaurant 15 minutes early and place a giant stuffed animal in the chair in place of you and run out before your old school chum arrives. Don’t worry, they won’t notice! You can even attach a tape recorder and have it come on intermittently to say things like, “You look great! Can I have the Egg’s Benedict?” Or my personal fave catch-up topic, “I saw on Facebook that you two broke up. What happened?”

You want to know that you’re not insane, that there are other 24-year-olds have never been in a relationship before, or that other people have gotten too drunk and vomited on their taxi driver before and it’s all okay because this is growing up. Or something. You’re not actually sure. You never received an official manual but you figure that this is what it’s all about — feeling alienated and vomiting on strangers and never having as much sex as you would like. You just want to know that the things you’re going through aren’t unique, that other people are in the same rickety brokedown palace of a boat. I mean, you don’t mind being crazy so long as there are people out there who are equally as psycho. You’d prefer it if they were actually crazier than you, so you could feel good about yourself and where you’re at in your life.

You want a job, a vacation, heath insurance, validation, a back rub, a scalp massage at the place where you get your haircut, people who are jealous of you, an ex who won’t stop texting you when they’re drunk, Twitter followers, happiness maybe sorta, someone to buy you lunch at a fancy restaurant, a mentor who can tell you what the hell to do with your life, a reliable internet connection, a reliable human connection, a gift card to the grocery store, dinner parties with friends where everyone will pretend to have their crap together for just one night, a nice flirty text message to wake up to every morning for the rest of your life, for everyone to like you even if you don’t like anyone, and one of those nights that doesn’t end till 9 AM and reminds you what it feels like to be young and alive. Oh, and $$$. That’s all. Think you can get that for me? For us? TC mark

image – Amy Seder

Ryan O'Connell

I'm a brat.


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  • db

    You make me cry a little.
    I say this in a good way. Once again, great job.

  • ANON

    Does this count if I am 20?

  • Guest

    How do you know what’s in my soul? Always!

  • Mo

    This is absolutely fantastic.

  • http://mason-jar-memories.blogspot.com/ Grace Elizabeth

    Ahhh that whole last paragraph it the best. Ever.

  • http://twitter.com/AZJay Jay

    What if all that applies to you and you’re 42? Crap.

  • KG

    made me happy and sad at the same time. why can’t everything just be how we want it?!

  • Anonymous

    This is so so so true. 

  • http://twitter.com/nawasaka Becky To

    Also, you forgot cuddles. We want cuddles.

  • Anonymous

    All I want is you, transcribing my thoughts and making them sound like this.

  • http://onward-sailing.blogspot.com arnie

    Thank you, Ryan. I really enjoyed this and it’s v relevant. I feel like I just read what’s in that invisible, inescapable thought-bubble-HEAVY-rain-cloud continuously hovering over all of us in our twenties.

  • RR

    Last two paragraphs = My thoughts exactly. Loved this piece. (:

  • http://iwanttheseshoes.blogspot.com Olivia Moore

    “for everyone to like you even if you don’t like anyone”

    lmfao..this is me

    • Anonymous

      hell yes :]

  • mclyrz

    Ryan, always love your pieces. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Christopher-Fischer/100002422942546 Christopher Fischer

    get out of my head, dude!

    nah, well…stay in there…at least one who understands my thoughts…<3

  • http://twitter.com/_M_elanie Melanie Foster

    Found a typo – missing word.

  • Mesofyne22

    I must be a late bloomer. 
    I didn’t some of these things until I hit 30 :~)Nice article.

  • Stuck in a cubicle

    I love, love, love reading your articles! I can’t help but laugh (in sadness?) at how much all of this is true for me.

  • kd1034

    “for everyone to like you even if you don’t like anyone ” – wow that’s me lol

    • Guest

      wow, what a great realization

  • Ndrue1

    Every time I read one of your articles, I hope against hope that it will be (for once!) a little less masturbatory than the one I read before.  And I am always disappointed.  We get it: you are we and we are you and LIST LIST LIST!  I don’t see how any of it is at all original.  To read one of your “pieces” is to read them all.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=514965701 Gonzalo Mauricio Garcia Villeg

    I just want a couch even from IKEA and a job. Either I am overqualified or they’re not hiring. And scoring a residency position in the matching program over here (Bolivia) is just as hard as hell.

  • Mac

    I want all of this.

  • future gopher

    RYAN!!!!! When are you going to start Ryancatalog dot com?!?

  • Anonymous.

    Jeebus.  I am 39 and still looking for a good portion of that shit.

  • Seriously?

    Yo!  You there in your 20s – ENJOY IT!  It is *not* going to get any easier than this.  Trust my middle aged ass!

    • Jkhmn80

      Wish I could go back to my 20’s and have a redo. Make the most of your life, kiddos!

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