In the last few days, I’ve stumbled across at least five articles entitled “things all twenty-somethings should know”.
And I’ve hated all of them.
It’s not just that they’re patronizing, or saccharine, or written by someone who is sickeningly smug in the knowledge that one day we’ll all end up as jaded as them. It’s also that they perpetuate this whole growing-up-fast-is-cool thing. I don’t mean to get all sociological, (particularly since I know nothing about sociology), but I’m not sure I like this trend. I’m not sure it’s healthy. Life is complicated and messy whatever age you are, so why is the next phase of confusion better than the current one?
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not all pro-stagnation. But I am 22 years old. I quite like the idea that, at 22, I’m going to act and think like a pig-headed 22 year old. Yes, I know, you older, wiser people have made your mistakes and you want to help me avoid them, or at least guide me through making them myself without doing too much damage. But will you please stop calling them mistakes, because I’m twenty-fucking-two, and they’re conscious decisions, okay?
In the spirit of embracing my age, here is a list of all the things I am proud to say that, in my early twenties, I do not know:
1) How to make a pie/jam/non-lumpy gravy (or any gravy at all). I can make a mean Pimm’s cup. That’s quite skill enough to tide me over to my thirties.
2) What a credit score is. Though I’m pretty sure I don’t have one.
3) That my body will suffer the consequences. Lesson from a friend’s mother that I’ll never forget: “If you don’t wear a bra, eventually, your boobs will sag. So go bra-less now before they do.”
4) That I’m going to regret my tattoos. Because I’m not. Ever.
5) That the most valuable part of a friendship is mutual support. No it’s not. It’s how much crazy mischief we can get into together.
6) That my feelings aren’t sacred, and don’t have to be indulged. Um, repression is like the worst thing on the planet, so obviously I’m going to let it all out. If you think I’m being rude, I’m sorry, but I can’t help the way I feel.
7) That you can get real enjoyment out of a comfortable chair and the simple sight of a smile. Yeah, if the chair is in 1OAK and the smile is about to take me home.
8) How bad drunk sex is. Because it’s a million times better than awkward, clunky, “oh.. er… can you move that limb?” sex, which is the only other option, right?
9) What the meaning of life is. Because there isn’t one. Duh.
10) That “little and often makes much”. What a stupid saying. If I want much, I’m going to get much and have it right now.
11) That, really, bad boys are bad news. Who wants good news if it’s boring?
12) How many other people have exactly the same thoughts and feelings as me. I don’t mean to make like Obama and claim exceptionalism, but I am pretty damn unique.
13) How good I’ve got it. When I wake up hungover and alone on the sun-lounger pad I have instead of a mattress, and realize there’s nothing in my fridge but half a cucumber, life sucks. Don’t you dare tell me kids are starving in Africa.