The 5 Great Mysteries Of Being In Your 20s

1. How is everyone so hot and thin?

A few years ago I started to notice that all of my friends were in better shape than me, which was weird because I assumed we were living identical lifestyles. I’d eat pasta and chase it with a bottle of red wine, and they would too! We were living, laughing, and carb-loading together! But then something changed and my friends started ordering rude shit like kale and I was like, “Stop,” and they were like, “No” and I was like, “Okay.” In New York, the rule is to always look one bullion cube away from death, and if you do work out, you CAN’T talk about it. You roll up to the gym with your face obscured by sunglasses, do your crunches in a dark corner where no one can see you, and GTFO. Once I ran into a close friend of mine as he was leaving the gym and shit got painfully awkward.

“What’s going on here,” I asked, my voice trembling. “Do you…work out?”

My friend’s face turned pale and he fidgeted uncomfortably. “I mean, only sometimes. It’s, like, whenever I have the time, which is never really! I’m sorry, Ryan. I didn’t want you to find out like this…”

“No, its fine, you don’t need to justify your workouts to me.” I said. “It actually makes me feel better knowing that you have to work hard to have a nice body. This whole time I just thought it was genetics!”

We then stood there in silence, the balmy summer air wafting across our skin, and went our separate ways.

JK, that never happened, but I wish it did! It was so annoying how no one talked about how they kept their body looking so tight. Once I found out that everyone was secretly on a treadmill an hour a day, I felt less insane. Then I moved to LA where all anyone ever does is talk about their workout regimen and the mystery officially disappeared.

2. How do people afford to buy shit?

I dare you to walk up to a group of twenty-something trustafarians carrying Opening Ceremony bags and be like, “Hey hon! How did you afford to buy a $400 potato sack dress? Because last I checked, you were an editorial assistant at Hey Funky Girl Hey magazine, which only pays 23k a year.” The trustafarians will poop their harem pants and run into oncoming traffic before they give you an honest answer. Living in New York was a constant mindfuck because you’d find yourself in someone’s million-dollar apartment and ask them, “So what do you do for a living?” and they’d respond with something like, “I make feather headbands. Rihanna wore one once on the cover of W.” Well, that’s great babe but I’m not sure how Rihanna wearing a feather headband translates to you having a doorman and a dishwasher. I understand how money is touchy and really no one’s business, but oh my god, it just makes you feel like such a defective loser when your peers are doing things, like buying houses and Celine shoes, and you’re splurging on a H&M cocktail dress. Don’t feel bad, though. These people are not lucking out on an amazing salary or scoring a great deal on an apartment. They’re making as much money as you are but they’re able to live their lives differently because someone else is paying for it. Happy now? Probs not, sorry!

3. How do people have their dream job AND a relationship?

I’m very, very fortunate to have a job writing for television. I got here partially because of luck and timing, but I also cut off my dick three years ago to focus on my work, which helped tremendously. There’s no doubt in my mind that I wouldn’t have been able to accomplish as much in my career if I had been in a serious relationship. I needed the room to be selfish; I couldn’t afford to make important life decisions with someone else in mind. But the truth is that everybody makes sacrifices to get where they want to be. The person in the amazing relationship may have had to make some professional sacrifices to keep it going. The 27-year-old CEO is going to bed at night spooning a $4,000 body pillow because they’re too busy to find a real body to fuck. This is the nature of being in your twenties. It’s nearly impossible to have all the boxes checked, unless you’re one of those RARE BREED OF TYPE-A PSYCHOS THAT DOES. Ugh, I am so puzzled as to how those select few managed to get all of their ducks lined up in a row. How did you do it? How did you manage to have mind-blowing sex every Sunday and have the attention span to get all of your work done afterwards? Unlike the last two mysteries, I don’t have an answer for this one! I’m forever unclear on your life journey.

4. How do people date so much?

Dating is a full-time job that pays you in validation and, if you’re lucky, the occasional blowjob. Scheduling dates on Tinder or OKCupid takes time and preparation that I can’t seem to master. When people tell me they went on three dates in a week, I’m like, “Well, did you also get fired from your job? Did you, like, burn some friendships to the ground?” My life is busy enough with friends and work, I don’t know how to also make room for meeting a bunch of people I’ll potentially have nothing in common with. That’s a lot of emotional real estate in my brain! People who are serial daters: I applaud you but I’m also convinced you don’t work, have zero friends, and live in a car made out of cardboard.

5. How do people have pleasant phone conversations with their parents?

Everything in life changes—except the way you talk to your parents on the phone. That stays the same forever. Now, listen, I live and die for both my parents. I’m obsessed, tattoo their name on my ass, I love it. But whenever my mom or dad calls me on the phone, that obsession turns into instant depression and I instantly become an irritable bratty pre-teen. It’s like this with every twenty-something, right? If you can talk to your parents on the phone without being overwhelmed by annoyance and fatigue, please sound off in the comments. I LOVE hearing from liars! Thought Catalog Logo Mark

Ryan O'Connell

I'm a brat.

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