|your standard moody twenty two year-old self-portrait|
Yesterday I turned 28.
Because of this, I’ve been finding myself hurling unwanted advice at young people lately.
When you’ve almost made it through your 20’s in one piece, you feel that you’re obligated to let younger people know that it will all be ok. That all the questioning and confusion and bad decision-making will get better.
That is assuming that everyone was an early twenty-something messbag like I was.
That they spent the better part of their 21st and 22nd year drinking alone in their West Hollywood apartment taking pictures of themselves drunk in the mirror and typing horribly structured journal entries that started with phrases like, “Why won’t someone hold me?!” or “The right side of my face feels numb, but I’m ok with that.”
That they would randomly break out into a cascade of tears at dinner with friends for no reason. Then excuse themselves from the table and disappear for three days.
That they would call their parents at 2AM while pacing the house going, “I think I’m losing it. I think I’m losing it. Am I losing it? I think I am. TELL ME! TELL ME IF I’M LOSING IT! I DON’T KNOW ANYTHING ANYMORE!!!”
That they decided to go see a therapist at 21 just to deal with all the bewilderment, but not tell the therapist that they were taking Zoloft that their mother had given them, and would routinely go and purge themselves at Soup Plantation after every visit.
That they would have Rain Man-esque jiggles when an anxiety attack was imminent that startled their co-workers and small animals.
I used to write about my early to mid twenties a lot. In fact, my blog was birthed from that time in my life (aren’t all blogs centered around quarter-life crises?) Granted I’m only five years older than I was then, but I already feel like I’ve lived 100 lifetimes. That I’ve shed many skins to get closer to the person I’m supposed to be. My 20’s have felt like a whirlwind of trial and error and self-discovery…and they’re not even over yet.
I’ve never been a person to plan my future, but when I was younger, I used to think, “Ok, by 25 everything will start falling into place and by 28 I’ll have my first success.” This was all in relation to being in Los Angeles and in the film business. By 25 I would be working at some production company on my way to becoming a producer or writer and by 28 I will have made my first project. None of it worked out that way. When I look back, I realize that I did not fail at my plan at all, but instead reinvented it. Instead of staying in show business, I left it completely at 25. I packed up and drove to Austin with no plan and started fresh. Now at 28 I feel confident in my journey to becoming a writer, I’ve met a wonderful gentleman who makes me smile, and I have less public freak out moments (instead they happen quietly at night in the form of cold sweats and rocking).
At 23 I never imagined that there would be a day things made sense. At that age you think you’re stuck that way forever, in a perpetual state of drooling, shivering, and staring off into space. You don’t think the day you would find your way is even possible.
I’ve in no way completed the challenge that is your 20’s, but I feel that I’ve finally sailed on past the quarter-life crisis era. Everything is falling into place and instead of being terrified about the home stretch to 30, I’m enjoying it.