Life isn’t easy. We know that now.

As twenty-somethings, the reality of adulthood and responsibility is very much an everyday thing.

We no longer fantasise about growing up and moving out of home and getting a shiny university degree.

We’ve been there, done that. We know it wasn’t what our favourite teen dramas chalked it up to be.

Moving out of home is really just code for living in a place that isn’t truly yours and navigating the many loopholes of real estate renting.

It’s getting crafty with decorating in attempt to hide the hideously cream walls. It’s finally understanding why your parents complained about power usage and staying in the shower for too long. It’s being put under a microscope during inspections and negotiating whether the handle broke because of you or because it was a shitty old handle.

Then comes the financial side. If you’re lucky, you understand the value of money and saving it. If you’re like me, you took a few years to *truly* grasp why having a rainy day fund is important (think: unexpected deaths, ridiculous vet bills, cars breaking down – all the fun stuff).

Your early twenties then becomes a pilgrimage to becoming financially secure. You’re expected to know about superannuation and life insurance and home and contents insurance and just about every insurance under the sun. You weigh up how often you get sick vs how much you want to pay a private health fund. You pray to the Universe that you won’t need any major surgery in the coming years, because you’d rather put that money towards a holiday abroad.

Tertiary education involves a lot more assignments than you expected. The student inside wants to shack up at the library and get shit done, whilst the social butterfly wants to go to parties and drink shitty alcohol and make some friends, goddangit. It’s during these years that you learn to work hungover and lower your expectations and take advantage of student specials.

We’ve haven’t even started on relationships.

Dating apps are suddenly the norm and the chances of meeting “the one” at work ala 500 Days of Summer are very unlikely indeed. Coffee shops and book stores aren’t an opportunity to meet like-minded people. They’re places to escape, to get your fix of caffeine or literature and go about your day.

Every now and then, fate will place you next to someone lovely in the stacks, and you’ll have a brief movie moment where you comment on the book they’ve been holding and exchange a few recommendations back and forth. It’s glorious. You wonder if you’ll become friends. You probably don’t.

Then there’s love. We barely love ourselves and yet we’re hanging our hearts on the line for a glimpse of something meaningful. The chances of a first date resulting in marriage are very slim (hell, the chances of a good ol’ fashioned first date are slim) but you wonder nonetheless: is this the person for me? Are they my soul mate, or just someone I ate pizza with once?

Your twenties are supposed to be a magical time, and for the most part, they are. But they’re also fucking hard and confusing and you spend a lot of it swimming in the deep end. There’s no manual or current advice, and you’re expected to share regular updates and highlights to an audience that hosts only 3% of people who actually know and speak to you.

A lot of mistakes are made, and tears shed. You learn some whopping lessons, and understand the importance of having genuinely good, loyal people in your crew. You learn just how strong you are, and that you can handle whatever shit gets thrown your way.

You get to 24 and start reflecting on your twenties like you’re some kind of phisopher. You realise that 24 is technically still apart of your twenties, and that you haven’t even passed the halfway mark yet. It feels like a lifetime ago that you turned the big 2-0 and suddenly entered a new phase of being.

Oh, what a time it’s been.

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May 6, 2019

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