Terrible Twenties

Trials and tribulations of the modern twenty-something because no matter what adults say, your twenties are f*cking hard.
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Unlike the rest of these articles which talk about unhappiness, angst, and the difficulties of being twenty, I want to bring a whole new perspective to the floor.

I am twenty, almost twenty-one, and extremely happy. I have chosen to stop following the path society makes us believe we have to take.. School (debt), career (stress), marriage (eventually, but no rush)… And have decided instead to follow my passions. Which is exactly why I find myself, at twenty, the happiest I have ever been as I cycle around the world.

That’s right, I am a modern day nomad. I call my tent home, I live simply, owning nothing that doesn’t fit on my bike, and I live in the happiest way I know how. I have no smart phone, no constant addiction to internet, no debt, and no stupid drama. I am completely free, free to go wherever I want, do whatever I want, and be whoever I know I can be. I am unstoppable. And twenty.

I find it sad when people lament that they wish their twenties were over. What, do you think just by turning thirty your life is suddenly going to become happier? No, not at all. You have to work for it, follow your passions, live the life of our dreams, and become the person you want to be. Why wait until you are thirty, forty, or never to begin? Start now, in your prime, in your twenties, and stop wasting your life. Awanderingphoto.wordpress.com

SMDH. Right? That’s how you kids call it?

Thank you for your unsolicited and extremely self-involved perspective. “Must be happier. Must be happier.” Noted.

There’s so much to unpack here.

1. Girl, as you’ve repeatedly pointed out…YOU’RE TWENTY, which means, you don’t get to tell me how to feel. You don’t get to tell me anything about anything, unless you want to share your Internet discount shoe shopping secrets, or want to explain new slang to me. 

2. This message is especially frustrating because it perpetuates a terrible stereotype of Millennials. These are the types of musings that get our generation in trouble, that cause older, wiser people to judge. This is the silly, flighty bullshit that cause employers concern. This is what everyone else hears and sees,  and not the hardworking and innovative individuals who lead normal, independent adult lives with minor credit card debt.

3. Those who are truly happy, don’t need to say it. You’ll learn that as you get older, dear.

4. This is clearly some blanket message spammy shit because I never lament about wishing my twenties were over. I DON’T WANT THEM TO END. Good God, let me 28 forever. 

5. Twenty years old isn’t your prime. And if it is, you’ll Cobain at 27. 

6. Finding your passion, living your dreams, and learning to understand what happiness means to you will take an entire lifetime, well beyond your twenties. It will change, evolve and retract constantly. 

7. Following the traditional trajectory of school and a career is NOT a waste of time. Feeling free is great, but it’s not sustainable. When you come back and everyone has their shit together, you might think twice. And, if you’re going to forsake school and a career…will you at least make sure you have a savings account? It’s my only maternal advice.

8. Oh, and, wear a helmet.

Hello, I recently started following your blog and in interest of full disclosure, found out about it through meinmyplace! (gorgeous by the way).  But reading some of your articles made me think about my own life trajectory.  I am an early 30’s bread baker in Seattle; I love my job and love the people  that I work with.  

Recently a friend of mine asked me if i wanted to go on a trip with her through Europe.  I immediately said yes, but looking through my finances realized that I could not do it.  With school loan repayments and rent and other bills, I just feel like I can’t take the time away and just forget those things.  Another part of me feels like I should just take the trip, its a once in a lifetime opportunity.  

So here is the question, do I throw caution into the wind and take the trip or should I act like a responsible adult and try and save my money for a later trip?
thanks
john in seattle

Well John, if this isn’t going to set you back ten years financially, then I say go! Travelling is something I don’t make enough of a priority, and I hate that about myself. I justify and excuse my way out of trips all the time, in favor of staying minimally in debt. As a result, I bitterly flip through acquaintances photos on Facebook on the reg wishing I would just man up and take that trip to Italy.
But you know what? FUCK THAT.

You aren’t getting any younger. Take advantage of your unattached status and make some memories that no amount of savings or student loan payments will buy. Break out of yourself, shake things up, and make 2013 your god damn bitch!
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New Submission from Words From An Everyday Mind on turning 23! Check this lady out!

My 23rd birthday is coming soon. I am really excited. For one, my birthday is on November 23rd and I will be 23! When I was 17 -  I thought it would feel different. I viewed 23 as such an old age. Then again, when you are 17 you don’t really think about your 20s. You only think about turning 21 and getting married by 27. It’s ridiculous.

I never thought I would be talking about turning 23. My mother married at 23, you know? I think my grandmother had her first child at 23. My sister was in a very serious committed relationship at 23.

23 in my mind seems like a random number that society forgets to celebrate. 

16 = “sweet 16″
11 = you can no longer ride kiddie rides at the fair 
5 = you don’t pay when going to a public pool
13 = welcome to your teens
18 = yay, you can buy cigarettes and join the troops! 
21 = you can officially drink! 
25 = you can legally rent a car
30 = shit… man, do you have your shit together?
56 = senior citizen discount. Baller! 
100 = you’ve lived 100 years. Hoorray! 

But 23 is forgotten. At 23 we are expected to have something figured out. What do I mean by something? I guess something. Anything. Romance, finance, school, career… that. 
This is how life looks right now:

1. I moved to Thailand for adventure 
2. I like eating cookies at night 
3. I don’t have a credit card
4. I am usually always broke
5. If I were back in the States, I would be considered poor
6.  I think I am turning asexual 
7. I haven’t found my passion yet
8. I have no desire of going back to the States and doing what everybody else is doing (watching keeping up with Kardashians)
9. I have a gut feeling that there is something coming in the next months. What exactly? I don’t know something. And its giving me hope. 
10. I don’t have a proper phone 
11. I still act like I am 12 
12. I teach English in Bangkok 

So. I don’t have anything figured out, In fact, I am trying to figure it out. I think everything will fall in place and I will know what to do next.  Back in the U.S, it seems like we always need to know our next step. But what if I don’t want to know? What if the next step just comes along as I walk this wild life path. 23 seems the perfect age to make mistakes. It seems like its the perfect season to fall flat on my face and later tell my story of what it felt like to be 23…

Received this submission in my inbox this morning. Thanks for the share!! Out of all the twenty-something LISTS that exist out there, this is definitely a good one! - Hezah


First, I Love your blog. Second, this is not so much a story as a must-read (not mine). Thought I’d share in case you haven’t seen this yet. You’ll appreciate it: http://friesorsalad.tumblr.com/post/33712866089/twenty-something-ways-to-know-youre-twenty-something :)

P, 23

I start my first real job next week. I’ve held three jobs since I graduated May of last year. The first one had a really relaxed, lenient environment because it was a student job with the university. The second lasted about a grand total of three days; it was my first time getting burned by an obnoxious group of coworkers, so I scrammed. The third job, at some behemoth corporate office, had nothing at all to do with what I went to school for. 

My new job is actually one I would consider a step toward a career path. And so, to celebrate this hallmark in my young life, I shopped for some real grownup work clothes. 

I know it sounds shallow, but shopping for work clothes to mark the beginning of a new job has turned into a tradition for me. I know it’s supposed to be metaphorical (new clothes, new you you’re presenting to the world, blah blah blah), but it just started with my mom prodding me to make myself look professional every time I moved to a new position. This time, I didn’t even wait for her to do that. I just instinctively set out to hunt for clothes that would add five years’ experience to my appearance.

As exciting as work clothes shopping may be, it’s not always the easiest thing in the world for a kid with a small budget. Office clothes are expensive and frankly, the only good button down shirts at saver-favorite Target exist in the men’s section. The women’s section usually has flimsy things that I would NOT consider professional. Well… Today I had shopping epiphany. Today I discovered the power of retail outlets.

Two sleeveless tops, a sailor type sweater, and a cardigan for under 60 bucks, courtesy of Ann Taylor LOFT. It blows my mind that I got four things with cuts and colors that don’t look cheap for that price. 

Just to be clear, I’m not here to be a LOFT spokesperson. I’m here to share a secret to work clothes shopping, that is,

shop at your favorite brand’s outlet store and look for the good quality items that are marked down.

Granted, everything in an outlet store is already priced lower than the suggested retail price. If you’re getting a top for an outlet price of $35 though, you’re probably not getting a great deal. Instead,

only get clothes that have an extra 30-xx% off the outlet price on the tag

Better yet, most outlet stores will have a clearance section that brings down the price of the clothes even more. Just a few examples

  • The white sweater above was originally $40, $15 on clearance
  • The sailor top used to be $45, $15 on clearance
So by all means, have no shame in spending some time in the clearance section.

To put my LOFT shopping spree over the top, I got an additional 30% off for signing up for a free, no annual fee rewards card (NOT a credit card, just one of those positive reinforcement cards that give your points for every purchase). Hey, why not, right?

If you frequent a certain outlet store, you *should* bother signing up for their rewards card because the discounts do add up.

And that, ladies and gents, is how I ended up with four things for just under $60. Turns out, it is possible to look professional on a budget. A note of caution, though—there’s a reason why some of the clothes on clearance are on clearance. Whether it’s an unflattering cut or an outrageous design, some clothes don’t deserve to be bought, no matter how low the price tag.

The trick is to search for the nice gems from last season, the surplus that never got bought. 

The good ones will be classic and a little on the conservative side, but they will last for a long time (Proof: I still wear a favorite top that I’ve had since freshman year).

Go forth and shop, young professionals.

Trent, 24

A while back, I saw the submission someone else posted which included the NY Times article, “What is it about 20-somethings?” Well, when I read that article, I immediately became very irate. It’s not fair to pick on a generation going through difficult times like ours. We aren’t perfect, and we never said we were.

I’ve seen the older generation who wonder what is wrong with the new 20-something generation. Why are we still at home? Why are we so unproductive? Why are we more concerned with facebook than getting a Masters?

Well, it doesn’t take an analyst or psychologist to see why. We are the generation of “you don’t need to know what you want to do with the rest of your life, even in college!”

Let me tell you something; the world as it is today is not the same world it used to be. The cost of living is much higher, your student loans take much longer to pay off, and there are no jobs…anywhere. I don’t mean to excuse or make excuses for my generation, yes there are those of us who simply appear as though we consider our social life more important, or hide in our rooms and shut ourselves away. Look harder. There are deeper issues there. Love us now, because we need you the most, now more than ever.

But I don’t mean to steal the thunder of the last person who wrote about this article. I just wanted to throw my two cents in. Really, my goal today was to give advice… Things I’ve learned since turning 20, things I wish someone had told me.

20-somethings – it’s a rough world out there. Though I am only 24, I’ve learned a lot in a short span of time, that I wish I had known when it applied to me. It’s not too late for me, and never too late for you. Take my 10 tips, and hold them close. I wish I had not been too stubborn to see these.

Albert Einstein said, “Learn from yesterday, Live for today, Hope for tomorrow. The important thing is not to stop questioning.” It’s about time we started learning and living for ourselves.

Tidbits of knowledge I have gained since turning 20:

1.      Never stop exercising. Believe it or not, a college campus is HUGE and you walk over 1 – 2 miles per day getting to class. Once you lose that momentum, not only do you gain the weight from all those pizzas and burgers, you lose incentive to lose it. I hate telling people “there was a time I used to bike ride 6 days a week.”

2.      Go to grad school after college. That “break” you dream of will taste so much sweeter when there’s a job offer trailing it.

3.      Figure out what you want now, and stop listening to those who tell you “you don’t have to know what you want yet!” Keep listening, keep daydreaming, and you’ll find yourself where I am: a graduate without a clue.

4.      Is grad school not your thing? Do Peace Corps, City Year, Americorps, Language Corps, anything to get you out of the house and on your own. I guarantee you’ll make new friends, see new places, and most of all – your parents will not be your roommates for the next few years. Once you gain that sense of independence, you’ll do anything to hold onto it – great.

5.      Still don’t want to go to grad school or the Peace Corps? Then have a job lined up before you graduate, or spend the next 1 – 2 years sitting in your parent’s house.

6.      It’s never too late if you know what you want.

7.      Fall in love, but don’t let it control your everyday life, your every thought, your very existence. Set boundaries, retain your independence, but don’t be afraid to love and appreciate them.

8.      Don’t let video games take over your life. They will still be around when you graduate, and shouldn’t be the only thing keeping you going.

9.      Friends come and go like seasons, there when you need them, gone when that hardship in your life passes. Don’t forget to love and appreciate the family who supported you and helped make you who you are today, the same family who is not ashamed to take you in if you mess up. Appreciate the friends who stay in your life once college passes; hold tight to those people. They are like a second family; they don’t care who you are or where you’ve been, they’re just happy to be your friend.

10.   It. Gets. Better. So I hear from older people. Don’t wait for it to come to you, run toward it yourself.

Katie, 22

Did you know the characters in the sitcom “Friends” were all supposed to be in their twenties?

Friends follows the lives of six friends in their mid-twenties”. Woah. Feeling insecure now?

If you’re like me, you thought you old pals Rachel, Ross and Joey were in their early thirties. You know- an apartment in Manhattan, an accomplished chef, a paleontologist, and full-time office worker (okay, maybe relatable), a masseuse and an actor. Rachel’s occupation as a waitress sort of made sense, except for the marriage proposal from a dentist.

Very few twenty-somethings of my generation (my generation: people who watched Saved by the Bell) are this accomplished in life. From what I’ve seen, the majority are very unsure about what career they want to pursue. And definitely, no one wants to marry us. Face it, you have no money, are probably just losing your acne, and periodically live with your parents. In 2011, the teen years leak into the twenties and it’s a blurry, damn mess.


Check out Katie’s tumblr here! BaldChick

Ashley, 26

"Your mail is over on the table," says my dad today. "They look like bills."

Of course they do. I already know exactly what kind of bill it is before I even open it, and sure enough, there it is. I finally got the bill for my sleep study test I had to take in September, and even after insurance, it is a whopping $2360.45.

I place my head in my hands. Ignoring the fact that I’m only twenty-six, having to live with my parents to pay off student loans for a degree that I didn’t even finish school for.

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Arielle, 21

So. The more I learn about the music industry. The more I hate it. It’s not simple. It’s very complex and there are so many aspects of it that I find just completely bogus.

So now, I’m stuck. Worried that i’m in debt for an education I ultimately may not use. Also, I’m not sure what I want to do with my life. I have ideas. But they change every other day. I feel like a 6-year-old. I don’t know how to answer the question, what do you want to be when you grow up? Because I don’t know.

With the feeling of loans creeping up on me I just feel extremely overwhelmed and scared and a lot of other emotions that have nothing to do with my usual over excited demeanor.

I do not like being a grown-up. Especially a grown-up who can not afford to get a dog.

Ayan,20

I recently turned twenty and a few months later I got a part-time job at a burrito place. In all honesty I was glad and excited that this would be the year where I wouldn’t be the typical broke college student. The burrito place is in my hometown not too far from my university. As I was wrapping a burrito the customer asked me if I was from the town. At first I was puzzled by the question and then notice who asked the question, it a perky most likely a freshman girl in high school. I said “yeah I am.” Then with all the excitement in the world asked me if I what high school I graduated from. I told her and she nearly yelled out “Oh my god, go warriors. I go there.” A brief silence and then she asked ” When did you graduate?” I responded  ”2008” almost immediately she let out the biggest gasp as if I was ancient. The conversation ended there as she payed and left. I wanted to scream “I go to college! this isn’t what my life has amounted to! I’m accomplished!” 

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