– And it’s time to open up about it.
(FYI, there’s a beautiful video from a lovely individual who probably explains it significantly better than I, click this link to watch it).
Being in your twenties, I’ve recently concluded, is an experience I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. You spend your entire teenagerhood popping yellowheads, fighting bullies, crying, eating as much as you want, crying, sitting on park benches with boys who randomly poke your labia at random intervals while asking if ‘you like that?’, crying, crying, and crying some more. Then, a spectacular thing happens; you finish sixth form, you have months of summer to find yourself before uni (or an apprenticeship, or a full-time job – if you’re a lot more spend-savvy than us uni dossers), and somewhere along the winding path, you turn twenty.
Time to say auf wiedersehen to daily breakdowns, adios to moodswings, au revoir to acne; and a well-deserved hello to economical freedom, nurturing relationships, and an automatic immunity to feeling awkward and third-wheelish at house parties…
…is a total fucking lie.
No, really. Last week’s drunk version of me crying along to Starships by Nicki Minaj is testament to what being in your twenties is really like. It’s horrendous. Okay, so teenage acne isn’t a thing anymore. But what about ADULT ACNE?! Sure, you can tell yourselves that being at uni is a financially freeing experience, filled with new friends, good times, and even better memories. But what about when you’ve spent the entirety of your student loan on Malibu mixers, Chicken Cottage and a package holiday to Mallorca with all your friends and you find yourself relying on your parents’ goodwill?! Of course, in theory you shouldn’t be as socially awkward at house parties as you were when you were fifteen. But what about when you’re locked in someone’s toilet, crying your eyes out, asking strangers if they think you look gross?!
And it’s worse – because you’re no longer a teenager, you have no excuse to fall back on. You start to become a lot more aware of how totally screwed the world is; which may-or-may-not have anything to do with your ever-increasing viewership of BBC News as you venture further into adulthood. Suddenly, you’re re-sensitised to bombings, stabbings, legalisations and damning legislations, elections, vote-rejections, political stalemates, climate change, animal welfare and state warfare, Trump, May, Merkel and Putin all-in-one strange, narcissistic sandwich of shit… and you start to realise you have absolutely no significance in any of it.
You quickly become convinced that the massive Coronary brewing in your arteries from pure stress is definitely going to kill you before Global Warming even comes close. Top that off with endless written assignments, multiple deadlines you know will definitely not get finished in good time, stop kidding yourselves, add on ten points if you’re part of an oppressed group, and you’ve well and truly entered the first stage of adulthood.
The world isn’t going to stop revolving just because you’ve got a bit of head fog. It’s like that one Billy Joel song; we didn’t start the fire. It was always burning since the world’s been turning. It’s completely merciless, and our twenties are all about adapting.
So… how do we adapt?
We do the one thing that Brits often find impossible; we open up. For the sake of our own mental health, we need to be able to identify with other people’s problems, and live safe in the knowledge that we’re not alone. A lot of us are thrown in at the deep end with no training; not waving, but drowning. We need to look for the lifeguards. These lifeguards can be your IRL friends, your internet friends, your family members… anyone currently experiencing, or has experienced life in their twenties. Grab a coffee, or a mojito; and talk. About politics, relationship troubles, Anxiety, general mental health, inequalities, injustices, work, uni, sex, parties (even sex parties, if you fancy)… share each other’s stress.
Being in your twenties is a fucking rollercoaster ride. It’s Stealth, or one of the other Thorpe Park ones. I wouldn’t know. I hate rollercoasters. I’ve also never been to Thorpe Park.
The point is, it’s a rollercoaster for everyone. Effects of stress can be terrifying if you feel like the only one experiencing it. But I’m here to say you’re not. Neither are you losing your mind.
Or maybe we’re all losing our minds.