This Is What My Twenties Look Like

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.

- Grace

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29 thoughts on “This Is What My Twenties Look Like

  1. Your twenties sound like my twenties, and I think they’re fabulous. I totally get what you’re saying about “missing” something — but we’ll look back and think, “wow, we WERE awesome then! Just like we are now!” :-) I’ll take Mr. Darcy over six-inch heels any livelong day.

  2. I agree with you absolutely. Though I’m nearly the end of my twenties, like in three months, I’m looking forward to what my thirties will look like. With the exception of the first six months of this particular year, every day gets a little better. Every year looks a little brighter as I make my future, mine. (Though I’m on a Xena kick and I made pear bread this weekend, two loaves, and now I need to foist it off on someone because it is completely addictive.)

  3. Haha, I totally relate! My best friends all moved away to NYC or Seattle and have subsequently become MUCH “cooler” than I… but somehow I don’t care? Early bedtimes, hot tea, and reading on park benches on Saturday mornings are awesome. Plus, I’m bad at dancing, walking in heels, and remembering the names of frilly drinks. Here here!

  4. I feel just like this. Watching as the people I grew up with drink and party while I write about my cat, but i’m happy, shouldn’t that what life should about instead of lonely one night stands and going to those hip clubs that only let you in if your a size four or smaller?

  5. Sounds like the ideal twenties living to me. In fact, my twenties have been just like this. And I find myself in the final year of the 20′s and having had such a blast that I’m really, really looking forward to what the 30s will bring. So keep on twenty-ing!

  6. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!! My friends seem to be mostly on the same trajectory as yours, whereas I’m going back to school, studying every night, and enjoying the occasional Darcy-fest. I don’t feel nearly as freakish about it as I did a couple of years ago, but it is nice to know I’m not the only one! :)

  7. Oh my gosh, thank you for this post! I was honestly beginning to think there was something wrong with me — a 27-year-old woman who doesn’t go clubbing and stays in more often than not, even on the weekends. Good to know I’m not a crazy freak (either that, or we’re all crazy freaks together, which I am totally fine with)!

  8. You go, girl! I’m 53 & my life has never been wild & crazy. I married at 27 (ugh!), divorced at 39 (yeah!), been single since & do as I please. I love staying home with my two dogs (and watching “Masterpiece Theater” also!). Maybe that’s boring to 95% of the population, but I don’t care. I’m on my third “career” and work with a lot of twenty-somethings. I think most of their intense running about is due to the fact that they’re unsettled, don’t KNOW what they want and think they’ll find it out partying. You have your head on straight with goals in sight. Stay the course!

  9. I have friends who not only go clubbing regularly, but are partners and owners of clubs and pubs! Hahah but honestly, I do feel alright with staying in more often and chilling out with the wifey. I have a friend who’s living from paycheck to paycheck because alcohol is just so damned expensive, and I honestly cannot say I want that kinda life as an every day affair.

    BTW, I was enjoying your post up until the point you named-dropped Veronica and Logan, and then it went from joy to being overjoyed! That was a TV series that died too early!

  10. ahhhh, THAT LOOK!!!! and Buffy :) well….my 20ties were spent with friends and boyfriends, reading, ramblig around, sometimes partying sometimes not, definitely not based on pop culture scenario/hipserised blogs and photos, and e-mails, and oh my were my 20ties absolutely crazy? YES :) and my 30ties as well!!!! looking forward to 40ties now with no regret and 1000 of plans :D and Buffy, Angel, Firefly, BBC Pride and Prejudice close by ;)

  11. Can I high-five you? Is that acceptable thing to do? Seriously, my 20s resembles your 20s. I’m nearing the end of them and was worrying I haven’t spent enough time backpacking through the Andes and spending time in questionable hostels of South America. I don’t like backpacking and I’d rather stay in a pleasant hotel than somewhere where the bathroom is shared by 50 other people.

    Reading the comments here, sounds like there’s a lot of us awesome twenties girls out there :)

  12. Love your post…it’s amazing to know that across the globe, in different countries, cultures, 20-somethings are just alike…they think that if you’re not out there having fun, you’re not really living your 20s..but I too am like u, enjoy staying home over weekend reading books, doing crafts and baking…most importantly, I’m happy. :)

  13. My twenties were at home having babies and doing housework… my thirties ARE awesome and my 40′s will be better (the babies will be in college and i’ll be travelling the world in a campervan with any luck)

    We all have our own paths to walk

  14. Thanks for writing this post – I really needed this today. When you described your ideal average lifestyle I was thinking, “Well, duh. What could be better than *that*?” Its awesome to see so many awesome women on the same page. :)

  15. “Our e-mail trails read like correspondence from pen pals…on separate planets.” -I have a friend like this, my childhood best friend. Our lives went in entirely different directions (I’m more like you than a fashionista and she’s neither) and we started catching up via email a year ago. It’s like speaking 2 different languages. I wouldn’t trade, but it’s kind of cool to see the different paths people take.

  16. Pingback: Amen Sister! « She Flies with her Own Wings

  17. Haha. Im loving your blog and can totally relate!! I just started a new blog about surviving my twenties as a single girl. At 29 now and am in a totally different plce than most of my friends. I too tend to watch masterpiece theatre while the rest are out clubbing, etc lol glad to know im not alone. :)

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