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The Carletonian

The Carletonian

The Carletonian

Are your twenties really that great?

<ur twenties! The 1920s, the roaring twenties, twenty-twenty vision, twenty mini cupcakes: we have been primed since birth to expect great things from the gilded decade in which many of us are currently extant. The central let-down of this decade, sad to say, lies in the subliminal internalization of this high expectation. Society has promulgated a glorious vision of one’s twenties. Your twenties are Gatsby’s green light, always across the bay while you are trudging through your teens, but once you have them, once you have that heavy-lidded, diaphanous Daisy by your side in the form of twenty candles congregated on a cake, all you feel is a sweet subtle goading for more - for what you were implicitly promised. We’ve all been conned.

Of course I am jaded. I am 20, but I look 12 as I have been repeatedly reminded by acquaintances and TSA employees. One said TSA employee actually told me I could keep my shoes on while passing through security because “kids 12 years old and younger can keep their shoes on.” I took my shoes off anyway. To be fair, I was wearing a sweater with a Santa Claus riding a unicorn and like five shirts on under that and a sports bra so my chest appeared lumpy and prepubescent. I also had on a small pink backpack. I wanted to look hip in my choices to wear childlike clothes as a twenty-year-old, not like an actual child.

Maybe your twenties are better if you look the part, if you wear your Birkenstocks at the proper occasions and if they aren’t patterned with gummy bears. Maybe your twenties are better if you know how to shave regularly or not shave regularly—if it’s deliberate. Or if you put on chapstick and wing your liquid eyeliner as effortlessly as you remember the quadratic formula from tenth grade. Maybe your twenties are better if you manage to live on the edge aesthetically, but actually still, at the end of the day, get all your work done and your teeth brushed.

Of course, looking the part is only part of the puzzle that when finally pieced together reads: hold out till your 30s. A myth of this stage in life is that you are free from responsibility, and therefore can travel and exercise all sorts of liberties. You can plan a trip to Dubai and you can go there and take some epic pics and ski indoors and eat the most colorful foods on the planet. NOT! You don’t have any money! You are in your twenties, and you are poor. You can go to Target and take epic pics of your broke-ass on the free bus; you haven’t had a job long enough to afford intercontinental debaucheries.

Oh, back to the glory days of adolescence! Oh, let me apostrophize to you sweet, sweet pimply teenhood with your incomparable fishnet-stocking glamour, your acute aftertaste of broken Virginia Slims and blue nail-polish. How I miss you, drugstore lip stain, irregular periods, boys at parties who always look like they are searching for something while emanating super swag vibes in their Moncler vests and crisp, clean snapbacks! Whether you appear puerile like I do or whether you have a full beard and the subtle onset of crow’s feet, you still in all likelihood retain a fraction of your teenage impetuosity; however, back then, because of the widely held belief in adolescent incompetence, you could simply get away with more. But now, if you cut multiple classes to take things such as a long shower or a hit of a joint, life isn’t as forgiving.

Your twenties, while shimmering with gassed-up expectation, will invariably deflate on you. You may be in your physical prime, but you are too distracted, stoned, and/or indolent to notice. You may feel like your future is spangled with possibilities, but you will soon discover the jejune, pragmatic reality of your situation. Of course, you don’t have your parents looking over you, but then again you don’t have your parents looking over you. You have near-complete agency and responsibility over yourself, and soon, if not already, must start to pay taxes, to water plants, to feed your cat. What a drag.

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