Today, I got an e-mail from a friend in New York. We’ve drifted since undergrad, but still share enough of a sensibility to e-mail every now and again, recounting salacious gossip and stories of dates gone horribly, horribly awry. It’s a weird relationship, no lie. She works in the fashion world, stays out most nights partying, and strongly believes leather is work wear. Meanwhile, I watch a lot of Masterpiece Theater. Our e-mail trails read like correspondence from pen pals…on separate planets.
Worse, however, sometimes they read like messages from different generations. Today I had to go look up not one, but three, different words from the NYC rave scene. Y’all, I thought “Molly” was just that nice girl who captained our high school drill team. Not so. In the course of reading about these adventures, a surprising emotion overcame me: envy. Sure, my rule-following self doesn’t actually want to do illicit drugs and wear six-inch heels, but shouldn’t I want to? Aren’t these the years I’m supposed to be living it up, making memories I can look back upon fondly, when my hair is gray and my shoes orthopedic?
My peers certainly are. Every week, it seems another friend moves to Finland or discovers a new bat species. If they’re not procreating, they’re in D.C. protesting on behalf of naked mole rats. Meanwhile, I am still in school, watching The Daily Show every night, and worrying about how many calories are in the pumpkin bread from Starbucks that I just ate two slices of (390, for the record). Something is surely wrong here.
According to popular culture, which we all know is such an accurate reflection of life, my twenties are the prime of my life. They’re the last gasp of fun, before that looming specter of marriage/children/wrinkles swallows up my soul. I should be out every night, flirting with hot men and drinking sparkly pink drinks. I should only stay at home watching Pride & Prejudice, when I’ve just broken up with someone. I should have a quirky, but loveable group of friends, with whom I go on zany antic-filled road trips.
Whatever. Y’all, I don’t want to do any of that right now. (Except for the road trip, because my friends are really fun and that would provide plenty of fodder for a cross-country adventure novel. Like On The Road, but with more show tunes and discussions of THAT LOOK between Veronica & Logan in the last episode of Veronica Mars.) The media and my Facebook feed can go suck an egg, for all I care. Sure, I’d like to be moving to London next week or opening a mini-pie store, but I have other things to do. My twenties are filled with writing books in my pajamas, studying for my next exam, watching Star Trek with my hot professor, and eating a lot of BBQ.
Hopefully, my twenties will also be filled with book signings and more trips abroad, but those are never going to be my day-to-day activities. Which is good. I would never get shit done, if I were going to cool fashion parties every night in New York. Besides, who decided that life is most important at this age? I refuse to believe my days will be any less enjoyable at 65 than at 27. To think otherwise is to buy into the youth-obsessed craziness that is modern culture. Pardon me, but I’d rather live a long, happy, fulfilling life than stay in my twenties forever. My thirties will be awesome, as will my forties and eighties, because they will be mine.
Screw off with your pressure, world. This is what my twenties look like. They’re made of ridiculous dancing, great hummus, feminist articles, adorably retro heels, sewing dresses, kissing bearded men, staying at home to watch Buffy, and all the other things and people I love. Including, yes, Mr. Darcy and too many pastries.