Throughout high school and college, everything lacks urgency. There's always more time to make important decisions. I'll figure out my passion later. I won't worry about my debt(s) until I'm done with school. Of course my friends will always be around to entertain me. Mom and dad will keep paying my health insurance and giving me beer money. Then one day you wake up and realize that you can no longer rely on your friends to split the rent 5 ways, eat from the cafeteria on your meal plan or expect mom to keep doing your laundry. The 4 years you spent
At this point, most 20-something year olds get a job that either pays the bills or has potential of becoming their desired career. No one lands their dream job right out of the gate. Now you may wake up at 40 and realize you're still in your post-college entry level position but you didn't consciously decide that was going to be it. Somewhere along the way you may have missed an opportunity, life may have thrown you a few curve balls and you may feel like a failure, but you made your bed so deal with it. Throughout college (the ambitious types) dream of what exciting and profound career they may one day profess on their business card. Supreme Court Justice? Can't wait! Nation's leading heart surgeon? Where do I sign! Titan of industry? Yes please! Of course, no one actually achieves these coveted positions at 21, but isn't it fun to think of all that potential your professors and parents have been feeding your ego all these years? No one tells you how morally crushing it is to be rejected by a small firm that has typos in its Jobs.com ads and polyester clad HR drones. No one clarifies that your "earning potential" is just that, potential. You may have the fortune of making that bank decades down the line but don't think you're getting that great health plan and bonus package with zero experience. No one rewards you for your efforts with concrete affirmation of grades, diplomas or smiley face stickers. Sure a paycheck may be considered a reward for your attempts at being productive, but when you see the paltry amount that barely covers the gas it takes to get to work, it feels more like a cruel joke.
So while you're feeling particularly nostalgic about your 20's, remember how disappointing, stressful and degrading it was to realize you're not as "special" as your parents and professors built you up to be. Think back on that first despondent memory of rejection. Whether it's an internal defense mechanism (I haven't run the diagnostics on this theory yet and I only minored in psychology) or the capacity to remember stressful times dissipates with the aging brain, people tend to remember only the carefree carousing of their 20's. Somehow they seem to have forgotten that epiphany whereby one realizes they're most likely NOT going to reach that elusive "potential." Coming from the generation of entitlement, this is a particularly difficult reality to grasp because most of us are not equipped with the necessary skills to cope with our own shortcomings.
In your 20's it's hard to imagine the people you once played beer pong with while taking breaks to do keg stands will one day run off and get married and produce offspring. That girl who spent every Friday night clutching the toilet, mascara running down her face, drunkenly sobbing over another rejection will actually
However, those of you who've made it through your 20's with a little grace and sanity, and do find yourselves married (happily or not) be thankful you fit the norm. It's not so great on the other side. When your love life is floundering, it's difficult to be constantly surrounded by a bunch of newlyweds. They're like a plague of locusts sweeping over your self-confidence, leaving very little behind. Making more of a spectacle attempting NOT to speak about their upcoming nuptials around those who have none to speak of. Especially around the girl who called off her own wedding. I'm either the basketcase who couldn't make it down the aisle, or the spoiled brat who didn't see the value of making it down the aisle. So, be thankful if you're in this elite group of couples and stop bitching about missing the good ol' bachelor days. Sure it's fun to have the freedom to look, but not so fun if no one is looking back.
Still miss your 20's? Miss all the insecurity and doubts? Miss feeling like the outcast or that you're falling behind? Miss the eagerness of what may lie ahead only to discover it's pretty bleak? The only period of my life I've look fondly upon, were the days I was free to poop my pants. I guess by that token, I'm really looking forward to my 90's.