Submission: The Great Myths Of Turning 20

| February 19, 2014

 

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Image: fasterlouder.com

Words by Jacqui Picone

My mother informed me that finally hitting the big 2-0 would be a transformative experience. I would leave behind the teenage angst and schoolyard drama. Long gone would the days be of dropping Class As in dark nightclubs and being forced to drink a concoction of spirits as a point of honour. I’d blossom into a mature, rational, and developed young woman ready to start my life as an adult.

What a load of bullshit.

I entered my 20th year of life at a festival, 14 hours into an alcohol and drug binge. I reeked of cigarettes and looked like a hippy during an acid flashback. Whatever nonsense you’ve been preached by family, co-workers, or that fuckwit 22-year-old in a suit who is “so over all that” is a bag of lies. Whilst we all hope and pray for a spark of maturity once we leave teenhood behind, the simple fact is we’re still as dirty and scummy as we were at 19; now, there’s just more stigma attached.

THE TOP 5 MYTHS OF YOUR 20S.

Clubbing Days Are Over
There is a common belief that once you hit your 20s the weekly ritual of using and abusing your body (and psyche) in a dingy nightclub ends. If anything, the clubbing gets worse. As an underage sprouter (don’t deny it) you used to ingest ungodly amounts of pills/caps/tabs/all of the above, drink the Kings cup when you inevitably lose at pre-drinks, stay out until 4AM, and then go to work in the morning, refreshed from 45 minutes of sleep.

As a 20-something degenerate you still maintain the routine; however, when you wake up from those few minutes of rest (and if you’re lucky enough to not be feeling the residual effects of whatever you’ve taken into your bloodstream) you are no longer fighting fit. Rather, you are awoken by a banging in your skull not dissimilar to the dubstep you did absinthe shots to last night. Your body protests to movement and you’re introduced to the concept of a ‘blackout night’; your stomach is in knots and your jaw aches from the constant clenching brought on by the lines of MDMA a random guy exchanged for a drink.

The only difference is that now that you’re 20 you have more money and less time. You should know better, but you ignore the expectations in exchange for a better time next week all over again. Fuck it, that’s what your 20s are for.

You Have To Have A Degree
This is the biggest joke since Justin Bieber. I mean sure, if you’re 29-years-old and are still in your first year of a degree then maybe it’s time to stop being a dickhead and get a proper job. While you’re freshly 20 though, don’t freak out just because you can’t answer the dreaded question, “What do you want to do with your life?” Faced with deciding what you want to spend the rest of your life doing is an absolutely terrifying task and if you study and get a degree straight away, solely to say you have, you’re going to end up unhappy and disgustingly bored. So try a few things; travel, explore your choices. Just because your next door neighbour got his law degree at 23, and began his career right away does not make him any better than you. If you find something you love, great! If you still don’t know what you want to do, don’t stress. You’ll find what you want to do, even if it takes a couple years.

Find Someone and Settle Down.
If you’re like me, you can barely make your paycheck last long enough to keep yourself fed for the week. Why add the endless cost of dating someone to the budget as well? Don’t get me wrong, if you do have a significant other or find someone along the way then fuck, love, laugh, and everything in between; if not though, don’t stress. The endless myth perpetuated by those smug couples that have been together “foreeeever” is that you can’t be truly happy until you to have joined their wanky couple club.

This is a load of crap.

The best part of being single and in your 20s is the endless possibilities presented to you because you alone are responsible for your own happiness and no one else’s. Get a fuck buddy, have a one-night stand, develop a devastating schoolgirl crush. Flirt with strangers, sleep with your best friend, have a casual fling that lasts a week with a co-worker. The idea that your self-worth and happiness is dependent on a relationship status and who’s making you cum is demoralising and desperately false.

This is your time to fool around and celebrate your youth before you’re smart enough to conceptualise mass regret and realise how terribly wrong a decision can be when beer goggles come into play. Plus, who has the time or money to remember an anniversary anyway?

Start Looking After Your Health
Smoke too much.
Take drugs.
Get tattoos.
Drink ungodly combinations of alcohol.
Sleep two hours or ten hours a night, nothing in-between.
Eat Maccas because no one can afford fresh food and anyone that can always look like they want to cry.

Don’t be one of the people that deny themselves the chance to have fun while you’re young. Those people wake up at 50 and want to do all the things they’re too old for anymore. Ever seen a midlife crisis? It’s not pretty, there’s budgie smugglers often involved. So while you may put your body and mind through hell while you’re young, you’re never going to regret the fun had and the memories created. Take the hangovers, greasy food, and sleep deprivation now because you’ll never have a better time to do it.

You’re Getting Old And Cynical.
What the fuck is wrong with you? You literally just finished being a shithead teenager and you’re complaining about being old. You glare at 16-year-olds and mutter under your breath about the things they giggle about on the bus in front of you. Sure, 16-year-olds are about as much fun to deal with as a punch in the face, but don’t become that guy. The one that is so contemptuous and sullen that they bring a room down just by walking into it. The simple fact is, even though you may feel like your youth is slipping away quicker than you can blink, these are your prime years, the time to make mistakes and fuck around being stupid. Simply because you have the best excuse ever: you’re still young.

Didn’t hand in that assignment on time because you were too hungover to think? It’s okay, you’re 23 and people expect mistakes. Slept with that guy with questionable morals, but he was so gorgeous it hurt to look directly at him? It’s okay; your friends will shrug off his attitude and high five you. Life is sunny and bright in your 20s and as much as you want to moan and groan about your scummy student life at the end of the day it’s never ever going to get better than this decade of your life.

So get over it and go have fun.

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