by Ryan O’Connell
“Be really attractive. Your acne is gone, your face has matured without having wrinkles and everything on your body is lifted naturally. Eat bagels seven days a week, binge-drink and do drugs: you’ll still look like a babe. When you turn thirty, it’ll become a different story but that’s, like, not for a really long time.
Reestablish a relationship with your parents. You don’t live with them anymore (hopefully) so start to appreciate them as human beings with thoughts, flaws and feelings rather than soulless life-ruiners who won’t let you borrow their car.
Go from eating delicious food at your parents’ house to eating Ragu tomato sauce over Barilla noodles. Develop an eating disorder to save money.
Move into an apartment on the corner of Overpriced and Dangerous. Sleep on a bare mattress with an Ikea comforter. Your mother talks to you about buying a top sheet and a duvet cover but feel like you’re not mature enough to own something called “duvet.”
Read the New York Times piece, “What Is It About 20-Somethings?” Feel exposed and humiliated. Share it on your Facebook with the caption: “Um….” Your friends will comment “Too real” and that will be the end of that.
Work at a coffee shop but feel hopeful about your career in advertising, writing, whatever.
Remember that you’re young and that the world is your oyster. Everything is possible, you still have so much to see and hear. You went to a good school and did good things. Figure if you’re not going to be successful, who the hell is?
Date people who you know you’ll never be able to love. See someone for three months for no other reason than because it’s winter and you want to keep warm by holding another body.
Date a Republican just so you can say you dated a Republican.
Eventually all these nobodies will make you crave a somebody. Have a real relationship with someone. Go on vacations together, exchange house keys, cry in their arms after a demoralizing day at work. Think about marrying them and maybe even get engaged. Regardless of the outcome, feel proud of yourself for being able to love someone in a healthy way.
Start your twenties with a lot of friends and leave with a few good ones. What happened? People faded away into their careers and relationships. Fights were had and never resolved. Shit happens.
Think of yourself at twenty and hanging out with people who didn’t mean a thing to you. Think about writing papers, about being promiscuous, about trying new things. Think of yourself now and your face looking different and your body feeling different and how everything is just different.
Form the habits that will stick with you forever. Drink your coffee with two sugars and skim milk every morning. Buy a magazine every Friday. Enjoy spending money on candles, smoke pot on Saturdays, watch the television before bed.
Move into a bigger apartment on the corner of Mature and Gentrification and finally buy a duvet cover. Limit your drug-use. If you find yourself unable to do so, start to wonder if you have a problem.
Have your parents come to your place for Christmas. Set the table, make the ham, wear a sophisticated outfit, This will all mean so much at the time.
Think about having children when you stop acting like a child. This may not ever happen.
Maybe this is assuming too much. Maybe this is generalizing. Maybe society uses age as an unrealistic marker for growth. Maybe. Still feel the anxiety on your 30th birthday and think to yourself, ‘Oh shit, I’m no longer a 20-something.’”