On Turning 20 by Gabrielle Kassel
Two decades later: haven’t grown into nose, still grasping outwards with child-hands, still sleep with baby blanket. But, damn, it feels good to be out of my teens.
Twenty: an impressive threshold.
Twenty like, sex in the bar bathroom. Twenty like, your seventh interview this month. Twenty like, what do you want to be when you grow up? Twenty like, grow the fuck up. Twenty like, so are you dating anyone? Twenty like, tindr. Twenty like, LinkedIn. Twenty like, engagement rings and the girl next-door. Twenty like, adventure. Twenty like, health insurance? Twenty like, reckless. Twenty like, possibility.
Twenty: and heart’s still tied up in hormonal shambles. Twenty: and brain’s still captive to adolescent ignorance. All birthday’s that end with zero have this similar self-deprecating/ self-magnifying effect.
Admit, “Twenty is a big deal because I need it to be a big deal”. As is: the mistakes we’ve made and still feel the repercussions for, are mistakes from our teenage-self. Let the movement away from last year, last month, last night, be the turning of the fresh page we’ve been looking for.
But we’re twenty, full of paralyzing-hopes and propelling-fear, consumed by romance and solitude, and craving something bigger than the homogenous routine of adolescents and the something kinder than the societal expectations of monetary comforts, nuclear family, and already-required wisdom.
But being in our twenties, in the twentieth-first century, means we’re statistically not expected to succeed. Society is waiting for us to fail. Two fifths of us will move back with our parents. Two thirds of us will attempt living with a romantic partner we are not married to. And on average we will change jobs more than six times before our thirtieth birthday. We will open our web browser to see ads about the failure of youth, turn on the news to hear about the Boomerang Generation, and sociologists will coin our curricular movement “the slow transition into adulthood”.
However, the media-reports and lexicon undermine and undervalue the possibilities of enjoyable, balanced third-decade of life. With this is mind, I use this web-article to urge that those just turning 20, and those climbing through their twenties remember and abide by the following:
- Who you are now is fleeting, is not who you will be in ten years. When you no longer like who you are, shed your skin, retry, and plant yourself in nourished soul.
- Fall in love with music, and then share that music. Nothing is sexier than a human with good music and a spare ear-bud.
- Practice self-love at all times.
- Figure out what matters to you, then, prioritize.
- Be as loud as you need in your healing. You will fall in love again.
- Despite popular misconception, you do not need another to make your own heart beat.
- Spontaneity is underrated. So go on, the world is calling.
- Find what you love and the money will follow.
- You were not meant to be pretty, you were meant to start fire with your abilities. So burn bright.
- Take up space.
- Always have clean underwear and socks.
- It would not be too extreme to become kinder.
- I believe in you.
The decade you have ahead of you will be a dancing act: tangoing the line of failure and success, growth and immobility, self-expectations and the expectations of others. So, dance dancer, dance; show yourself and the world what you are capable of.
I conclude this article with this source-less quote “Nothing will ruin your 20’s more than thinking you should have your life together already”.