My Twenties are Trash: A List

 

  1. When did the standard for a successful night include going to bed regularly at 10:30 pm?  Because that’s where I’m at.
  2. I’ve learned that the metric for my place in others’ lives is if they respond to my text before or after they post on social media.  If it is after, I am not a priority.  I also apply this logic to myself.
  3. I want to delete my social media accounts, but I’m addicted to them.
  4. Hurting people is a given.  This isn’t a phenomenon relegated to our twenties, but it’s done on a grander scale because we are performing adulthood without all the resources of being an adult.  We lack the financial, educational, or emotional certainty that may arrive later, and I think this makes us erratic creatures.  Twentysomethings move in the rhythm of bigger, better dealing it, always searching for the best thing that won’t compromise our security.
  5. What the hell am I doing professionally?  Can I make an impact and still afford to eat?  Keep you posted on this answer when I find it.
  6. Every other generation condemns mine.  We are told that our youthful indiscretions are the downfall of the US economy.  Yet, the world has not ended.  America is a richer land for its vagrant youth.
  7. Gen Z showing us up in the best way possible.
  8. Do I want to go back to school, or do I want an institutionalized validation of my intellect?
  9. I don’t care what you think, but I still want you to like me.
  10. Do I like me?  Can I call it self-love if it crumbles at unfounded criticism, if it quakes at unanswered texts, if it trembles in the hope of being seen?  There are days when my self-love is less pillar and more wacky, waving-arm, inflatable tube man flailing in the wind.
  11. Everyone is an expert in a life they’ve never lived.
  12. Societally enforced milestones are Faberge eggs captured in beautiful pictures, but feel hollow.  “If and then and when” we chant only to arrive there the same folks we were moments before.
  13. When the transformation arrives, it is silent and uncomfortable.  How everything familiar now feels outgrown and tight in the presence of abundance.  The calm cadence of life is suddenly a metronome pulsing for me to leave, and I can’t find the exit sign.
  14. You can’t make someone want you, but how do you quit looking at their insta-story?
  15. Rejection is necessary, and yet, everyone is fleeing from it.  Rejection is encased in ghosting, breadcrumbing, a host of social arts to keep us distant but ensure we are liked.   The deeper I get into this decade, the more I champion radical candor.  The more I understand that compassion consists of honesty, even if the price of that is losing someone.
  16. Sometimes, I read my horoscope for life advice.
  17. Our parents are aging.  Suddenly, they aren’t superheroes, but human beings
  18.  Right and wrong choices are myths we’ve been fed to police our behavior.  To want wildly in the direction of my dreams is the bravest thing I can do.  Yet, disabusing myself of this is so hard.  Surrendering the social premium of approval for inner peace shouldn’t be this hard, right?
  19. I am poor but want to travel more.
  20. What if I’m not satisfied with my appearance, and this is the hottest I’ll ever be?
  21. All these hopes live inside me.  What if I never realize them?  What if I age into a woman haunted by everything she could’ve been– the shadow of her potential following her everywhere?

 

But time hasn’t escaped me.  For all my griping, there are glistening things about being twenty-five in 2018:

  1. I can watch The Golden Girls anytime I want on Hulu.
  2. There’s an app for pretty much everything, including getting food delivered to my door.
  3. In the short time I’ve been alive, I’ve shared this earth with David Bowie, Malala, George Carlin, Fred Rogers, Princess Diana, Nelson Mandela, and so many remarkable people.  Ten Thousand years of human existence, and I am around to bear witness to so much.
  4. Seeing my siblings grow up.
  5. Society speaks bravely about mental health and sexuality and gender and violence in ways far more nuanced than before.  These dialogues make bridges from walls, lace us together where we felt lonely, and are crafting communities and collaborations where voids once echoed.
  6. My time is my own.  My yes is my own.
  7. Beyonce is still making music.
  8. I am alive, and life is sprawled before me.  Ten years ago, I ached in silence.  Depression and anxiety clawed at all of my thoughts, and I couldn’t talk to anyone.  They are not gone.  My goal is not to defeat mental illness, but to co-exist with it in a way that doesn’t make me feel defeated.  I had no one to call then.  Now, in the worst of moments, my contact list overflows with people I can alert when I’m not ok.   The contact list on my phone quantifies how not alone I am, tallies who I belong to and how lucky I am to have them.
  9. They make ice cream that’s only 240 calories a pint, and I can eat it for breakfast if I want to.
  10. Maybe I don’t always look the way I want to or maybe I do, but to be in the best shape I’ve ever been in, to fully experience life in this body is exhilarating.  My body can so many more things than be small.  It took my twenties to understand that.
  11. The #MeToo Movement.
  12. Cronuts.
  13.  For all the question marks this decade draws, I get to create the answer.  I empower myself to draft it over and over again.  The rough drafts are spectacular failures, but they are my failures, just a series of attempts leading to something that will announce itself as the answer.

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