I can’t count how many times someone has said to me, “Enjoy your 20s! It’s the best time of your life! You’re at your most attractive, you don’t have any responsibilities, have fun!” I was really excited for the prospect of the best decade of my life when I turned 20 in 2009. I rang it in the way any normal person would—by polishing off an entire bottle of wine without any glasses and doing impromptu karaoke (not on karaoke night) to “Party in the USA”.
Fast forward two years to May 2011. After an illustrious college career, in which all of the highlights involved alcohol in some way, shape or form, I was thrown out into the world with nary a job prospect in sight—pretty standard for a political science major. No one I was graduating with had a job. The closest was my best friend, who was staying at her unpaid internship in hopes of it eventually parlaying into a full-time position (it eventually did).
Fast forward another year to May 2012, a mere 4 months prior to, well, today. I’m working at a title company and my friends are working in software sales, asbestos law, and HR. A far cry from our politics classes that promised to deliver us into the world with the skills needed to save and rule the world. If I weren’t still technically listed as a financial dependent on my parents taxes, I would be living below the poverty line. Which is, you know, a really great situation to be in.
And that’s when I realized—there’s a reason hardly any movies and TV shows focus on your 20s. It’s because everyone behind them knows that “your 20s are the prime of your life” is a goddamn lie. They can spoonfeed you a stereotypical version of high school because no matter which way they spin it (Gossip Girl, Freaks and Geeks, Mean Girls, etc), it is always rooted in some kind of reality even though they take EXTREME creative liberties. Same with movies and TV shows about families who have children. Even romantic comedies are usually about people in their late 20s/early 30s. No one wants to attempt to cover up the cold hard truth—your life is going to SUCK between the ages of 21 and 26. You’re poor, probably living with your parents for a decent extent of time after college, you have a dead-end job and you are going to assume that everyone has a better life than you do.
In actuality, no one has any fucking idea who they are and what they want to be. Anyone who says so is lying. Don’t pay attention to the people who move out into apartments decorated like a mish-mosh of their “Apartment Life” board on Pinterest (ugh…Pinterest…I’ll get to that another time) and always update their Facebooks with new fun pix of their weekend trips and Sunday brunches along with statuses about how AWESOME their work is. Their boyfriends are probably cheating on them. They’re probably living off of ramen noodles and boxed wine 99% of the time. Their jobs probably suck just as much as anyone else’s does because NO ONE loves their job and they dream of quitting and driving cross-country in a convertible blasting Lana Del Rey and The Killers (who doesn’t?).
So let’s stop looking at life through rose-tinted glasses, log out of Facebook and Pinterest and face the cold, hard reality of the so-called prime of our lives.