Re: How I SHOULD Live My Twenties (More than 150)

If you’re a twenty-something, you’ve noticed that Buzzfeed, various blogs, and a number of online magazines and news articles have started a fad of telling us what we should and should not do/how we should and should not feel in this supposedly crucial identity-forming decade. Don’t get married before (fill in blank with the age at which the writer of the article started noticing her middle school friends flashing their nuptial bling on Facebook). Do travel (never mind how to pay for it). Don’t stick with the same partner for too long (there are just so many guys out there just waiting to bone you – why settle for one?). Do feel lost and confused and do whatever you want in order to lessen the confusion (because, really, even scientifically, that’s all your twenties are for).

I’m 27. I’ve lived through most of my twenties, and looking at these lists used to make me feel like I did everything wrong. I’ve got plenty of drunken nights under my belt, but I haven’t had multiple partners or smoked pot. I’ve gone to India, Mexico, and Egypt, but not that Mecca of the twenty-somethings: Europe. I mean, I’m still in my twenties, and I’m married, have a grown-up career, and two dogs. By all accounts, I’m hopelessly settled down. And, dear God, I cannot be settled down at 27. That means I was too rash and foolish with my decisions, and I will regret everything when I’m in my thirties.

Bitch, please.

I think part of the reason the woulda-shoulda-couldas of twenty-somethings are so popular right now is that most of the people who write these articles are in their twenties and tired of seeing their peers settle down when they themselves haven’t figured it out yet.

The other part? Millennials are the thing to talk about because we’re growing up. We’re entering a work force with no jobs. When we do get jobs, we get disillusioned by them because we were taught to reach for the stars and create a bright, shining new world, when in fact, the real world is a big goop of muck. And, I don’t know. Old people just love to complain about those darn kids and their rock’n’roll, right?

There are plenty of other twenty-something bloggers responding to this epidemic of online articles (and a thirty-something responding to equivalents for your thirties. Great. Something to look forward to). I’m glad. For a while there, I was worried that everyone in my age group was blindly following Buzzfeed because the internet made them forget the difference between wisdom and mere bullshit that’s tailored to go viral.

At 27, I’ve seen over 100 friends who got married in their twenties (I just searched “my friends who are married” on Facebook and counted every couple who got married in their twenties for a grand total of 102. And that’s just the people who have a Facebook that they keep updated. Pretty scary how easy it is to stalk on Facebook. “My friends who have children” is not a viable search option, though. I guess even Facebook has to draw a line somewhere). Two divorces. Three, if you count one of B’s friends who I don’t know personally. So, maybe the inevitable divorce that awaits all brides under 29 is just a myth. True, maybe some break-ups are looming in the future, in the dark abyss of the thirties and forties, but do I really want to look at my friends and wonder who’s going to get divorced first?

Instead, I’d like to focus on the successes. There are some fabulous married couples in my circle of friends and acquaintances, some of which are working on their second or third child, that haven’t gotten boring. And then, well, there are a good many who have gotten boring. They prefer to go to the zoo with their kids or venture into their hometown for a staycation (because, seriously, where is there any money?) or have a steak at home and watch Wheel of Fortune (what we did last night, actually). And they don’t give a shit. Because, guess what? We’re fucking twenty-somethings and we’re just trying to play grown up because, in the end, ain’t that what we’re all trying to do?

I actually know people who are happy. I actually know people who aren’t confused. I do know a lot of people who are confused and occasionally miserable, but if they let the confused and miserable part of this stage in life life dominate their personality, I either stopped following them on Facebook or just unfriended them in real life. I don’t have time for that depressing shit.

Here’s the thing about your twenties: there is no “thing” about your twenties. Life doesn’t work in nice, neat little decades. There are a few years when you live with your parents, your caregivers, people who are taller than you and tell you what to do, and then another time period when you’re trying to figure things out on your own (and then there’s a whole new level of tall people telling you what to do). For most people in Western civilization, the latter starts when you graduate college (at 22 if you’re a good little girl), so we’re inclined to think the second decade of life is THE ONE. The one where you figure things out. The one where you do all the things Jack Kerouac would want you to do. The one where you get messy and “find” yourself.

I may not be thirty yet, but I have an inkling that figuring “it” out via traveling and drinking and all-around fucking up won’t stop at the big Three-Oh. Frankly, I hope it doesn’t. If you’ve got “it” figured out at 29.9999, then what the hell do you have to look forward to for the next 4-6 decades of your life?

Here’s to a messy, confusing life for the rest of your life. Because, come on, that’s life.

And, because the writers on Buzzfeed need something to do as they age, here’s to future lists: “43 Things You Need to Do Before You’re 43” and “96 Things You Should Do in Your Nineties.”

(if you were wondering why this is over 150 words, this is part of an occasional series where I go over the limit)

27 thoughts on “Re: How I SHOULD Live My Twenties (More than 150)

  1. I think this is an excellent beginning to your more than 150 words series! It’s totally true! Those of us who aren’t married and over 30 probably need some sort of reinforcement that there’s not something wrong with us, but that doesn’t mean people married under 30 are wrong either. There’s no one right way to grow up. Kudos to you for standing up to the establishment!


    • Thank you! Yeah, I completely understand about wanting to know you’re not alone when things get bad. I like that about the lists. The only thing I don’t like is when they start putting “should” and “shouldn’t” in… because that’s bound to just irritate people.


  2. Yep, you definitely found a neat, universal answer when you pointed out that our whole lives are messy and confusing. After 557 years of life, I can testify to the truth of that. (Really, I was born in 1456. Old English teachers never die, they just lose their class.)


  3. Love it! I am in my early twenties and already so tired of the society-imposed standards telling us by what age we should have real jobs, be married, have kids, etc, while also implying that after your twenties it is no longer possible to have adventures. As if! And like you so aptly said, the messiness and confusion of life is not confined to one decade either.


  4. Loved this post! I’m 21 and I can’t tell you how much I relate to this post. There aren’t standards or guidelines of being in my twenties that I have to conform to. That’s part of the reason I named my blog “Adventures of a 20-Something,” because there is no right way to be a twenty-something. I’m learning and growing and not taking shit from any Buzzfeed list.


  5. How screwed up is it that people might actually make real-life decisions based on articles Buzzfeed, etc., basically post to get web hits? Great post, and congrats on being Freshly Pressed!


    • Right? I hate to think that my friends in their early 20s would take Buzzfeed seriously, but I always seeing it spread like wildfire on my Facebook, so I’m guessing something hits close to home? Ugh I don’t know. And thanks, Allison!


  6. This is a great post. You are an old soul. Unlike many new ones, you will figure it out. I like that you are passionate and a little angry/frustrated yet don’t come across negatively. Well done. .


    • Awesome! I definitely will! I’m always interested in seeing other teacher blogs because I’m just a little paranoid that BIG BROTHER (administration) IS WATCHING… it helps to see what other teachers are complaining about😉


  7. This is brilliant and so very true. I’m 27 too (a week into the 27) and married too. Do I find it boring? No. Do I find myself wanting to travel because yet another article focuses on someone travelling the Amazon rainforest? No. I’d rather go on Amazon and buy myself something cool, slanket maybe?! Anyway, good to meet you, check out my blog if you have a moment, you might enjoy some of my thought pieces too.


  8. How should you live your 20’s?

    Live like a 20 something year old of course😀. Let loose, have fun , experiment and but at the same time work hard, discover who you are, where you interests and purpose lies.

    Getting don’t have to exactly get married in your 20’s. Whenever both you and your partner think you ready to accept it should be the time. I don’t get why people rush into marriage thinking it’s all glory and all that w/o realizing it’s alot of work. My personal philosophy is if you want to get married (Marriage should a choice hence the “if”), you and your potential partner gotta be serious about and be aware of all the implications that marriage has and learn how to work together when problems arise rather than fighting. It helps with stability and keeps the marriage together.


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