Tag: Narcissistic Twenty-Something Lament

“Mom, I just don’t understand,” I said, the phone nestled against my ear, millimeters from the tub water. “I’m living the life that I always thought I wanted, but why do I feel like there is something missing?”

I wanted to let the phone drop into the water, hold my breath, and pull my head under to see how long I could hold it for.
Under water, everything stands still for a few seconds.

Instead, I let my mother reply with her heartfelt motherly response; a response she’s given countless times prior. Ever since I turned 20 years old.

I pulled the phone away from my ear and held it towards the window. Her words bounced off the pane and dissipated into the air.

I already know there is no real answer to that question.


I remember the day it all stopped making sense.

It was the day I moved to Los Angeles.
It all began on the first year of my new decade in a new city.
Start line go.
Forward movement that sputtered with an untightened axle.
The feeling of dancing on wobbly feet through the streets of a wobbly city. A city that danced the same child-like dance.
And each year, the tango became more and more impetuous.
The decisions more desperate.
Drunken journal entries explained that I never understood it was part of the game. That what I was feeling was normal.
But how could it be normal?
Everything I have always known to be right and true was suddenly not.
Adults broke my heart.
The pedestal that I kept raising higher and higher, until I could no longer see what was sitting on there, came crashing down around me.
My foundation was set off by the knobby, old roots that struck through and had their way with me.
If life was going to get harder, then I would change. I would become easier.
I exited the city where the journey began, for a new spot to curl up into.
“I’m just an animal looking for a home”.
And the road became less bumpy, the puzzle pieces started to fit together, and all the cliches started to make sense.
So I thought.
I’ve only come to realize that it will never truly make sense.
There will be many moments of clarity, but the picture will always remain hazy and off in the distance.
New experiences will happen time and time again. You will fail. You will succeed. You will feel unbridled joy and unimaginable pain. You will be good at your job. Maybe you won’t know what the hell you want to do until you’re 50. You will meet someone you want to spend the rest of your life with. Maybe this person doesn’t love you back. You climb to the very top of the corporate ladder. You get laid off. You get married to someone you maybe didn’t love as much as another. Maybe you live with someone that you never grow tired of waking up next to. Maybe you’ll start your own company. You will have a child. Four children. Maybe you can’t have children. Maybe you will get divorced. Maybe your spouse will die. You will lose all your hair. Maybe you’ll get fat. Maybe you’ll live in that 4,000 square foot house like you always wanted to. Maybe you stay home to take care of your aging parents. You’ll get sued, win the Nobel peace prize, go into the Army, get arrested, save a life, almost drown, invent a special fry cooker, start a non-profit organization, go to psychotherapy, adopt a rescue dog, never know how to be a good parent, travel the world. You’ll long for somewhere you once lived, or have never been. You’ll dream about your first love. Maybe you will die at 40 of a heart attack. Maybe one day you give up. Or maybe you will live to 100, your life full of love and happiness and you will ease on understanding that it’s all ok.
I pulled the phone back to my ear just in time to catch the end of my mother’s reply.
“It never gets easier, Lauren. You just learn how to deal with life.”

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  • Reply Sarah February 15, 2010 at 5:35 pm

    Such a beautiful lament. And so true.

  • Reply Christopher February 15, 2010 at 5:41 pm

    I love the end, the back and forth. Exciting and terrifying, just like life. Just have to keep telling myself to focus on the exciting.

  • Reply The Mad Hatter February 15, 2010 at 5:51 pm

    Very well stated.

  • Reply Hipstercrite February 15, 2010 at 5:53 pm

    @Sarah, @Christopher, and @The Mad Hatter- thanks for reading and commenting. I really appreciate you taking the time to do that.

  • Reply T!nK February 15, 2010 at 6:07 pm

    That's beautiful. That last part is pretty much me. All of it. HAHA.

    Life's an Adventure.

  • Reply Poetry of Flesh February 15, 2010 at 6:34 pm

    Gorgeous. This is probably my favorite post thus far.

  • Reply The mad woman behind the blog February 15, 2010 at 6:37 pm

    Sucks growing up, doesn't it? I highly recommend this book: facing 30 by Lauren Dockett. I've read a bunch of times (I'm also in denial about my age!)

    And I agree 100% w/ your mom.

  • Reply bard February 15, 2010 at 6:42 pm


  • Reply KeLLy aNN February 15, 2010 at 7:14 pm

    "What a long strange trip its been"
    "No trips without a tripper"

    Reading your post got me to thinking back on my past years. I'll be 43 in april. Thats a lot of past. lol

    I don't know that it gets easier, I just know that the older I get, the more I can distinguish between what I really want, and have the wisdom of years to help me decide.
    It all starts with a decision.
    Some were easy: College Major
    Some not: Want a Daughter, Might have another Son. But can't have either if I don't get pregnant.
    It worked out.
    The biggest obstacle removed: That not all my Dreams are Meant to come true.
    Dats CooL. Because so many more do.
    Being the person that I am, I pick the vibe thats the most groovy.

    You'll get it figured out, "}

  • Reply Hipstercrite February 15, 2010 at 7:17 pm

    @T!nk- THANKS! (You know, you just reminded me that I should include, "go off to war")

    @Poetry of Flesh- Thanks for that.

    @Mad Woman- Haha…thanks for the recommendation. I've definitely read my fair share of twenty-something books (My favorite being, "It's a Wonderful Life". I will check that one out!

    @Bard- Thanks, Bard

    @Kelly Ann- "Dreams are Meant to come true.
    Dats CooL. Because so many more do" I really like that. Thanks for your thoughtful comment. It really hit home.

  • Reply Elle February 15, 2010 at 7:46 pm

    So (painfully and excitingly) accurate. Yeah, well done.

  • Reply Tocalabocina February 15, 2010 at 8:47 pm

    This is fantastic, what you’ve written here. I find myself going back and forth ceaselessly between being excited at the fact that I have no idea where I’ll end up, and scared-to-shit that I’ll still be unsatisfied there. Back and forth between feeling lucky to have never, really, had my heart broken, to cheated, at having never, really, been in love. I don’t know whether to envy or pity the people who think they’ve got it all figured out, career, spouse…satisfaction? The mystery of my future-self is enough to both make me giddy and give me an ulcer. You’ve put my anxiety into words rather well; rather beautifully. Cheers for that.

  • Reply Christina In Wonderland February 15, 2010 at 9:26 pm

    That's very true. Hell, if we were all where we wanted to be and doing what we thought we would be doing ten to fifteen years ago, the world would be great, but shit happens.

  • Reply the eternal worrier February 15, 2010 at 9:35 pm

    That’s a great piece of writing. Life’s all about choices don’t you think. Sometimes we pick the right way, sometimes the wrong. I think that’s what I love about reading other peoples blogs. That someone half-way round the world has the same insecurities and worries as we all do.

  • Reply rae February 15, 2010 at 9:38 pm

    Your mom is a genius. (Nice post.)

  • Reply Grant February 15, 2010 at 10:28 pm

    “Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.”
    -Dr. Seuss

    "Less thinking more drinking."

  • Reply Randall February 15, 2010 at 10:59 pm

    Good post. I hope your mom's right. I'll admit, I think some of us might never learn how to deal.

  • Reply Heidi February 15, 2010 at 11:02 pm

    Oh young lady, I love your writing. The truth of the matter is (as if I knew that).. like some of your posters have said.. shit happens. I am learning that you can find something to be grateful for no matter the shit… but it's not all shit anyway you know? And if you spend your time agonizing about what you did that was good or bad, or if what you want to do is good or bad.. lordy you will find yourself very tired. So go forward knowing you're doing your best, at being happy, at being sad, at growing up, at growing old.. and know that in all of it you love yourself first, and that makes everything else possible. God, I sound like I smoked something funny no??

  • Reply Seattle Kim D February 15, 2010 at 11:41 pm

    Well said.

  • Reply Maria Elise February 15, 2010 at 11:50 pm

    Please keep writing! I love reading and relating from afar.

  • Reply That Gal Kiki February 16, 2010 at 12:23 am

    "If my life wasn't funny it would just be true, and that is unacceptable." Carrie Fisher.

    Love your mom. Love you.

    PS: You will never believe me (so I must email you the photo), but I do the SAME one-lip-turned-up face. So cool.

  • Reply Stephen K February 16, 2010 at 1:23 am

    And THIS is the reason I keep following you. It genuinely touches me when I read a post like this which is so honest, so beautifully and carefully crafted and which I can (all too well) emphasise with. Though it starts to get old no matter how well it's intended, your mum's completely right. It is just the way life lets loose on you, and the only way out is to survive it. To weather the storm and not lose our smile along the way.

  • Reply cjschlottman February 16, 2010 at 2:11 am

    As usual, a wonderful post. I'm old enough to be your mother, so I know how she feels, but I'm still young enough at heart to concern myself with the same issues as you. I'm 61 and starting my life over and in many ways, I am just as 21 as you are. Keep writing, dear Lauren. Just keep writing.

  • Reply Mr. Condescending February 16, 2010 at 2:27 am

    Who the f*ck wants to live in a 4000 sq ft house? Might as well live in a closet.

    Kidding, I loved this post too. I thought hipsters didn't bathe. I kid, I kid again.

  • Reply Katie February 16, 2010 at 2:39 am

    I'm so glad I stumbled upon your blog. Like everyone else, please keep writing. I'm nearing 37 and somehow have decided to start freaking out about 40 because I like to get a head start on things. I like the lists of maybes…

  • Reply Don February 16, 2010 at 3:22 am

    You can write. Simple as that. Kick arse!

  • Reply WILDasaMINK February 16, 2010 at 3:38 am

    You summed up everything I ever think about my own somewhat train-wreck of a life…and you did it well. I like your mom's final words on it, she's probably right. Mom's are usually right.

  • Reply M February 16, 2010 at 4:03 am

    Jesus Christ. This is one of my favorite things you've written. I just love the whole paragraph with "maybe you'll do this/that" etc. Brilliant.

    Also, Ive heard a lot of this recently. This whole "it never gets easier" thing. Sigh. I'm trying to get really good at accepting that. It makes life much more enjoyable, I find. Isn't it also really nice knowing there are lots of other people who have gone through or are currently going through this shit?

  • Reply Stel February 16, 2010 at 9:45 am

    This was really good and so so true. You write amazingly well. But oh how I know the feeling of not quite knowing where we're headed.

    Lovely blog btw – I only just discovered it.

    Stel xx


  • Reply Freelance Pallbearer February 16, 2010 at 5:38 pm

    "Maybe one day you give up."

    Sigh. Maybe.

  • Reply The Fresch Klesch February 17, 2010 at 2:46 am

    i disagree that it doesn't get easier . in fact when you know who you are what you want, what you can and cannot do, it gets easier every day and yes you do learn how to deal with it better . but like a fine wine, i get better the older i am!

  • Reply Colleen February 17, 2010 at 5:53 pm

    Beautifully written. I deeply enjoyed your prose on discovering a new city. I am sort of living that experience right now.

  • Reply Christina -; June 19, 2010 at 9:50 pm

    just reread this one…it's so beautiful, I find myself going over your list of 'maybes' in my head sometimes when I need to make an important decision – it puts things into perspective!

  • Reply Nick Laing March 23, 2011 at 5:16 am

    simply awesome spiel.

    you have a wonderful mind :like:

  • Reply Lauramc March 23, 2011 at 2:28 pm

    This is phenomenal. This is real. This is humanity. Maybe I'm not alone as I feel sometimes. Maybe everyone's scared like me.
    Thank you.

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