Trying to distil the pain of prolonged “young-person” existence and its many challenges is no easy feat. I have relatively little experience at 24 years young, but, with the wisdom I have gleaned over the past couple of years, I am going to tell you how I get by.
Above career, sometimes above romantic love, I think friends are the most important thing in the world. The people you surround yourself with are usually an accurate reflection of your standards; If most of your friends are completely unemployable numpties, with questionable personalities and habits, I can straight-up tell you that your life doesn’t bode well.
When you arrive at Uni, you will end up making friends with the most annoying, eccentric characters who just happened to be in your halls or in your seminar group. For the first few weeks you can’t stand them and wonder where your cool crowd is. After graduating, these weird people tend to stick around and you realise you love them to bits, all the meanwhile thanking Jesus that you didn’t bother much with the girls who dressed head-to-toe in Jack Wills and never brushed their hair. They are now doing unpaid internships at shit magazines and still think Ugg boots are cool.
As we collectively approach 25, this milestone triggers an exchange of drunk Whatsapp messages and emotional calls from nightclub toilets because nobody completely knows what they are doing with their life, halfway to 50. Those who do seem to know are secretly worried they are not doing the right things. We prop each other up and provide helpful, practical solutions such as wine or outlandish cocktail-fuelled hot tub parties. Let’s be honest (and ageist) – it would be unacceptable if anyone over 35 joined in the marvellous game of “Guess Who’s Boob” with a Strawberry Daiquiri in the other hand, that’s just weird. Some things you can only get away with in your twenties and these special memories are made by having GOOD friends.
Value your friends, they are your stand-in parents, counsellors, fellow mischief makers and reality checkers. I owe so many things to my friends.
Getting a job is important because you need to keep yourself in mascara and internet. Deciding what to do for 40+ hours a week can be a tiny bit scary. Word from someone who is very happy at work – do something you love and work in an industry you are fascinated by. Don’t succumb to the expectations of your parents (if they have expectations – My Mom is just happy I can read), or aim for a title because it sounds impressive. Newsflash: nobody cares, they are too worried about themselves. Try not to be precious about testing things out, but at the same time appreciate that you are competing against Oxbridge graduates for roles like “Junior Copywriter” and “Data Analyst”. Finally, have faith in yourself, because your parents probably don’t at this point.
Love is the one thing that forces us to grow up years before we are actually ready. The people with depth and empathy and a capacity to feel all of the feels… yep, chances are they have had their heart broken. This phenomenon usually strikes before or around our early twenties. It turns boys into men and girls into Adele fans. Our first love usually provides the most potent and memorable lessons about self-worth, standards and understanding the value of differentiating between chemistry and actual compatibility. With recovery from heartbreak hopefully comes the epiphany that it is not that hard to meet people who want to have sex with you and also enjoy your company. It’s merely a wicked selection process of sifting the Y chromosome wheat from the Y chromosome chaff. In your twenties this process is to be thoroughly enjoyed (panic can set in during your thirties).
Sex becomes better. When you have stopped worrying about what you look like naked (because you are never going to look as good naked as you do in your twenties!) orgasms go from being an additional, unexpected bonus during sex to becoming the most overwhelmingly powerful thing your body has ever experienced. It might make you wonder if other girls have such amazingly near-death-experience orgasms. If this hasn’t happened yet, the best is yet to ‘come’ – generally with practice and a patient man.
I am still alive and pretty happy.