No one prepared me for real life.
No one prepared me for cubicles and overtime and moving back into my childhood bedroom. No one prepared me for hangovers and yuppie bars and bridal showers and babies. I just woke up one day, and there I was: 24 years old, sitting in an 8-by-8 cubicle with a terrible hangover, looking forward to Deep South Ghost Hunters on Saturday night. Seriously? How does this happen?
I don’t really know how people judge the success of a 24-year-old these days, but I’m pretty sure I’m not the barometer. Watching Jeopardy on a Friday night with a wheel of Brie in your parents’ living room doesn’t exactly scream “success.” When the highlight of your weekend is curling up in a Snuggie to catch up on three hours of Dance Moms re-runs, then it’s obvious that your life is not exactly on the up and up.
This isn’t how I expected to spend my twenties, either – watching Law & Order: SVU marathons with a quarter-pound veggie burger in my greedy paws. No way! I was eager for my twenties – eager for what everyone promised would be the best, most exciting years of my life.
Back in college, I pictured myself living in Europe or road-tripping across the U.S. or joining the Peace Corps. I thought I’d be making bank and bar-hopping every weekend and considered cool. In reality, I live at home, I eat cheese on Friday nights, my younger cousins think I’m old, and more than three drinks in one evening will put me on the bathroom floor with my phone in the toilet.
I feel like life is trying to catapult me from 22 to 45 years old in the blink of an eye. What happened to the years I was promised – those free-wheeling, crazy days of gluttonous fun and Roaring Twenties-esque frivolity? These awkward, transitional years feel nothing like that. Now I find myself wondering what LMFAO is talking about in their latest song and when I’ll stop feeling so confused all the time.
The best part about growing up is not doing it, and most weekends, I’m still ready to party like it’s 1999. But is this now, for some absurd and unfounded reason, considered “wild” or “immature”? What if life as a 24-year-old is supposed to be startlingly similar to life at 45? What if this is it? Do I have to spend the rest of my years getting excited about wooden cutting boards and gift cards to Crate & Barrel?
Maybe, at some point, I’m just supposed to accept life as a 24-year-old 45-year-old. I’ve heard that some twenty-somethings do this. And for those people, I have a few important questions.
What is a Lazy Susan really, and what do you use it for? Are couples required to take engagement photos in a public park? Why do wedding invitations come in 15 envelopes, and why do babies look like aliens? If I post about my workouts on Facebook, will they become less hateful? And if I post pictures of the food I make, will it become less like a frozen pizza?
Is IKEA a fun place to go on a Saturday night? Can one actually call ones significant other “hubby” without vomiting? Have cardigans become acceptable club-wear? And, most importantly, can we have alcohol at your baby shower?