Many a “walk of shame”. Weekends drinking and partying, heading out with short skirts and light jackets. Dating innocently – visiting my boyfriend’s university apartment and playing Xbox with his friends. Holidays I could barely afford and a trip to Paris eating bakery sandwiches for breakfast and lunch. Countless memories and happy innocence. But thank goodness my early twenties are over.
The freedom of youth
Some believe your twenties – early twenties specifically, count for the best years of your life. You’re finally an adult who can visit any club and drink till your heart’s content. You’re young enough to freely make mistakes. Every experience is new. You don’t have to consider babies, marriage or a suitable partner. Time is on your side.
I’d go out at night and return to work the next day looking and feeling horrendous. I’d become friends with people, simply because we liked each other’s outfits. My friends mimicked a bag of Haribo – wholly different. A couple of older women took me to expensive places in London to drink red wine, while my equally broke girls took me to pubs with cocktail deals.
One girl tried convincing me to join in a threesome with her non-committal boyfriend. Another had me get in a car next to people we’d just met, to a house party resembling a gathering. A yacht party in Miami, VIP entries and 6am dancing. What seemed glamorous and crazy fun, masked regrettable insecurity and bleak depression.
FOMO and life pressure
Your mid-twenties supposedly feel the most awkward. As this Elite Daily article suggests, you’re more likely to stay home to watch Netflix and invest in home decor, yet you’re not quite ready for a wedding. Around you however, friends continually say yes to proposals and begin travelling the world receiving career promotions.
Everyone is at a dissimilar stage and comparisons seem unavoidable. Though none of that matters to me, because I’m emotionally advanced. My early twenties are over and my dreams still need fulfilling, but I’ve taken the time to build myself. At 24, I took my health and fitness seriously. I lost a couple of stone and began eating plant-food daily. People commented and made snide remarks – “why can’t you just relax?”, “I’d love to see you eat normal food again”.
I stopped drinking frequently and became “uninteresting”. Close relationships slowly crumbled; love interests changed. Instead of worrying what every other person was doing, I did things for me. Started shooting with photographers, posing in lingerie (previously nerve-wracking). I’m undoubtedly happier now and look better. The fear of FOMO has decreased and in my sober state, life appears extra magical.
Perfection vs. reality
Does anyone know how to live through their twenties? Greatist produced a piece on the countless worries most encounter. In addition to being “snowflakes”, millennials get classed “boring”. In 2016. Grazia published an article on our young generation enjoying less sex, staying in and signing up to book clubs. We’re ultimately the generation obsessed with perfection.
We share advice on everything. How to organise to the last inch of your life; how to optimise your morning routine and work more productively than you know capable. Influencers post the most perfectly filtered images and upload daily diet videos showcasing salad galore. Even when people do admit to over-sipping on alcohol, they still manage to hold their glasses elegantly at 2am.
I had a wake-up call visiting Ibiza. Non-stop partying and social events for nearly a week. As I shared on The Style of Laura Jane: “It Made Me Change My Life”. I penned: “I think in order to work hard; we teach ourselves that we must perform until we are run-down and sipping Lemsip tea. If we have fun now, are we actually doing what we can to laugh in the next 5 or 10 years?”. I realised yes, we can and should have wild fun. We should screw up and continue to after our early twenties are over.
Early twenties are over – life isn’t
It’s hard to love your twenties when everyone is putting pressure on you. There’s always a young woman earning a three-figure income and buying a house you can’t afford to rent. Sex and the City reminded women they can go out drinking and dancing past their 30th. Life doesn’t have to make sense. I did feel sad at 21 and 22, wondering if I’d regret not going to university and feeling lost in my plans.
There are no regrets on my past – just moments I’m happy not to relive. I know now I can stay home and take care of my body, sometimes go out drinking; occasionally question my goals. The comparisons have gone and the fear of leaving my youth is behind. And for that, I’m glad my early twenties are over.