Why 20-Somethings Need To Appreciate Their 20s Just A Little Bit More

by Lauren Martin

I won’t deny it, I am sometimes completely disillusioned and disappointed with my life. I’m in my twenties, and I feel like nothing is happening to me. I’m at the pinnacle of my youth: the hottest, most energetic and the youngest I’ll ever be again.

When I imagined my life at this age, I thought I’d be one of those cool adults with a fancy Mercedes convertible and a hot doctor taking me to Le Bec-Fin.

I thought I’d have an apartment similar to that of Monica’s from “Friends,” and a bunch of diverse friends to spend Sunday brunch with and hotter ones to go to clubs and speakeasies with. I thought I’d have some stocks and bonds and take limos to fancy charity benefits.

If my 16-year-old self could see me now, she’d have some questions.

Where’s the amazing apartment? Where’s the perfect boyfriend? Where’s the ideal job with the personal assistant and expense account? Where is everything we wanted?

She’d look at me with those same spoiled and naive eyes I once reserved for my parents. I’d have to break the news to her delicately, explaining the harsh reality that life isn’t what you created around the myriad of false media depictions of 40-something actors, playing 20-somethings with 30-something problems.

Because your twenties are nothing like “Friends,” “Big Bang Theory” and “Grey’s Anatomy,” but closer to something like “Saved By The Bell.” And though you’re at an age that always seemed old to you, it’s an age with the respect level on reserves for Zack Morris.

Few shows have had the ability, besides “Girls,” to accurately depict what it’s really like to be in your twenties. The poverty, the lack of respect, the disillusionment and the earth-shattering realization that you’re still just a young kid who needs mom and dad's birthday checks and dental.

However, it’s this lack of respect, zero expectations and complete anonymity that comes with being too broke to even go out that makes your 20s the best years of your life.

You’re the cool freshman in the world of upperclassman. You’re riding the wave with the big kids, anonymous and with zero eyes on you. You’re just having fun, watching the older kids worry about the swells and the precision of their cuts. You’re on the bench, waiting for your turn at bat, enjoying all the time off before the eyes of your coach fall on you.

Being 20-something isn’t about being too young to take advantage of life, but being just young enough to still appreciate it. You can appreciate it without the private clubs and car services. You can appreciate it without the health insurance and stock options. You are young enough to live in squalor and still appreciate your apartment because it’s yours.

You’re young enough to eat McDonald's and “forget” to go to the gym for the next week. You’re young enough to stay out all night and find a horrible excuse to get out of work. You’re young enough to be completely lost and utterly confused about life and have absolutely no idea what you’re doing.

Your Metabolism Is As Strong As Your Core

It's all downhill from here, so you may as well enjoy the view from the skinny top. At least in your twenties, you have the energy and the motivation to work off the love handles and early signs of ab fat. And if you don't feel like exercising you still have that moderately fast metabolism to keep you out of Spanx and moderately decent in a bathing suit.

The body of a 20-something is as coveted as a Shake Shack special anniversary burger and you may as well take advantage of as many hamburger specials as you can.

Your Lineage Is Still Long

Your grandparents are still alive… kind of. Those birthday, Easter and Hanukkah checks are still coming, and still very much appreciated. Not to mention, you still get to spend time with them and see them as people rather than boring old relatives.

You also don’t need to worry about taking care of your parents because they’re still taking care of you (to some extent).

Social Media Sites Don’t Make You Want To Cut Yourself

Your newsfeed isn’t flooded with babies and you can still laugh at the people having them. Because they’re the weird ones, not you. It's still acceptable to roll around the floor in laughter and shock at the newly surfaced photo of your classmate in delivery.

Drugs And Heavy Drinking Are Still Allowed

You can still take drugs without people worrying about you and black out without it looking like a cry for help. It’s not weird, dangerous or worrisome to be smoking weed and partaking in other elicits at 20 because YOLO, right?

Being 20 and wild is stereotypical, while being 30 just looks like those bad habits are turning into strong addictions.

Some Loans Still Don’t Require Payment

You can still take money from your parents the same way you did when you were 16. They still want to help you get on your feet and will always throw you some bills for a train ticket home or high phone bill.

Asking your parents for money in your twenties is just that, asking for money. In your thirties, it’s a loan.

Being Jobless Doesn’t Mean You’re A Bum

It’s not weird to be between jobs or still looking for the right one. Unlike when you’re 30, hostessing or waitressing while waiting for your "big break" is still acceptable.

You can still quit your job and become a musician without everyone assuming you’re on too many drugs.

Arrest Records Don’t Count

Saying you were 25 and spent the night in the drunk tank slides off the tongue much easier than 35.

Because your twenties are for making the mistakes and your thirties are for having the money to bail your young, 20-something siblings out of jail. The other way around never seems right.

Living At Home Is Just Temporary

Living with your parents in your twenties is understandable and many times the smart choice. In your thirties, it’s just sad. Reaping the benefits of home-cooked meals, basement video games and free rent is just a perk of not being expected to have your life completely together yet.

Bad Taste Is Pardoned

You can have bad taste in your twenties because there’s still time to change. There’s still so much of life for you to experience, music for you to hear, food for you to try and fashions to be explored.

You are still growing, learning and molding into the kind of adult you want to be and people aren't judging you too harshly, just yet.

You Can Still Blame It All On Being Young

There is an expiration date on bad judgment. You can only call a bad one-night stand or falling for a scam a “learning experience” for so long before it becomes a mistake.

Your twenties are for turning all those misjudgments, wrong moves and blackouts into tales of caution and hilarious anecdotes you recall later in life.