Because I am a 20-something, I am obsessed with listicles. This one has been forming in my head for a while now, for the past year and a half as I have tried to make sense of what it all means to be in your 20s. All I can hope is that this provides the comfort that everybody who has experienced heartbreak knows that ultimately we’re all in it together. And we’ll all get out of it alive.
1) Your Job/Hobby/School/Passion Will Save Your Life
Having an obligation is a blessing in disguise. After rendering yourself lifeless from constant bouts of crying and stuffing yourself with your weight in fried potatoes, repeatedly screaming “WHY” at the top of your lungs, you will check your phone to see if the person causing you this much misery has called you back and realize it’s 1 am and that you have to be at your new job in the morning. Or that you have an important exam. Or you never finished knitting a hat for your nephew. Whatever it is, an obligation forces you to put on your big girl/boy pants, wipe off the tears and potato grease, and feign normalcy. Even if that normalcy is crying through your commute and running to the bathroom to cry some more – you will still be obligated to get shit done. After a while, you’ll find yourself too busy to make those random runs to the bathroom and soon your co-workers/classmates/knitting club members will no longer think you have explosive diarrhea.
2) You Will Be Forced Out Of Your Comfort Zone
Your first major relationship will get comfortable real quick. Like quicksand quick. Having a constant companion and go-to person gives you the comfort of not really doing much because Netflix, takeout, and cuddling is SO FUN. But let’s be real, people. Being in a relationship in our 20s is the leading cause of death in our productivity. Kudos to you people finding a cure for cancer and also getting laid on the regular. The Big Bang Theory showed the destructive power of young love when that genius Asian kid fell into weed-induced degeneracy after meeting a hot blonde. You’re constantly factoring the other person into everything, so after a while, it’s just comfort on top of comfort. Once you’re thrown into the cold tundra that is singledom, you have to do that annoying self-discovery thing where you cut off all your hair, grow a moustache, go to Paris, or take an acting class. Either way, your first major break up forces you to focus on yourself and prove to yourself that you are capable of growth and standing on your own, outside of a relationship. Even if that means recording said escapades outside of your comfort zone and posting it on Instagram or Facebook to show that ex that you are #lovinglife. Eventually, you’ll start doing it for you.
3) Continuously Picking At A Scab Won’t Let It Heal
I have a growing belief that humans are masochistic in nature. We pick at scabs, we pop pimples before they’re ready, we went to see the last Twilight movie. My tough love sister used this analogy when I would call her with my sadsack voice after things with another guy didn’t work out. To preface this, after my first major break-up, in two months, I rebounded with a Serbian who made me homemade crepes but was only here for the summer. (Sorry, Marko. I promise, I wasn’t just in it for the crepes although they were exceptionally delicious.) To be honest, he was the perfect rebound, but it set in motion a pattern of me just casually dating for the rest of the year and not allowing myself to heal and be alone to let the scab fall off by itself. I’m still learning how to be alone with no mans but in the process rediscovering myself and a new drive I forgot existed, which brings me to my next point…
4) Family and Friendship Will Bring You Back To Life
Remember in the first Sex and the City Movie when Carrie is surrounded by her friends and her passion for fashion, she says that for the first time in a long time, she felt like herself again? Despite Carrie’s bougie tendencies, she like everybody else experiences heartbreak. A lot of the time in your first major relationship, you’re not a fully formed human. You’re probably in the bubble of high school, college, or pseudo adult life. So it’s only natural that you do a lot of growing up in said relationship, but after a while, it becomes difficult to picture yourself and differentiate yourself as an individual separate from that person. After your first major break-up, when you look at your worn face in the mirror in Mexico (Seriously, that scene scared the hell out of me) and you find yourself questioning who you are, your family and friends will be there to remind you: GIRL. YOU IS KIND. YOU IS SMART. YOU IS IMPORTANT. They will serve as your therapists, cuddle buddies, and personal food and wine delivery service because they love you and recognize that somehow you will be able to shake it off, dye your hair brown, and brush it out of your face during a runway show (or realistically during brunch that you got a groupon for because #helpmeimpoor) as you state to them, you finally feel like yourself again.