There Is Limited Space And Energy In My Life.

Last week, during the middle of an intern interview, I found myself engrossed in a conversation about space. I’m not exactly sure how we stumbled upon this topic, but we found ourselves talking about the importance of boundaries when it comes to physical, emotional, mental and social space.

Clearly, if you want to land an internship with Twenties Unscripted, you should be able to talk about very abstract concepts and be prepared to work with a strange woman.

This idea of limited space and energy in one’s life didn’t really rise in importance for me until post college. Perhaps like everyone else I was on the endless hamster wheel of exams, papers and parties during undergrad. It never occurred to me to be deliberate about how I spent my time or expelled my energy. But, once I got my head above water (also known as survived my first post grad year), I became a lot more intentional about how I spent my time and with whom I spent that time. I became more purposeful about what things I let occupy my mind because I started to realize just how limited the space and energy in my life was. I learned how to say “no” to things that I didn’t want to do on weekends instead of feigning interest and then bailing at the last minute. I started to see time, space and energy not as infinite resources and more as limited commodities that I had to use wisely.

Recently, I made amends with a friend and it was something that was incredibly important to me. I knew it was something that was occupying an unnecessary amount of my mental and emotional energy and I couldn’t afford that. I didn’t discount how or why I felt the way I did, but I acknowledged that I’m trying to do a lot of shit in this life, too much shit to be bogged down with issues that have resolutions. There are people who hold grudges believing it gives them some sort of leverage over a person. But, they don’t realize how nasty your insides get when you hold on to the things you could just as easily let go.

I’ve written at length about letting go and it is a concept that continues to reveal itself. Because, maybe that’s what life is, a constant tide of taking some things on and letting other things go. I’ve burned some bridges. I’ve let some people in and escorted others out. I have peered very carefully at the relationships in my life and considered whether those relationships were assets or liabilities. I have been fucking selfish, hyper-aware of how my life transforms into ruins when I try to give too much of myself to too many people or too many things. I’ve learned how to put my own sanity before a shit ton of things that matter far less.

But, maybe more than anything I have been honest with myself about myself. I have started to understand the weight and responsibility that come along with being an emotional and creative person. I have started to understand just how deeply I can feel, just how much I tend to let people in and how vital it is to be intentional about that space in my life. I have started to understand that when you are trying to accomplish giant tasks, when you are trying to conquer the very world you feel is your oyster, there is limited time for kiddie games. There is limited space to devote to small thoughts and you have to decide what is significant and what is trivial. You have to let go, over and over and over again, so you don’t make the mistake of selling mental real estate to a thought or person you’ll soon evict. Maybe that’s the difference between girls and grown women. Girls react to what people bring into their lives; grown women decide who gets to bring anything into their lives. There is limited space and energy in my life. I’ve started to understand just how deliberate I have to be about it.






The Difference Between 21 and 24

2010. The first time I got drunk and the second time I got dumped. The year I turned 21.

21 and 24. Maybe not that different according to my signature photo faces.
21 and 24. Maybe not that different according to my signature photo faces.

You pretty much couldn’t tell me shit at 21. I was on the cusp of graduating and getting ready to say peace out to Maryland in exchange for a new job. I lived with some of my best friends. I didn’t have to pay rent. To say everything was fantastic is an understatement. Life had yet to humble me in some of the ways it has now.

Now at 24, you can probably tell me shit. It doesn’t mean I will always listen, but you can tell me and I’ll take your advice for whatever it’s worth. Now, I am almost three years into that new job. I live alone, with the exception of a rambunctious and temperamental cat. And, yes, I do have to pay rent. To say everything is fantastic would probably be an overstatement, but that is not to say I’m unhappy. Life has just humbled me in some ways I never quite expected.

I have this theory that I probably stole from somewhere else.The theory is that you evolve every three years during your twenties. I don’t think your twenties are this amorphous blob of uncertainty the way they are often characterized. Sure, uncertainty is a common theme throughout the decade-long narrative, but it doesn’t all look or feel the same. It’s not all one-note. Because you change. People change. Things change. I could probably write this post three years from now and it would read completely different.

The differences between 21 and 24 are only magnified when you take a close look. On the surface, at either age, the world still sees you as a self-obsessed collection of cells sucking up air from the people with “real jobs” or “real lives.” (Also defined as people who are married with children according to our snooze-worthy society.) But, when you dive below the waters, you see the differences between 21 and 24 are vast.

It’s the difference between just being happy to get a job after college to actually worrying about the trajectory of your career. It’s the difference between worrying about finals to realizing no one really cares what you learned in undergrad; they care about who you became. The difference between puking on the sidewalk to knowing that a hangover at work is one of the top 10 worst things you could do to yourself, only rivaled on that list to watching Honey Boo Boo. The difference between thinking you’ll be the best thing since sliced bread at your new job to knowing it takes years upon years to climb the ladder. The difference between letting yourself get dragged through the mud in love to proceeding with a bit more caution in matters of the heart. The difference between living in a bubble of friends to letting that bubble burst so you can know and experience more of the world.

Don’t let people tell you your twenties are 10 years of the same shit. And, if they tell you that, don’t listen to them. Don’t let that happen. Don’t believe them. Let yourself evolve and grow and change and let go. If you are the same person at 24 who you were at 21, you’re not doing this thing right. If you let yourself plateau during these years, you’ll never get that lost time back. If all you do is long for your college glory days, or worse, try to integrate them into your life now, you will lose in the worst and most avoidable way. Grow the fuck up. Wake the fuck up. College is gone and she isn’t coming back. You don’t have to wait until you’re 30 or married or popping out a child to be a “real” person. You are a real person. Right now. In this moment. Self-obsessed sack of cells and all. Get your head on straight.







Do Not Surrender Your Twenties Part 2

"Do Not Surrender Your Twenties Part 1"
“Do Not Surrender Your Twenties Part 1”

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.