Change has been a reoccurring topic of mine lately. From what I have experienced thus far, your twenties is a very tumultuous time as the world revolves around you and you move from an awkward pre-adult into full-fledged adulthood. Responsibilities shift, your social circle changes, and it’s often difficult to keep a firm grasp on who you are, and what you want. This is why many relationships are either cemented or broken in that gap between college and “real life”—you’re becoming a more solidified version of yourself. You, 2.0.
With that in mind, I had a very coming -of-agey weekend. One of those times you know you’re always going to remember fondly. I’m already nostalgic for it and it’s only Tuesday morning.
I kicked the weekend off with a major surface change– I chopped off 13 inches of my hair in hopes of appearing more like a lady and less like a lady-child. It’s ironic that I hoped shorter hair would make me look a bit older, because the last time I rocked a short cut I was 9 years old.
On Saturday night, I threw a birthday party for my boyfriend P, an event I had been anxious about for a few months now. The party went really well; P was really pleased at all the friends who came out to see him, even with much of the city still in post-Sandy turmoil. Episodes of Planet Earth were projected onto the wall throughout the evening, giving us a background as we talked and laughed and played several epic games of sloppy Twister. Friends stayed into the wee hours of the night—always a sign that everyone is having fun. There were several different groups of people there, college friends, work friends, childhood friends, etc., and many had never met each other, yet everyone seemed to enjoy one another. Overall, I was ecstatic to see my guy happy in an apartment full of people who are crazy about him. It was one of those evenings where hours seem to move both fast and slow, and I spent it wandering from room to room in a sweet, sticky kind of haze.
At some point, I found myself laying on a bed with one of my close friends, C. It was around 2:30 in the morning, and we were a bit inebriated. The party marked P’s 25th birthday—an age that no longer allows you to deny the fact that you’re technically an adult. This seemingly Big Number sparked a sloppy heart-to-heart about growing older.
We realized that if on Monday we told our roommates or friends about the party, they might think it we had a pretty fun weekend. Maybe they would even wish they had been at the party. And ten years ago, their reaction would have been much of the same. However, ten years from now, if I were to tell my pals that I spent the weekend drinking until 4 am and climbing out windows to shiver on smokey fire escapes, they would probably raise an eyebrow. Everyone knows that awkward mid-to-upper thirty year old who never really got over their college frat party days. In fact, if I were to spend my time doing that in even five years, it may still seem a bit juvenile.
I couldn’t help thinking how in ten years, the people who filled the room on Saturday night will be buying houses and settling into careers. No longer will we be living paycheck to paycheck on entry-level wages or spending our Saturday evenings standing in a dirty kitchen eating laced peanut butter. The whole “when I’m a grown up” thing always seemed so far off…but I am slowly coming to terms with the idea that it’s actually a lot closer than I realize.
Now don’t get me wrong, I am excited for the future and all it will bring with it. But it’s scary to think that what once seemed so far away is approaching, and approaching fast. And it’s scary to think that something that once seemed like an ideal night (drunken rounds of Twister) will one day seem ridiculous and juvenile. I already eye-roll my own behavior back in college, when everyone would gather in a cramped dorm room to drink before heading out to a party to drink… This was called “pregaming.” Hey guys, let’s all get together and drink before we drink! That’s normal, right?
Sunday morning, I woke up and cleaned the litter of cups and beer cans from P’s apartment. The friends who had been too drunk to make it home woke from their various stations on the floor, and we all went to breakfast. After our bagels were finished they dispersed, leaving P and I to spend the next five hours walking around Brooklyn, stopping for coffee, checking out flea and farmer’s markets, and talking intermittently about scary Big Future things.
It was a stunning, sunny 65 degree day that felt more like June than November. This was a startling temperature change, as this time last week, we were prepping for a huge storm—the second in less than two weeks. Within 48 hours I went from scarf-wrapped and shivering to trolling Prospect Park in a t-shirt. And all the hand-holding and talk of the Big Future got to me. At one point I was so overwhelmed by the sweet loveliness of the day, in both climate and spirit, that I pretty much burst into tears on the sidewalk like a total loon.
The point of this rant is that things happen wether you’re ready for them or not. Hurricane Sandy was certainly a reminder of that. Much of New York, and my family in Connecticut, was without power. Many had damage to their homes. I spent the week holed up in a fully powered Brooklyn apartment watching movies on a projector screen with a man wearing a bear hood, and for that I felt both lucky and a bit indulgent—as I often do.
Change is a’comin, and we all feel it. We have more responsibilities, and some of the more eager of us are already getting married, and having planned babes (as opposed to the “oopsie” babies of yore.) Most days, I still feel absurdly young and naive—no haircut will change that. But every now and then, I start to glimpse bits of future. I know as I grow, the people I know now will scatter, moving for work or marriage or climate. I will stay in touch with the important ones, but not all. The time we spend together as a group will become precious, events too few and far in between, with moments purchased from babysitters who we will call several times throughout the evening, “just to check in.”
I am just about halfway through my twenties, and so far I have found it to be exciting, confusing and downright messy. Although I am excited for the next phase of my life, I plan to spend the next five years blacking out on linoleum floors so I can get it out of my system. JUST KIDDING MOM.
Really, while I know I will always look back on this sloppy period with fondness, I am sure a part of me will be glad when it’s over. I look forward to the time when I won’t have to tell my friends I have something “super important” to do early the next morning, because they all give me shit what I tell them what I really want to do is stay in on a Friday with tea and a book and maybe sex my boyfriend. According to them, I can sleep when I’m 30.
So what about you? How are/were your twenties? How do you deal with change? How did you make out after the hurricane? I wanna know!