No one likes you when you’re 23 – an original quote by me and not a band
Ha. Okay, so let’s not be too dramatic now. That’s not entirely true…. Some people will still like you when you’re 23. The real secret though? You may not like you when you’re 23. Not because you are like full of self-loathing or anything that sounds too teen-angsty, but more like life in general at 23 is sometimes not so glamorous, and after awhile that can just really fester into the deepest parts of a person.
No one really tells you what happens when you hit your *mid 20s*. I was led to believe from movies and tv dramas that your 20s were the best years of your life and I will agree… 21 was great. The best really. 22 was eh. The beginning was cool and then it really fell off the wagon after graduation. However, 23 has been fairly hellacious.
So, if they won’t tell you, than I will. I will tell you, during my 23rd year (I’m only 4 months in people) I got more comfortable with the carpet on my bedroom floor than I ever thought I would. There have literally been days that I got home from work and I simply could not bear to even stand anymore I was so sad/lonely/miserable/depressed, etc, etc. and I would fall right down to my knees and sob. Right there, on the carpeted floor in my bedroom.
Life is hard when you have no idea where it’s going next. Life is hard when you don’t feel like you’re exactly where you’re supposed to be, especially when it seems like everyone else is. Life is hard when you take one step forward and just a few months later you end up taking that step and about 4 more with it right on back. Life is hard when you work all week long for your paycheck and you still have to dip into savings, even with the strictest of budgets and cutting your cable bill entirely, in order to pay your student loans.
They don’t tell you that living by yourself for the first time is the most lonely experience you may ever be privvy to (full disclosure: my mother absolutely told me this I just thought she was exaggerating, as we tend to do with our mother’s advice, though they are always, always right.)
They don’t tell you that it is SO hard to make friends after college when there are not organized clubs and methods in which to do so.
They don’t tell you that after four years of working your ass off in school to get a degree you love and finally thinking your years of retail work are over, that they might not be- that even with a college.freaking.degree you still might have to work a part time job.
They don’t tell you how expensive paying for rent and bills are. That the loans that were supposed to get you that education that was supposed to get you that job that was supposed to ensure you never had to work in another fitting room again leave you so penniless that you find yourself applying to the minimum wage jobs you thought you were free of, all over again.
They don’t tell you any of this and then 23 smacks you right in your pretty, little face and you find yourself sobbing after an eight hour day right there on your carpeted bedroom floor. Now… that’s some shit ain’t it.
In your 20s, friends move to different cities and states and it’s nearly impossible to spend the amount of time with them that you want to. Time is fleeting and it flies by faster than ever. Relationships hit scary, landmark kind of questions that without the answers to leave you unsure of everything, only knowing it will break your damn heart if it’s not the answer you want. Dreams you’ve had since you were 14 wait for you to grasp them but things aren’t aligned just right and they are still out of reach. You watch others reach their dreams and can’t help but wonder, when will it be my turn?
But there are bright spots–
Even on a birthday I was dreading- the first time I have ever dreaded a birthday- I had co-workers that ensured it was celebrated with a happy hour after work, even though it fell on a Monday. (I TURNED 23 ON A MONDAY AND THAT HAS TO BE THE WORST OMEN FOR A BIRTH YEAR IN THE WHOLE WORLD). I had friends who, even though they were hours away, still sent cards and gifts and texts and Instagrams and whatever other social media post you can think of. And sure, it’s not ‘screaming the lyrics to “22” by Taylor Swift in a bar in your favorite, little college town’ kind of birthday, but it is something, all the same.
I am starting to enjoy my lonely, one-bedroom apartment more and more and find myself crying on carpeted floors less and less.
I’ve learned how to deal with things all on my own that I never would have thought I would have to deal with- like a mouse in my apartment (true story), even though I slept with towels stuffed under my bedroom door for well over a month afterward.
Ever so slowly, I have found that I enjoy my own company and don’t have to depend on another human soul for comfort.
I am learning how to budget, because ya girl can’t pull more out of savings than she already has to.
I’ve made convictions about the student loan business and I’d like a word with some exec somewhere. But I have convictions. That’s the point. I’ve learned to have them at 23 and to not be afraid to voice them.
I’m trying to remind myself every single day that just because one person’s time clock is set at 23 does not mean mine is supposed to be. I’m not sure when that time clock will strike the golden year for me, but it will when it is supposed to.
Being broke is one thing, but being broken is another, and every time I got back up from my carpeted bedroom floor I learned how to not be broken.
So my advice, if there is anyone out there reading this, even if you feel like it’s true; no one likes you when you’re 23 (which I highly, highly doubt), even if you feel like the world and God himself are working against you (which sometimes I did/still do), please know that you are not alone on this struggle bus that is your 20s. I take comfort in that, too. I think the real secret here, is that probably everyone in the history of ever has felt like this at 20-something. And what’s wonderful is that they all turned out okay, right? So why not you? Why not me?…..