Listen. Everyone’s been there, will be there, or is currently there. The empathetic there to which I’m referring is that scary, depressing place called Your Mid-Twenties. You know, that time in your life when you survive on homemade sandwiches, self-harm by way of Facebook stalking your friends who are “already successful,” and begin to question this whole idea that you should be passionate about your job. How about a gig that allows me to afford name brand shampoo? That’d really do it for me at this point.
Here are a few suggestions for getting through these dysfunctional years that we’ll one day look back upon with wonder as to how we ever took for granted our wrinkle-free faces, children-free schedules, and money-free jobs (<— see what I did there?).
I know I talk about wine a lot. If ever I drink enough that I’m regularly irresponsible or embarrassing, I’ll stop raving about it so unabashedly. Until then, I’m giving wine every bit of praise it deserves. Wine can get you through a lot. I’m not saying to drink until you forget (that bullet point would be called “tequila”), rather have a glass or four until you are good and relaxed. Your heart rate low, your emotions high, and leaning on your old friend named Cabernet Sauvignon. He will listen to you, I promise.
2. Less-trashy reality television
Please don’t watch Jersey Shore spin-offs or anything that revolves around partying, fighting, or babies getting spray tans. Rather, find a show that inspires you to get off your butt and stop thinking that your capabilities peak at figuring out how to alphabetize a column on Excel. A few recommendations: Dancing with the Stars, The Biggest Loser, and MasterChef Junior. I know, I know- I shouldn’t be promoting TV-watching, but it beats scrolling through Facebook to see who did something more exciting than you this weekend. Especially if you’re watching obese people run five miles, a woman with cancer dance the Rhumba, or an 8-year-old cook a ridiculously complicated Beef Wellington.
3. Find a gay best friend
This is the least offensive, most practical, and best advice I will ever give you. For the two or three men out there that read my blog, just skip this paragraph. I know you’re skimming anyway. Gay guys are the best of both worlds. They’re guys- so they are excellent cuddlers with insight to the male psyche. At the same time, they are boldly loyal, tirelessly sympathetic, and undoubtedly aware of the best brunch deals around. Also, I’ve never had someone pump me up quite as successfully as a gay man. You’re down on yourself? Prepare yourself for a catalog of why you’re the hottest, fiercest, most wanted girl in town. Not only are they great cheerleaders, they’re awesome at making you feel needed. Gay men tend to be open- probably because they’ve learned to be very comfortable with themselves during the coming out process, so they’ll ask for your opinion, voice how much they miss you, and let you in on their deepest, saltiest thoughts. For once, your voice is heard over the loud mid-twenties grind!
4. Walk more
I’m way less depressed about my looming car insurance bill when I am breathing in fresh air, safe from white walls and computer screens. I, like every normal person on earth, hate running, so I won’t tell you that it will make you happier. I’m sure it would, but walking seems like a much less aggressive piece of advice. Even if it’s just to Harris Teeter to pick up your Lean Cuisines- stop getting in your car to drive a quarter mile. Or if you’re in a city, stop making the Chinese man come to your door. At least go out to get your General Tso. Get off the train a stop earlier, take a phone call outside…you get the idea.
5. Stop believing that spirituality is awkward
Trust me, I’m fully aware that we’re mostly exposed to three types of spiritual people: a) The overzealous, completely unrelatable Christian on Facebook who openly condemns you for your love of wine, gay men, and most of the things mentioned above, b) The quote-loving yogi-type whose flexibility allows them a sense of enlightenment that your corpse-like limbs will never let you reach, and c) angry atheists who are really, really mad at said Christians and yogis. Now, pretend none of those people exist. What do you believe? If it’s the Bible or the Quran- great, now what does it say? Will you do what it says? Do you want to read a history book about its validity? Maybe research something you weren’t taught growing up? Try praying. Try meditating. Try going to church. Try going to a temple. Seek. You will find.
6. Don’t text or drink and drive
Especially at the same time. This is how you survive your mid-twenties. Literally.
7. Don’t take Facebook seriously
I don’t know about you, but I’m fairly certain that every person I know is engaged or pregnant. If they’re not, they have glamorous jobs as a fashion designer or news anchor, so who cares if they’re single. Also, everyone seems to have a lot of friends, nice clothes, and an awesome sense of humor. But that’s why I wrote this blog. I know for a fact that my Facebook friends with expensive new boots, stunning engagement rings, statuses that read “I’m so grateful to love what I do every day!”, and pageant crowns on their heads (sound familiar?) are not, in fact, exempt from feeling like their worlds are sometimes falling apart. How do I know? Because they’re in their mid-twenties.
Take the bus
Friends are important in this rocky stage of life. I mean real, live, in-the-flesh friends with whom you can laugh, cry, eat, and compare angst-filled stories. Facebook friends ≠ actual friends. Unfortunately, your actual friends probably live a considerable distance away by the time your mid-twenties roll around. Taking a plane to visit them would cost somewhere around your entire paycheck, and train tickets are equivalent to two weeks’ worth of groceries. Driving has its own set of issues like gas, tolls, and parking- that is, if you even have a car (New Yorkers hear me). Option #4 is the bus. Megabus. Peter Pan. Greyhound. DC2NY. Bolt. American Lion. Lux Bus. Have your pick. We’re talking about a $25 ticket from state to state. Life is too darn short to sit in your apartment every weekend, thinking about your office crush and having a wine date with your friend over Skype so that you’re not technically drinking alone. If they live 2-5 hours away, go see them. Yes, charter busses may feel like breeding grounds for who knows what kind of terrifying diseases, but it’s a good thing you have the healthy immune system of someone still in their mid-twenties.