Why Your Twenties Suck

Whine alert: Please do not read this blog if you’re someone who wants to read all the reasons why it’s like so totally amazing to be a 20-something living in NYC. Please, let’s be honest here for a second. Those seasoned, experienced women we hear say “I’m so glad I’m not in my 20s anymore” – well, they’re right. At least, IMHO. Your 20s are this strange time where you’re not in college, but you’re not 30. Profound musings, I know. But think about it. You’re not in college. You’re not the much-feared 30. You’re just… 20 something. I don’t think it’s all that great. Here’s why:

  1. Money – during this decade (or rather, 8 years. I’m counting 20s as being post-college(i.e. 22) through 30) you’re starting your career. If you’re like me, you took your first job out of school scraping by at 30K/ year. Actually, my first job out of school was peddling pizza coupons, but I digress. Your parents aren’t supporting you anymore. You’re totally independent (read: poor). As you trudge through the next few years adding experience and job titles to your resume, you’re hopefully making a bit more than entry level wages. But here’s what I’m finding: the disparity in wages for 20-somethings is HUGE. I’m sure there are always big differences in what a group of friends makes financially, but when you’re in your twenties, your starting salary (and growth) is dictated by your industry. So whether you’re the friend who rakes in 6-figures or the friend who makes half than that or less, money is definitely an issue in some way, shape or form. Also, this is probably the first time you can be sure you have more than $1.18 in your bank account (totally hypothetical… who lets their bank account get that low???) but no one decides to sit you down and tell you what to do with it. So you buy 20 pairs of shoes in 6 months. Again, hypothetical.
  2. Tolerance – I’m talking about tolerance for drunkenness, your own and others. I used to drink one of those plus-sized bottles of Yellowtail Chardonnay every weekend night. As a pregame. Then I’d pound beers, get lifted into a keg stand and rip a few shots. Sure, there was some puke involved, but even if there was, it never stopped me. It didn’t stop me for that evening and it sure as hell didn’t prevent me from waking up and playing beer pong by noon the next day. On a Tuesday. Now, a particularly rowdy weekend leaves my voice sounding like I’ve been licking subway seats and my body feeling like I’ve been run over by a bus. Furthermore, drunk people used to be hilarious to me (usually because I couldn’t see a drunk person without joining in their revelries). Today, if I’m coming home from a quiet Friday night of dinner and drinks and encounter people stumbling around the neighborhood, I silently hope they drop their pants to pee and get arrested.
  3. Friendships – can you remember a time in college when you told your friends you couldn’t hang out because you had to stay late at the office? Yeah, me either. Now I’m lucky if I see my friends on the weekend, let alone find the time to meet up during the week. We all try, but it’s hard some weeks to make an effort. In college, we used to have to force ourselves to stop hanging out so we could get to the library or (more likely) start getting ready for the night out.  Also, when you were in college it was so easy to be friends. You all lived together. You all did the same things. You all had the same friends. Now we’re living independently, have our own careers and are expanding our circle of friends to include people who don’t wear the same Greek letters across their sweatshirts.
  4. Relationships – It seems like every relationship in your 20s has to be something. You either need to be moving towards being in a real, Facebook-official relationship. Or you need to just be hooking up. Way back when, there was so much less pressure to define everything. You could just see how things went. Now there’s this notion (from society, from the guy, from your friends or your parents) that we’ve grown out of the go-with-the-flow attitude. Well, that sucks. I don’t like labels. I don’t like expectations. Most of all in my relationships. Been there, done that – and it doesn’t work or make anyone happy. I’ve done the super in love planning for a future relationship and I’m single, so we see how well that’s worked. I’ve done the just physical, I won’t even tell you my middle name, not allowed to spend the night relationship and that just gets boring. How about the we’ll see what this is, if this is anything, when the time comes but for now let’s just hang out and be cool relationship? No? Oh, we’re too old for that… I forgot.
  5. We can’t change our minds – I read a blog recently that said 20somethings are allowed to change their minds all the time! What 20somethings are these? If I suddenly decided I wanted to quit my job, jump down from the ladder I’ve spent the last 4 years climbing and learn to be a pastry chef, I don’t think that would go over too well. The expectation as you hit your 20s is that you’re working towards getting established – in a career, in a city, in your life. Whether or not we should care about these expectations is another blog topic all together, but this is what exists out there, for better or worse.
  6. I’m not a girl; not yet a woman – Britney knows best. Maybe some 20something girls feel like women. I certainly don’t all the time. Sometimes when I’m in meetings with huge companies, negotiating deals and being all subject-matter-experty; I still feel like I’m playing dress up and hope no one asks what year I graduated college. Other times, I feel like I’m the most amazing 20something to ever hit the mean streets of NYC. You wanna know how old I am? Sure, I’ll tell ya. I’m 26 and I’m that awesome.
  7. Wishy-washy (as displayed in #6) – I can’t make up my freaking mind. I laugh, I cry, I go on hunger strikes, I eat a dozen cupcakes, I love him, I hate him, I’m leaving New York, I can’t live without New York. Someone give me direction! I’m really just flying by the seat of my pants and hope I don’t make any crucial decisions while I’m in one of my out-of-control moods (oh right, deciding I hated my roommates so much I needed to move out IMMEDIATELY and spend a small fortune on rent? GREAT IDEA).
  8. You can’t go out in Saran Wrap anymore – Ok so maybe it was never appropriate to go out in Saran Wrap, but what else does one wear to an Anything-But-Clothes Party? Gone are those days of literally wearing what we want because 1) you’ll be considered a tramp outside the safety of your college campus and 2) that shit doesn’t look good on you anymore. You just get looks thrown your way by people who actually are in college as they judge how old you are and talk about random young celebs with names that leave you silently asking “what’s a Bieber?”
  9. Presents – I’m a freak about presents. I love the whole gift-giving exchange. I love giving gifts, I love getting gifts and I adore unwrapping presents (so much so that my brother once got me a gift card for Christmas and wrapped it in like 5 boxes so I would still be able to unwrap something). Now, though, we’re too old for gifts. The things we want are very particular so mom and dad usually just give you some money and tell you to get it for yourself. You now have younger cousins or nieces and nephews that get the majority of the presents all while never giving any in return. Those little bastards really need to learn to give back a little. With all the technology available, I’m sure they can figure out online shopping. And the people who do give us gifts usually give us alcohol. Because all 20somethings do is drink and wallow in the pity of their old and yet still useless existence, of course.
  10. Sleep – I’m pretty sure getting sleep was the number one priority during my pre-22 year old days. Maybe getting drunk was replaced as number one during college, but it was really closely followed by the quest for sleep. My senior year, I purposely made my schedule so I didn’t have class until 4pm on Mondays and then didn’t have any classes at all Wednesdays and Fridays. I had 4 day weekends pretty much all the time. Most responsible, ambitious people would use that time to be productive, stay ahead of class work and take utmost advantage of the extra time they were presented with. I slept in until 2pm. Every day. I’d meander downstairs in my pjs as the 15 other people I lived with were running around getting to class, internships, and jobs and make myself some eggs. Sometimes on Wednesdays I went to the library, but that was just because that’s where everyone else was. Nowadays, my alarm goes off EVERY MORNING at 6:45. AM. I hit the snooze an average of 6 times before I trudge myself into the shower with a silent promise to myself that I’ll be able to sleep again in a just a few hours. I’m a person that really needs a solid 10 hours to be at the mental peak. That never happens. Now life is all chaotic and demanding and my bed and I don’t get nearly as much QT as I’d like. I guess it’s a good thing I stocked up while I was in college.

And there you have it. 10 really solid reasons your twenties suck. Perhaps I’ll couple this with a 10 reasons your twenties are awesome post, but if I find the time for that, I’ll probably just take a nap instead.

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Posted on October 2, 2011, in 20something and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 12 Comments.

  1. Wow you totally just spoke directly with my soul! As a side note I thought I was the only one that needed a solid 10 hours to be at top efficiency. :o)

  2. ugh wishy washy for sure. i’m so stuck in that ” i have no idea what i want, someone please make a decision for me because i can’t do that for myself right now” stage. glad to know i have a solid 8 years + of my 20s of this nonsense.

  3. Love this!

    I’m a long way past my 20s (54; just blogged on how that sucks, too!) but so much of this rings true. I had a seriously kick-ass job by 26 but was scared shitless all the time of failing at it. I could never ever find a decent boyfriend because, even then, I knew I was (as I did) going to leave that city and move to NY and who would ever have followed me? Because I was so driven professionally, all the guys used to call me intimidating. Thanks…

    I don’t miss much about my 20s, I have to say. I do miss the feeling of total possibility (I so disagree with the idea you can’t change your mind. Do it!) and I had not yet failed. That happened, finally, at 30 and boy was it a shock. So, do some failing now…get used to it and to recovering from it so you’re not so stunned when it happens.

    Have fun!!

  4. Bah humbug! I’m 22 and LOVING IT

  5. @jojo – let’s be honest, we both really need 12 hrs 🙂
    @shari – glad I could provide some reassurances that it just gets worse
    @broadsideblog – thank you SO much for this comment and your insight, much appreciated
    @cara – it’s cuz you act like you’re 32 😛

  6. Mhmm. Yeah. That’s pretty much my life. *sighs*
    Lemme read that again… Yeah. *eats KitKat*

  7. This post is absolutely perfect! When a real live adult actually told me that being in your 20s is the most difficult time ever, I felt so much better. Take time to breathe, it’s the only way to make it through 🙂

  8. LOVE this! So true. Your saran wrap reference brought a tear to my eye. Sigh.

  9. It really is awful.

  10. At least when I was in my 20s, I could say “I’ll figure it out when I’m 30.” Now I’m 31 and I have to think about things like my 21st birthday was TEN YEARS AGO and I still have a job not a career and a girlfriend not a wife and and and…

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