Everyone says you can screw up your twenties. I’m awaiting the day when people stop giving this shitty advice.
Because, no one is immune to time. And, unless you have figured out some voodoo magic that halts the minutes and seconds, then you are working with the one finite resource we all have been given. The time you have now is the same time you have when you’re thirty and the same time you have when you’re nearing the end of your earthly existence. It is all time. It doesn’t stop and it won’t wait. Best not to screw it up. Sure, you’re entitled to a healthy amount of disasters and a cornucopia of mistakes. Calamities are a byproduct of growing up.
But, do not surrender your twenties. Do not hand them over to the many time-suckers that seem to plague people every waking moment, even more so when they are floundering in a twenty-something sea of newfound bills and relationship insecurities.
You’re in an unsettling purgatory and in the words of Coldplay, “No one ever said it would be this hard.” No one prepped you for the drain a flat tire can put on your bank account or the faint scar a breakup can put on your heart. While you were in college wasting away at the local bar yelling “Shots! Shots! Shots!”, no one explained that your twenties are an amorphous path not necessarily carved out in your favor. No one told you that there is a required fall from collegiate grace. You go from superstar quarterback or president of your sorority or overachieving intern to being another human being trying to make ends meet. You grow up. And it stings you more than anyone could have ever explained.
But, on the way, don’t surrender your twenties. Because when you start to find your way and you begin to plant your feet on the forever-shaking ground, you learn that it’s not that bad. Ok, it’s bad. But, not that bad. So, do not surrender your twenties to mediocre relationships or non-relationships. Settling or feigning happiness requires ten times more effort than a healthy and happy relationship, only with 5% of the reward. Do not surrender your twenties to people who won’t respond to your texts or remember your birthday or apologize when they fuck up. Do not surrender them to being ignored or begging to be heard.
Do not surrender your twenties to a job you hate or amassing all the energy you have to hate your job. You have a roof over your head. That makes you more fortunate than a bulk of the population. Show some appreciation and smile once in awhile. And, if you truly hate your gig, the Exit sign is usually that thing lit up in green above the doors. Head toward it. But, stop bitching and start working.
Do not surrender your twenties to drooling over everyone’s lives on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr and everywhere else. Just don’t. Get a hobby that fulfills you more than staring at someone else’s selfies.
Do not surrender your twenties to bad food or bad sex. Both are important in life and thus should be satisfying.
Do not surrender your twenties to trying to re-create your college life. College was college for a reason. This is real life. You need to be a fully-functioning adult, at least most of the time. Drink less and sleep more. Your body is begging you.
Do not surrender your twenties to dying friendships. Some things die. Some things should be buried. Some things should just be relinquished. Recognize all of the above and do not cry over the casket of a lifeless friendship. Let people in and let people go. That is called protecting your own sanity.
Do not surrender your twenties to sinking in a pool of self-pity. Stop hating your butt or your nose or the sound of your own voice. You are stuck with all of these things unless you get rich one day and can afford a plastic surgeon. Chances are you won’t get that rich, and if you do, you won’t spend the money on self-alteration. Plus, the world likes people who like themselves.
Do not surrender your twenties to being a fraud. Stop faking friendships, stop faking relationships, stop faking happiness, stop faking your interests, stop faking orgasms. Just quit. And, learn how to get yourself on a path to the real thing. Learn how to chop down the weeds, cut through the bullshit and find the authentic thing. It’s there.
Mess up. Make mistakes. Regret. Try. Fail. Try again. Just don’t surrender your twenties. You’re never getting them back.