The Internet loves making lists about 20-somethings. What you learn in your early 20s, what kind of people you will date, what kind of roommates you will encounter, etc. These lists are everywhere, and some are completely stupid. But some of them are so relatable you kind of hate yourself for marking down the numbers you most identify with and sending them to your best friend saying “This is SO me right?!” Most of us are probably drawn to these lists because being in your early 20’s is fucking hard and anything that relates to us is gold. It’s the first time in our lives we aren’t being told what to do, what to study, what classes to take, or what social events we should go to. We’re on our own, and it’s scary, especially for a generation that is constantly being ridiculed for being spoiled and shallow. I strongly feel that my early 20’s is like a 2nd puberty and can easily compared to that awkward time of life.
Looking back, I was a mess during puberty. I didn’t know how to deal with myself, my acne, and my shitty mean girl friends. I was so self-conscious. And then one day I had a growth spurt, my skin (sort of) cleared up, and I stopped hanging out with those who put me through hell. I was 14 and I knew who I was and what I wanted. Even though all I wanted was an amazing social life and boyfriend who played soccer, I had goals! And I met them. But this confidence faded the minute I received my college diploma.
10 years later, and I’m feeling like my 12 year old insecure self. I don’t know what I want out of life, my friends and I seem to be drifting apart, and my skin has been less than stellar. Like what the fuck, why can’t I be the confident 16 year old I once was? Why cant I be sure of every choice I’m making, and also why can’t I eat whatever I want without gaining weight? I used to dream of being in my 20’s, out of college with a career (ha), and serious boyfriend (HA). I never thought I would be where I am, insecure, unsure, and frankly terrified of what’s to come next.
I remember thinking once I turned 20 drama would cease to exist. What a joke. My early 20’s can be defined by drama. Granted it’s not the same ‘he said, she said’ drama I went through during middle school and high school, but there’s still drama. Friendships have ended over boys, cars have been crashed by ex-boyfriends, friends with benefits are prevalent, and loyalties have been tested. In a way drama in your 20’s is worse than ever because maturity is on the line. Also your reputation as an adult. I have definitely thrown fits in the last two years that would suggest I was actually 5 years old instead of 22. When I was 12 I was constantly worried about being left-out, and 10 years later, I still am. Does this dynamic ever change? Do we all still worry about who our friends really are? Are we always going to have boyfriend/girlfriend drama? When does it end?!
This goes hand in hand with insecurity, but if you are in your early 20’s and not having an identity crisis I seriously envy you. Everyday is a struggle. Sometimes I wear all black because I feel dark and want to exude that. Sometimes I wear sundresses and bake muffins like a housewife. I literally cannot define my personality and have never been so indecisive in my life. Granted I’m a Gemini and that’s one of my many special traits, but I digress. Even though my zodiac sign portrays me as being indecisive, I have never changed my mind so much about what I want to do with my life. One day I want to be a lawyer, the next a teacher, the day after that a veterinarian. It’s exhausting. I thought we were supposed to be sure of ourselves by now.
Being in my early 20’s feels a lot like puberty but way more awful. I’m worried I’ll never grow out of it. During puberty, we knew there was an end, we knew that the change wouldn’t be permanent. But now as adults, we’re supposed to have our shit together, we should know who we are, what we want, and the best people to surround ourselves with. Our early 20’s is the prime-time to take the world head-on, yet sometimes getting out of bed can be exhausting. Does anyone else feel this way? Or am I just relating to my inner 12 year-old too much?