‘N Sync released their first album in 1995. September 11 was eleven years in 2001. The first season of American Idol was in 2002. The last Harry Potter came out in 2007. Catdog, Rocko’s Modern Life, Clarissa Explains It All, All That, That’s So Raven, Teen Titans, Sailor Moon, Even Stevens, Pokemon. We’re almost done with college.
Dude. We’re in our twenties. Take a moment to freak the fuck out with me.
At this point, we’ve gone through none to seven boyfriends and girlfriends, we’ve seen our parents fight and stay together or separate, we’ve seen our baby siblings, who will always be our babies, grow up and graduate elementary school or middle school or even high school. For some of us, we’ve had our first summers living away from our parents, paying rent and buying drinks, going out to bars. Others of us are abroad in different countries, traveling from country to country, booking our own flights and hotels. Some of us are even snagging our first jobs, being financially independent of our parents, maybe even buying our mom presents. I certainly felt a change when I took my little brother out to lunch and bought him a meal. Where were our parents to pay for it?!
Many of us are searching for jobs and summer internships. What are we going to do after college? Live with our parents? Live in our own apartments in New York City or San Francisco, working at some PR firm or apartment search startup or JP Morgan?? We want to be that super successful alumni who hosts that alumni gatherings. We’ll be decorating our flats and kitchens and bathrooms soon with some bohemian trinkets or sleek, modern furniture, agonizing over whether this piece of art will make us look like we’re trying to hard or look like a Warhol cliché.
We don’t have playdates at each others homes anymore, staying up watching TV and then waking up to our friend’s mothers pancakes. Now, we go out around 11PM to a bar, and then another bar, and then a club and the maybe wake up in a stranger’s bed or in our own, makeup smeared all over our faces.
Do you remember when we were freshmen in high school, looking up at the seniors and thinking how old they were? Or when we were in preschool, our teachers were a gobsmacking twenty-three years old?! Well now, we’re the ones that kids look up to. We’re that older cousin who is living in an apartment with her friends who may or may not come home for Thanksgiving or Christmas. We’re the child who never calls grandparents or parents.
But I, at least, do NOT have my shit together. I still lose my cellphone at bars, want my mommy when I’m sick, get grumpy when I’m hungry or sleepy. I get too drunk and come home and throw up in plastic bags and in the morning, stealthily throw away that bag separately so nobody knows that I can’t handle my alcohol. I forget if I left a tampon in or not. I still send drunk texts to guys I like, confessing how much I wish they liked me back, but then wake up and wish I could go steal their phones and delete any evidence. I still get mild stomach aches and WebMD and assume I have appendicitis. I forget to refrigerate food or check the expiration date and spend the next day, best friends with the toilet and trash can. I get jealous of my friends’ friends, wish I was prettier, wish I was smarter, better, faster, stronger. I get food stuck in my teeth and get pimples and hate how chubby I look or how clothes fit me. I experience severe anxiety if I don’t have 3G or Wi-Fi.
I’M NOT READY TO GROW UP. But when else are we going to able to get so fucked up out of our minds off of twenty shots of vodka at a pregame that we dance for hours and hours and then order a party pizza with friends? Or drive to New York for the weekend, get Ethiopian food, go through round after round of jagerbombs and tequila and Grey Goose at a Korean karaoke, and then get too drunk and cry for hours because you just got too drunk until the 5:30AM train takes you home? Or roll one and go to a park and just sit and smoke and then go eat the best pizza or pasta or gelato or chocolate or candy you’ve ever had? Or go on a six hour road trip to LA, cue Teenage Dream, getting lost because of the stupid I-450, but then have a weekend biking along the Santa Monica coast line? Or wake up still drunk and look over at your roommate and both reach for your trash cans and vomit at the same time and pass out, missing all classes, until 6PM? Or spend the evening sitting on the roof of your friend’s apartment in Manhattan and watch the sunset, a cranberry vodka or rum coke in hand?
You can’t always win the girl. You can’t always win with alcohol. You can’t always win in general. We’ve all had too much to drink. We all wish Disney Channel was what it used to be. Even Finding Nemo is a classic at this point. We’ve all sent that text we wish we could take back. Don’t worry that you finished that whole bottle of whiskey by yourself. Don’t worry that you have been hooking up with a guy that will declare his love for you but then completely ignore you when you pass him on your way to class. Just love and smell and savor the New England foliage, or the California sun, or the Big Games, or the yogurt parfait and kale chips, or Manhattan, or Rome, or Seoul, or Paris. Be by yourself and be with your friends and love your dad and love your mom. Drink tea and coffee and kir and cider. Layer when it’s cold, get naked when you’re horny, and sweat the alcohol off. As a wise woman once told me, don’t get naked, don’t get drunk, don’t get caught. THIS IS WHAT OUR TWENTIES LOOK LIKE.