TSSF- Twenty-Something Shit Fest

For the love of God! I don’t think I’ve ever been this depressed before! This has to be the lowest I’ve ever felt in my entire life! I am so unbelievably lost and lonely right now! My brain hurts and my heart perpetually aches! I don’t think it can get any worse than this!

Just when I think my twenties have reached the pinnacle of patheticness, I flip through my diary and am surprised to discover the same sentences, word for word, written every couple of months for the past five years.

What the fuck?

Have I been this whiny for awhile now? Or do I just have a pension for exclamations and dramatic adjectives like most girls my age?

Can someone please explain to me why during the most exciting time in our lives, we are positively convinced that we’re doomed to a lifetime of soul-charring careers and vapid relationships that culminates in a house filled with an array of pets named after our favorite soap stars and a refrigerator covered in pictures of other people’s children? Jason and Melissa’s adopted Taiwanese toddler with a $50 haircut and Iggy Pop t-shirt waves at you every time you go to the fridge to grab another tub of cream cheese and mouths, “Look! You don’t even have an Asian baby with a faux hawk!”

Can anyone please explain why our decisions feel so permanent, our loneliness so detrimental, and why we feel like we’re running out of time? We all know it’s silly to feel this way, that these problems really aren’t that severe, but try telling that to a twenty-five year old who can’t hear anything because her head is so far shoved up her ass.

The Twenty-Something Shit Fest (otherwise known as the “Quarter-Life Crisis”, though will not be referred to here out of copyright and overly-used cliche concerns) doesn’t suddenly show up on your doorstep with a flaming bag of dog shit the day you turn twenty years old. No, typically at twenty, you’re still in college, maybe have a “serious” boyfriend or girlfriend, spend Mom and Dad’s money on entertainment and beer (or on DVDs starring Crispin Glover and dessert wine), and only an iota of the responsibilities and worries you will have in a couple of years. TSSF rears it’s ugly head usually when you’re about twenty-one, newly legal, out of the institutional bubble, and into the real world.

Then the fun really begins.

You jump onto dodgeball field with grit and vigor.

“Ha! This is easy!” you shout as you coolly thwart off any ball that comes your way.

Suddenly, the balls start to drill in faster and harder. Some start to hit you in the face, then the vagina. You assure your friends and family on the sidelines that you’re fine, that you can handle this, but you begin to wonder if there is machine gun of balls being shot at you. A tooth gets knocked out, then a black out. You start mumbling “I’m fine.” over and over, while you try to raise an enthusiastic thumbs up to the crowd. It isn’t until you wake up one morning next to an empty bottle of Stoli and the words “When will this end?!?” written in lipstick on your mirror that you realize that maybe this has been difficult for you.


It’s truly awe-inspiring how dramatically one’s life changes in the short period of time that is your twenties.

In my twentieth year I was a college junior on her way to finishing her degree in film. I had a long-term boyfriend who I figured I was stuck with forever, dreams of becoming a screenwriter in New York City or Toronto (what?), only a cell phone bill to worry about and no freakin’ idea what I was in for the next few years. My twenty-first year found me quitting school, moving to Los Angeles for a personal assistant gig, leaving my boyfriend and family, and diving face first into muck of Hollywood. Ok, this is where it gets good. My twenty-second year found me fooling around with a married producer who treated me like a $40 whore, racking up credit card debt in order to survive, working fifteen hours days, and drinking myself to sleep on Friday nights by 9PM (not before calling all my friends to tell them “I’m sorry” for no reason). My twenty-third year found me going to a psychotherapist to take control of my life, learning to tell myself I’m taking control of my life when I really wasn’t, accumulating a lot of interest on my credit card debt, and still working fifteen thankless hour days. My twenty-fourth year I began doubting everything (Am I pursuing the right career for me? Am I living in the right city for me? Am I drinking the best vodka for me?) and became increasingly unhappy at work. At this point I had a series of failed mini-relationships that made me question whether dating the opposite sex was the smartest choice. My twenty-fifth year found me leaving my career, wandering aimlessly around Los Angeles trying to figure what I wanted to do with my life, deciding to move to another city then changing my mind, working at an anti-war non-profit organization for validation, deciding on moving to another city then changing my mind, deciding to focus on my writing, and ultimately jumping in my car and driving east on route 10 to Austin, Texas to find some answers. Why I thought the meaning of my life would be unearthed in Texas is beyond me.

So what I have I learned in the first half of my twenties? No matter where you go, there you are, writing the same crap in your journal as you did yesteryear. I’ve learned that this life isn’t going to get any easier. I hear good things about your thirties, but that waits to be seen. I’ve also learned that all of us are in the same boat- the U.S.S. Narcissism and that everything I’m writing about it quite simply…normal. Gasp! That’s the last thing my vintage-wearing, fake eye-glass sporting, Woody Allen referencing ass wants to hear!

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  • Reply k. link. October 16, 2008 at 6:34 am

    haha. balls hit you in the vagina.

    look out 30, i’m running full speed ahead to your open, loving arms.

  • Reply Andrew Ryz October 22, 2008 at 8:57 am

    i just wrote two completely different mini-novellas as a comment here, trying to suggest i had something to offer as someone who has put their twenties to bed.
    i have scrapped that all and i now say that each little phase of life does seem to me a great opportunity to make mistakes that you won’t then have to make later in life. mistakes and painful decisions, breakups, hangovers, debt, etc. are the greatest teachers we have.
    don’t think the view from the thirties back on the twenties is much different from looking at your teens from your twenties. we always think we’re grown up. i’m curious to see what i think about myself in another ten years. we’re clowns all the way through.

  • Reply Molly Lambert May 21, 2009 at 10:34 am

    hey guess what. you are awesome.

  • Reply Jill Lee August 21, 2009 at 3:08 pm

    You say it so much better than I can in my blog! Towards the end of college you worry a little bit about the coming years, but once you're thrown into them…all Hell breaks loose and no one can really prepare you for it.
    I love your blog!

  • Reply unitqm August 21, 2009 at 4:49 pm

    Have I really been reading your blog for over a year now?

  • Reply Lauren Modery August 21, 2009 at 5:05 pm

    jill- thanks for the compliment! that made my day!

    unitqm- haha, no you haven't been reading my blog for a year now, but close. i wrote this last summer, but posted it earlier this year. haha. how are you???

  • Reply That Chelsea Girl™ August 21, 2009 at 6:01 pm

    It's where 35 and 45 meet in Round Rock…Austin annexed a bunch of the freeway up there, that's why it's still able to be in Austin 🙂

  • Reply Judearoo August 22, 2009 at 9:50 am

    Bloody good post!

  • Reply withthejoneses August 22, 2009 at 2:11 pm

    My little blogger mama : )

  • Reply JennyMac August 23, 2009 at 10:01 pm

    this is great! My first visit to you so I shall return.

  • Reply Emily August 24, 2009 at 6:06 pm

    I'm pretty sure I've said, "This is the worst year of my life," every year since I turned 22 … I hope to god the future is listening, realizes it's already given me the worst year of my life and stops throwing them at me … or maybe I'll learn to accept what comes – nah! probably not!

    Great blog – first time here, looking forward to reading more!

    Hope Texas is treating you well.

  • Reply nicopolitan August 24, 2009 at 6:33 pm

    Ah, the Roaring 20s.

    Maybe having the same gripes as you did before suggest a kind of consistency of character. If a trait is innate, you'd have to work really hard to change that.

    But who says you should?

  • Reply Lauren Modery August 24, 2009 at 6:58 pm

    Judearoo, JennyMac, and Emily- thank you so much for the kind words! That means a lot!

    Nicopolitan- I would agree with you, however, all those emotions went away when I moved to Austin, TX. I haven't even felt an iota of what I wrote in this post since moving here. I really think it was just L.A. 😉

  • Reply NOTSOMARYPOPPINS August 25, 2009 at 4:25 am

    if your ever feelin' shitty go to the broken spoke and ask if pinetop perkins is there, then see if his awesomeness can give you some perspective (he's like 100 yrs old and thats a lot of perspective)……….at least thats what i would do if i lived in Austin! thanks for stopping by my blog, and all the kind words! i really enjoy your writing as well! a good shit-fest is hard to find……… 🙂

  • Reply Tennyson ee Hemingway August 25, 2009 at 5:54 am

    I loved this post. Took me back twenty years. You're gonna love your thirties. But I'm sorry to say, it doesn't get any easier. You just care less.

  • Reply withthejoneses August 26, 2009 at 1:06 am

    My first follower : )

    If you build it they will come?

  • Reply Darlaness August 26, 2009 at 6:49 am

    Awesome post. It reminds me of a film called Shirley Valentine (1989) you should watch it-if you haven't already.

    love your writing.

  • Reply Organic Meatbag August 27, 2009 at 12:00 pm

    Nice post… yeah, take it from me (I'm 35), you are in the prime years right now…it does only get harder from the mid 20's on…enjoy your youth, but by all means, save your money!

  • Reply Kara October 26, 2009 at 10:44 pm

    Oh my goodness you sound just like me!!!

    I stumbled upon your blog after Googling "best part of Portland for a want to be hip twenty-something to move to" because I am at the stage of deciding to focus more on my writing, and moving to someplace else. Oh, and in the last week I've re-kindled the long-term relationship I ended 2 years ago, and I can't move to Austin because the married soldier/music producer I was dating lives there… but I still might. I just won't tell him… but the bar tender last night said I would like Portland better.

  • Reply Shahid Mahmood Butt December 17, 2009 at 11:19 am

    nice approach to the bitter realities of life.

    congrats! being a "Blog of Note"

  • Reply Kylemation December 17, 2009 at 4:06 pm

    One of those blogs where you begin reading, nod your head at the conclusion of each paragraph and think "Shit, yeah, damn straight" – good read =]

  • Reply thatgalkiki December 17, 2009 at 6:47 pm

    Just wait. It only gets better. And worse. And harder. And Easier. 🙂

  • Reply Kelly December 17, 2009 at 7:46 pm

    I appreciate your perspective, most likely because it resembles my own. I'm only 21, but i've had a head start on my repetitive, negative, often self-destructive mantras. I honestly hope you find peace, if nothing else. I hope we both find productive ways to fulfill our lives.

  • Reply mysterg December 17, 2009 at 8:03 pm

    You know what the secret is? It's not about navigating the icebergs but how you respond when you hit one.

    That was a lesson hard earnt by me. Kipling had it right:

    If you can keep your head when all about you
    Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
    If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
    But make allowance for their doubting too;
    If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
    Or, being lied about, don't deal in lies,
    Or, being hated, don't give way to hating,
    And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise;

    If you can dream – and not make dreams your master;
    If you can think – and not make thoughts your aim;
    If you can meet with triumph and disaster
    And treat those two imposters just the same;
    If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
    Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
    Or watch the things you gave your life to broken,
    And stoop and build 'em up with wornout tools;

    If you can make one heap of all your winnings
    And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
    And lose, and start again at your beginnings
    And never breath a word about your loss;
    If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
    To serve your turn long after they are gone,
    And so hold on when there is nothing in you
    Except the Will which says to them: "Hold on";

    If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
    Or walk with kings – nor lose the common touch;
    If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you;
    If all men count with you, but none too much;
    If you can fill the unforgiving minute
    With sixty seconds' worth of distance run –
    Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
    And – which is more – you'll be a Man my son!

  • Reply mysterg December 17, 2009 at 8:04 pm

    Oh and nice to see you're still about Tennyson. I've missed reading you.

  • Reply Maureen December 17, 2009 at 9:09 pm

    Haha, I'm 26 and knee deep in the twenty something shit-fest. We'll see how it goes the next 4 years…

  • Reply inflammatory writ December 17, 2009 at 9:12 pm

    I'm 28 and I thought it would be easier by now. In many ways, it is. In most ways, it isn't.

    I'm weirdly looking forward to the 20's being over.

  • Reply Briasmama December 17, 2009 at 9:16 pm

    ah you said it, I feel like I just read my own journal and had flashbacks of my early 20's, having just turned 29 next week, adding a 3 year old into the mix, it sure as hell doesn't get any easier, you just start realizing…it is what it is…god I hate the phrase!

  • Reply Overseer Bochicchio December 17, 2009 at 9:53 pm

    Visit a great blog for political satire: It's new and awesome….Persuading? I think so


  • Reply TheBlogger December 17, 2009 at 11:44 pm

    i get this , sometimes i'll read an old journal and see that i've repeated myself A LOT and the things I've repeated are pretty much what i based that year around .

    anyways , I just wrote a new blog so everyone check it out :] it's AbsurdBlog

  • Reply Alex Mangie December 18, 2009 at 12:02 am

    About sums up how things have been, I find myself saying a lot of those things. Great post!

  • Reply tee December 18, 2009 at 12:23 am

    So about 3 sentences in I was totes about to leave the page because I got the feeling "ugh, this chick is about to start boo-hooing about her depressing life which is in actuality not that bad." (Yeah, I'm insensitive. So what??) But I stuck around since I'm not a quitter and I'm glad I did. Normally I come here strictly for laughs but today I left with something more. (Awwwww!) I'm 21, recently moved to NYC, and I like to pretend that my life is so much more bitchin' than the next person's. But it's not (always). Sometimes I'm effing depressed and lonely and I effing wish that people would stop asking me what I want to do with my life because I really I don't know. All I know is that a margarita is like 800 calories so I totally can't eat anything else today because I plan on throwing back 1 or 2 or 7 of those later tonight.

    …Um, oh yeah! What I was saying was thanks for reminding me that I'm not alone and that the feelings are normal. 🙂

  • Reply CompletelyLost December 18, 2009 at 3:22 am

    I am new to this blog thing… But I have to say I find you refreshing, yeah there are people all over the place who feel they way we do, but often they do not open up about it. I have no one to talk to about these things that isnt going to say "oohhh its going to be ok" or "your just going through what everyone is" Okay well help me out here! Tell me to suck it up and stop being a bitch and the world doesnt revolve around me… I think everyone needs that. You seem pretty awsome!

  • Reply Adrienne Hadaway December 18, 2009 at 5:40 am

    Wow. I’m in the same small, rickety boat. I'm 25 as well but do not want to wait and see if my 30's are awesome. I've decided that the second half of my twenties will be awesome even if things don't change one little bit. Maybe living in a shitfest isn't so terrible. And hey, if it makes you feel any better, you are far from normal.

  • Reply Jesse Oswalt December 18, 2009 at 6:48 am

    I've never liked dodgeball. : /

  • Reply Metal December 18, 2009 at 6:52 am

    Loved your post! I guess we live the golden years of our lives hoping for things to improve , only to find out its a downward ride from there on!

  • Reply kat December 18, 2009 at 7:03 am

    To be truthful I had a period that was rather lame-tastic when I was 17. Though now I get a shudder when I look at my old poetry/journal entries, it seems embarrassing to me, even if no one is around to read it. In a phrase, I getcha.

  • Reply Hannah Miet December 18, 2009 at 9:16 am

    Like Andrew, I wrote a few mini novellas in response to this, but deleted them because they were far from bestsellers, and far from coherant enough to suit as a response to your beautiful honesty.

    The crux of each one was really "I feel you."

    I have too many notebook pages about being broke, lonely or trapped in the same relationship pattern where someone relies to heavily on me for survival. My notebooks travel in circles, cycling through my twenties, moving forward yet arriving at the same conclusions.

    But we are moving forward. And furthermore, we're surviving. Against odds, sometimes. Despire seedy hotels and unfulfilling jobs and move after move after move. We haven't lost our skin. We're survivors with stories to tell. Stories that are entirely captivating and different, despite the common thread of desperation.

    I feel priviledged that I get to read yours, to know your perpetually aching heart (exclamation point!) even in a small way.

  • Reply SANEGO2000 December 18, 2009 at 11:05 am

    Good Work.


  • Reply The Pryor Spot December 18, 2009 at 4:53 pm

    I think I just fell in love with you through this post.

    I'm 27, on the verge of 28 and life is, as you said, a rotating, repetitive shit storm of "coulda, woulda, shoulda's" and a never ending dream of 'what should have been'.

    I've turned to writing as well, just started my first blog with a friend and hope that it will spark some interest.

    Look forward to your future posts and hope that you will do the same with mine.

    Keep your head up, in the end it's not all that bad. Ok it is, but at least it's a fuel to ignite the writing fire.



  • Reply EcoGrrl December 19, 2009 at 10:47 pm

    all i can say is the 30s fucking rock. i think the day i turned 30 it was like i finally saw the trap door to escape the truman show. much much MUCH to look forward to, girl.

  • Reply pinksundrops December 21, 2009 at 9:41 pm

    Ugh. It hit me at 25. I'm pretty sure I'm where you were at 24. I'm glad you found Austin and Austin is finding you.

  • Reply wittysaint December 22, 2009 at 6:05 pm

    hi 20 – 30 are the years of anyones life which is going to give lessons in reality which we may not have encountered in the past or would not have noticed,so take thing in the stride and dont get carried away by good or bad lessons either way take them as your foundation for years to come .always think everything as….. what ever has happened is for the good and what is happening is also good and what will happen in future will also be good.

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