Sometimes I envy people in their 20s. Not for their youth, but for the fact that at that age there are opportunities to do some things over. In my 20s, whenever I was told I was in the best years of my life, I always felt like hitting someone or something. And I am not a violent person. There was nothing “best” about my 20s, (okay, maybe my rock hard abs, great muscle definition and an ass you could bounce a quarter off of), but a lot of confusion about what I wanted in life and who I was supposed to be in life. Despite the fact that these observers had been through what I was going through and concluded my life would never be as prime as my current state, despite the fact that I knew they were right, despite the fact that I would not believe this piece of information until I qualify for AARP membership, I went through my 20s in a hazy blur of youthful stupidity. Like seaweed, I floated around with the currents and eventually figured out to an extent what it was that made me tick. I mean, I still have not figured it all out yet but as to the things I want in life, but I know for a fact the things I don’t want. And it took me 30 years to get this far.
Frankly, I feel a little sorry for people in their 20s because no one will tell them that early adulthood can be just as tumultuous as teen years. Only this time, adult mistakes have adult consequences and they will make loads of them with serious repercussions and little chances for do-overs. The best years of your life are also the years of the unavoidable bobby traps. What can we do to prepare? Nothing. You can listen to tons of solicited and unsolicited advice, but if you are like every other 20 something year old, your perceived invincibility will do you in. Career planning? Nah…plenty of time for that. You just met this cute Italian and have decided you want to spend a year abroad. Start a 401k or an IRA? Ha ha ha! Retirement is a billion years away. Dump your un-ambitious boyfriend? No can do. He is so good-looking, fun to be with and you have great chemistry. Spend more time with your family? No thanks. Thanksgiving dinner still gives you nightmares. In our 20s, our ambitions are tilted heavily onto instant gratification. The church of ‘I want it now.’ The altar of ‘blurred boundaries.’
In place of nostalgia, I break out in hives then I have a few laughs and thank God I survived my LIST. Oh, yeah. My list of things I wanted to try; sex, drugs and rock and roll etcetera, etcetera. So cliché. The satisfaction I got was fleeting. Now what? What was it with the 20s that made life so damn hard? My teenage years were brutal but this was damn near killing me. How was I supposed to lead a happy when I could not even make myself happy?
Freedom in the 20s sometimes comes with very little responsibilities at first. So we experiment with what we can or cannot tolerate. Come on now, we have all tried some shit now and again. The most popular is weed. Whether you inhaled or not is not my problem. Trying it takes some courage and the faith that God will not burn you in eternal hell for even daring to do it. I am opposed to the hard stuff. I would not dare try cocaine or heroine. I would not even try meth, if you paid me. Illegal drugs (with the exception of marijuana) are stupid. The dynamics are just plain dumb. You put yourself at risk to buy, transport, store and use it. If you get caught, sucks to be you. However, good ol’ pot is medicinal. It is not only good for cancer patients or people with cataracts; it is also a good stress reliever. Frankly, I find it hard to get mad, anxious, agitated or serious about anything or anyone when I am high. Yet I don’t advocate smoking the stuff everyday or every week. A few times a year or as needed is good. Anything else is just dining with the devil without a long spoon. I personally recommend legal drugs. They require nothing but a genuine need to sit or lay on a couch and moan about how life’s problems are getting too much to handle and then reciting all the symptoms of the particular disorder of the drug you want is supposed to help cure and voila! You have a prescription. No one will hassle you, and you can get the same high from smoking, snorting or injecting other crap. God bless Pharmaceutical America.
Back to the 20s…ah, yes, partying in the 20s is awesome. For one thing, it is so much easier to gain access to nightclubs and other adult establishments. Being young and able to do everything legal under the sun can make your choices quite infinite. Without proper structure one can easily loose one’s way. I remember a few years back when bar hopping was the norm for me and my friends. We started out on one end of town and worked our way down, and all with no consequences, or so I thought. The dangers that lurk in these environments for young women are real. Alcohol lowers your inhibitions and makes you careless. The perfect prey for predators and other dangerous individuals. But for the grace of God.
How about relationships? The 20s can be the decade you grow up and settle down. It can also be the decade you lose yourself in the moment and by the time you realize the things you thought you wanted was not about you, you are almost 30. The 20s and meeting men is like having an evil twin. Both share a bond but one cancels out the other. At that time of your life, putting too much effort in a relationship may seem clingy and so desperate to your peers. The pressure to taste the several elements of life is overwhelming and many often give in to it. On the other hand, settling down in your 20s can come with a great deal of self doubt often followed by confirmed affirmation that you have beaten your biological clock and set the next stage of your life in motion. Fingers crossed.
Let’s get past relationships and get into sexual experimentation. Men. Women. She-men. He-women. Straight. Gay. Bi-sexual. Tri-sexual. Welcome to the 21st century when nothing is what it seems. I am yet to meet a person in their 30s that is trying something for the first time. Whatever you do in yours 30s, you figured it out in your 20s. There are some things people try and never want to do again. There are others that make you realize you are quite as complicated as you thought you were. Either way, if a woman does not know what she likes by the time she turns 29, she has serious issues.
So here I am giving some more unsolicited advice, similar to the ones I got but ignored; don’t forget to plan for the future as you go though life. Don’t forget there is life after your 20s. Don’t waste any time doing anything you don’t enjoy doing. You are the only one that knows what is best for you. Before making a decision, ask yourself; is it in your best interest? Keep your book open and write your own story. As you get older, make better choices. Careful choices. Some will be good. Some will be bad. Some will turn out to be downright naughty. But, it will be your book. I want my grand kids to read mine, giggle out loud and think, “Grandma was a hoot.”