5 Times When I. Just. Literally. Can't. Even.

by Kim Quindlen

I'm 23 years old and I have no idea what's going on.

I don't know what my place is in the world, I don't know what I want to do with my life, and I don't know how to feel about Giuliana Rancic. Thus, the phrase "I can't" has become my best friend.

Every girl has her own way of saying it. Maybe you like to go with "I can't even" or just a simple "can't" if the subject isn't even worth your time. However you enjoy it, the growing popularly of using the phrase "I can't" is the greatest thing our generation has contributed to the world. (Other contributions include North West, selfies and the Amanda Bynes meltdown, so clearly we're right on par with the Baby Boomers.)

As a directionless 20-something trying to navigate through life (and to the nearest Taco Bell), the phrase "I can't" has become an absolute necessity in my daily vocabulary for reacting to some of the situations common to a girl my age.

Here are five of the many situations in which I just literally can't:

1. Being Hungover

Any self-respecting hot mess has had that day when you wake up, stumble to the bathroom and have to give yourself a judgmental once-over in the mirror before realizing you're actually staring at your own reflection. Some of you probably have that moment every single Saturday and if so, there's no shame in that.

However, at the ripe old age of 23, I've lost my college-aged ability to roll out of bed, crack open a beer and continue to embarrass myself in the daylight. Instead, I find myself wallowing in bed all day, while I inject bacon grease into my veins and unsuccessfully try to magically command my computer onto my bed by yelling, "Accio MacBook!"

At 23, when I'm hungover, I just can't even.

Gone are the days when hangovers were something mythical and make believe, like unicorns or Kristen Stewart's heart. Now, as a semi-adult, hangovers are real and scary. Tasks like taking a shower or being a functioning person are just too much to handle. When my friend texts me and says, "Last night was ridiculous," all I can respond back with is "I can't."

I really just can't — unless it's brunch, of course.

2. Dealing With A Terrible Job

I'm hard-pressed to find someone in my general age vicinity that absolutely loves his or her job. If you know someone who loves his or her job and — even worse — tells everyone else how great the job is, then do the rest of us a favor and punch this person in the face. It's hard enough trying to find your place in the world as a young 20-something, but having to also find your place at a job you hate is the worst.

It’s time to say goodbye to the four years of shameless drunkenness, a diet that resembles that of Honey Boo Boo's mom and getting 14 hours of sleep a night. Now, you have to work for 10 hours a day in a world where snow days and syllabus week don't exist. It's a hard adjustment, especially if it's the type of job that you don't feel is right for you, but just hang in there.

When your roommate asks you how your day was and your response is "I literally can't," you don't have to feel bad. We're all new at this, we all hate working and we all just can't right now. You're not alone.

3. Talking About Successful People

We all have a person in our newsfeed who constantly reminds us that we're worthless. His or her statuses usually sound something along the lines of, "Officially got a raise and am making $60,000 more a year than you are!" Maybe not those exact words, but similar.

The hard part is that it's impossible to stop stalking this person. Stalking him or her is like crack. It makes you feel so horrible that you literally have to keep going.

A successful 45-year-old isn’t bothersome; it's normal that this person can afford to go shopping every weekend and eat fresh meat and vegetables every night for dinner. He or she doesn't make the 23-year-old who ate a croissant dipped in pasta sauce for dinner (on three separate occasions last week) feel bad. (I'm obviously talking about a friend, not myself.)

All I can say about successful people who are my age is "I can't right now" because it's the only way to get through your 20s -- to just accept that you can't obsess over someone else's success because you need to focus on your own life.

4. Looking At Pictures Of Kate Middleton

This shouldn't need an explanation. She's flawless in every way — the Duchess never, ever has an unfortunate photo snapped of her.

"How is she so perfect? She looks like she weighs 110 pounds!" I think to myself as I eat my fifth munchkin from Dunkin' Donuts.

Every girl in her 20s is supposed to be a walking mess (right?!), so when I see such a perfect lady carrying around the little chubby cherub, I literally can't.

5. When Someone Posts An Annoying Caption On Instagram

If you are feeling good about yourself on Friday night and you post a picture of you and your bestie, good for you. If you're on vacation and you have an amazing view that you want to share with us, fine.

However, if you post a picture of anything and the caption is along the lines of, "Having a great time! #fun #happyhour #friends #friendlyhour #margaritas #skinnymargaritas #thighgap #thigh #gap #drinking #alcohol #followme #hashtag #drunk #drinking #drunks #drinkingdrunks," I will cut you. Stop it, just stop.

All around the world, cranky 20-somethings are screen-shotting this caption and sending it to their bffs, and their bffs respond with "can't." Instagramming is fun. It's the easiest version of false modesty, in which you can upload an old picture of you and your sister on her birthday to look caring and sweet, while really, you just want everyone to remember how skinny you were when you were 17. I get it.

We've all been there. Just don't make me read a million different hashtags because I can't even.

Photo via MTV