The Most Fun Years of Your Life Are In Your 20s (But You Won’t Realize It Until Later)

The future is yours. You can do anything.

When you’re twenty, there are so many possibilities. School. Amazing jobs. Travel around the world. Living abroad. Getting married, having a family. A lot of it seems elusive to you, but you know eventually that you will write and publish that novel, you will get that degree, you will have an awesome, meaningful, well-paying job, you’ll have friends, a great social life, a nice house.

In the meantime, you are just figuring everything out. You go to school and complain about papers and pointless tests, and trudge to work and roll your eyes behind your boss’s back and say, “When I leave here, I will never…” Weekends are spent at sticky dive bars (places whose appearance under floodlights would horrify you), and 4am finds you clutching a piece of pizza on a wilting paper plate in one hand, the other in the air, frantically waving, trying to hail a cab. Every once in a while, someone will do something out of the ordinary, like run a marathon, or get married, or join the Peace Corps. Everyone will celebrate and have a party and discuss the details and then forget shortly after, because after all, everyone is the most important person in their own world, so let’s go back to focusing on that.

You won’t realize how you’ve grown up until it’s too late. Suddenly, you’ve become the “daughter without the baby” and your frequently-rejected novel sleeps in a folder on your hard drive, and you walk down Bedford Avenue or Rivington Street on a Saturday night and think, “I’m too old for this.” You think back to days when nights like this would be possible, and you remember some atrocious “fashion” you thought you could pull off and you did, but you’re not sure how. Those days of dreams. You can’t remember when they changed; it’s like how one day you suddenly realized that Grandma no longer slipped you $5 every time you saw her. You were now an adult.

At thirty, you are aware that you can’t get drinks for free as much anymore, that you use eye wrinkle cream even though you don’t have any lines there, you talk about saving for a house one day for you want one and those who own one often make you feel woefully inadequate, “You are still living in an apartment in a city?” You are aware of one thing: you are truly an adult.

Show your support

Clapping shows how much you appreciated Cheryl Yanek’s story.