So you’re an early twentysomething.
Awesome; you must be really cool. Congratulations.
Or, maybe you’re not cool. It’s going to be pretty obvious to you either way.
If you’re not cool don’t worry; your ever helpful early twentysomething colleagues have invented a social construct called a ‘The Hipster’ to legitimise your ill-fitting corduroys, ironic star wars t-shirts and lack of deodorant.
Just whack on a pair of non-prescription horn-rims and swap your (parentally-funded) Nikes for a pair of thrifted brogues and you’ll be instantly relevant***.
Which, of course, is the primal urge of all early twentysomethings.
Your twenties is the decade which allows the greatest introspection, the greatest insecurity and the greatest quest for significance while enjoying (generally speaking) the smallest level of responsibility.
It’s fantastic. Everything is about you. Your career, your next holiday, your relationship, your invitation to the next great party, your social status. With any luck your life vaguely resembles a PG-rated version of Entourage*.
Until very recently I was a twentysomething.
I owned Jamie Cullum’s album ‘TwentySomething’ and did twentysomething things like buy overpriced Apple products and used social media hash tags to vent my outrage over political issues and world tragedies without donating a cent to help.
When I was an early twentysomething, I felt I was underpaid and that management should recognise my leadership potential and general brilliance within months of starting any job. As such I left several jobs within two years thanks to the lure of the highly addictive twentysomething drug we like to call ‘the bigger, better deal.’
I also enjoyed being cynical about Christians and the church and liked to show to my uni friends how relevant and edgy I was by using bad language, ordering obscure boutique beers and talking about how much I liked Etta James.
I don’t even like beer, but the kudos from all those $13.50 pints that I couldn’t finish was worth it.
Curiously, at times I treated older people with a mild contempt due to my perception of their complete lack of emotional aptitude and inability to understand popular culture or the internet.
I also entertained a delicious sense of self-entitlement which I used to justify most purchases over $100 as well as my default position of passive aggression in any social situation in which I felt uncomfortable.
Of course I would staunchly deny this lesser character trait when challenged by anyone (usually my parents), but it was a constant companion, along with rampant insecurity, up until about the age of 25.
Like you, I also lived at home for most of my twentysomething career.
Sure I had a few fashionable stints living with friends and even went overseas for a year or so, but always moved back home before long to “save money”.
It was a glorious few years.
WHAT YOU CAN LEARN AT A 21ST
Now that I am experiencing an entirely different decade, I quite enjoy observing early twentysomethings in their natural environment.
Case-in-point, I went to a 21st the other day. I remember attending 21st parties when I was actually 21. I usually had a few too many cheap champagnes and ran around making loud speeches and got angry at people for not joining in the dance floor shenanigans.
This time around I sat on a deck chair holding someone else’s baby and helped clean up empty party platters at the end of the night.
In between making cups of tea for old people (and myself), I looked around at the short hemlines, fake tan, tight pants and array of horribly obvious insecurities and wondered how I ever had a good time at anything before I was 25.
THE JESUITS HAD IT WRONG
You know that old Jesuit saying** “give me the boy until he is seven and I’ll show you the man”?
Yeah, well it was a typo. He meant to say ‘Give me the boy until he is 27’.
By 27 you really ought to have figured a fair bit of stuff out.
Stuff like how to take responsibility for your choices and how to cook and clean for yourself. Things like how to be kind to new people and make them feel welcome and cared for in social settings and choosing clothing which covers your ass.
It’s probably also good to have figured by this age out how to manage your finances with a slightly less obvious ineptitude; discover the benefits of sponsoring a child and contributing time and resources to charitable endeavours; how to cultivate a sense of gratitude (primarily to your parents for putting up with your crap for so long) and that your worth is not dependent on whether or not you’re in a relationship.
If you have managed to nail this by 27, you’ll be well ahead of the game.
The only thing is now I feel some degree of responsibility for early twentysomethings. Maybe I need to save you from the mistakes you’re inevitably going to make.
Sure you’re probably not going to wear Birkenstocks and cut your own hair like I did, but maybe you need a ‘someone older’ of your own who you can quietly judge for not being able to quote How I Met Your Mother.
Maybe I could be that for you.
Or maybe it’s best if I just leave you to it. Things seem to be working out pretty well for Lindsay Lohan…
*I only say PG-rated because cocaine and herpes isn’t cool no matter what your age.
**Yeah I had to Google that. You don’t just know stuff about Jesuits when you hit 30.
***I know this because I went to a Bon Iver concert last night and you were all there.