The following is a list about being in your twenties. I know what you're thinking: "Oh, wow, this could be only the fourth or thirty millionth post about this generation I've read in the past two days. I really hope she talks about being in New York City! Here, take over my entire Internet!" You are on the edge of your seat, I'm assuming. But let me warn you. Being in your 20s isn't all just waiting in line to see The Great Gatsby and downloading The Great Gatsby on your Kindle and roses. There's a lot of terrible things we have to go through. And I'm here to list them.
1. Not all of us got to go to Coachella.
For the past eight months, a collective of twenty-somethings has been crocheting various crop tops--in cream, in rose pink, in dusty rose, even in SLATE GRAY, if you can imagine that. They've dutifully made crowns of craft store roses to place on their heads, gathered an impressive array of jewelry with crosses, posted Facebook statuses condemning and then later celebrating the lineup, commented on Facebook posts about "who wants to switch weekends ahhhh!!!!!!!!!" with "I don't have tickets yet!!!!!!!" All in vain. Despite my immense sense of privilege, which spans both the forces of time and science itself, I did not wake up and find myself molecularly rearranged in California. In fact, a large number of us, no matter how strong our opinions of music are, found ourselves waking up in studio apartments, with only our artisanal bagels and Tofutti cream cheese to give us comfort. We had to stare at Instagrams of sunsets and cigarettes and neon instead of really BEING there. It was a harsh day for all of us.
2. Sometimes, our parents are still at work and we have to wait a day or two until they can send us money.
The bank closes around 5 or 6 but my dad gets out of work around 7 or so. My friend Kayla had her 25th birthday in a speakeasy, and I only had about 17 dollars in my account, and my dad didn't get to the bank on time and so I had to use my credit card. The credit card had a 30 dollar minimum so I had to buy a drink for a friend on my own tab. I didn't even get the money until Saturday afternoon. I love my dad and all but sometimes he makes everything really difficult for me. He looks so tired sometimes and like, Wake up! People are dying.
3. It's super boring to apply to jobs.
It takes a very long time and they ask you for SO many questions, and most of the time you can't even do something else like G-Chat because you have to concentrate. I've applied to around 600 at this point. I went to college, which means that my career options include becoming a fetish model and writing about how hard it is to get a job in this economy. Sometimes you think you are qualified for a job but you find out you have to have donated your liver or have a famous mom in order to get to the next round of interviews. Have I mentioned Linked-In sucks? All they do is send you emails about how your friends got promotions.
Don't get me wrong. I LOVE brunch. But I have to admit, sometimes it's very difficult for me to love it as much as I do. It really wastes your whole day---I often get home at 3pm or even 6:30 sometimes, and I feel so full afterwards. My oversized men's sweater barely fits. I barely have time to massage my kale before I can sit down and stream Game of Thrones and drink an IPA from a local brewery. Bam! My day is over, and I know brunch is to blame. Plus, a lot of the time I get eggs but know I really wanted French toast. It's just kind of gross to eat a whole plate of BREAD with sugar on top of it. You also have to get a Bloody Mary because it COMES with the meal and I'm not into wasting food, as I am very into social justice. That makes me drunk and often times SO sleepy, I cannot listen to Samantha's lesbian love troubles. I think a lot of my emotional troubles come from brunch, and I believe my best self will be achieved if I begin to get up early and buy a freshly-squeezed vegetable juice.
5.You can't always get what you want.
I don't mean to make this ALL about me, but in the last week or so: I went to my local grocer to buy parsley but all they had was cilantro, I finally had some downtime to watch television during primetime hours but all that was on was American Idol (as if I'm going to give into that patriarchal crap), my wifi has been ridiculously spotty, you have to press down really hard to text on my Droid, the cute vintage Campbell's at Buffalo Exchange were NOT in my size and they obvs only have one, I was too tired to go out to Happy Hour. Sometimes, things just spiral out of control. Not to make this about me again, but I literally just, like, got an iced coffee FOR ONCE in the morning and I missed my subway by a minute. I had to wait 7 minutes.
6. We're in massive debt and it's a REAL actual problem but nobody takes that very seriously because some of us grew up with like, two car garages so we don't deserve pity.
I'll just leave that here. Back to jokes! Back to jokes!
7. Dating sucks.
Although a lot of marriages still end in divorce, 20-somethings have an even bigger problem to deal with in the dating and romance world: Internet Dating. Internet Dating is an example of extreme excess. While I am a girl who can do 30 shots in a row while wearing one of my 56 American Apparel plain t-shirts, I still don't think dating is something that needs to be excessive. For one thing, talking to people is hard. For another thing, going on 800 dates is like eating whole keg full of frosting: a little taste is nice, a lot makes you realize that men and bars and frosting in general are very "sticky" to the touch and smell sugary. I'm not sure if frosting works here. Let's try something else: going on 800 dates statistically increases your risk of being murdered.
8. Everybody hates us, including ourselves.
We get it. We wear brightly colored nail polish, often two colors at a time. We LOVE reading The Onion, but couldn't come up with a good headline to save our lives. We are SO obsessed with food trucks and Beyonce and tweeting political opinions and wearing natural deodorant and putting hot sauce on everything. We read a lot of authors with three names but still manage to "just check out" Fifty Shades of Gray. If you are born in the "late '80s" you are contractually obligated to talk about GIRLS and and the 1990s. However-- maybe, just maybe, we have created some shaking foundational changes for the way our nation is headed: we've pushed for equal and human rights, made "feminist" an important word again, pushed for body acceptance and anti-bullying, campaigned for the arts and encouraged political dialogue amongst the people. But HEY! We also wear weirdly colored jeans and are a little bit TOO obsessed with various dog types. Mostly purebred dogs, I may add. Check your privilege! Still, the fact remains: we are the future, and we are trying to build that future---in Williamsburg and beyond. Hope you brought the right haircut for it.
Alida Nugent is the author of the new book Don't Worry, It Gets Worse: One Twentysomething's (Mostly Failed) Attempts at Adulthood.
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