Thursday, June 23, 2011

Dumb in your 20s

I was looking for inspiration online for a blog piece about biological clocks ticking away (the tick tick ticking gets louder the more pregnant women you're around) and/or how to cope when a long term relationship ends. Somehow I stumbled across this article; which does not involve (or inspire) either. However, some of the points were too funny not to share (and hopefully I'm not the only one who has a "Oh crap! That's TOTALLY me!" moment of realization when reading. 
Enjoy. (My personal thoughts/feelings are italicized)

20 Dumbest Things About Being In Your 20's

Your 20s are just an extended period of adolescence with credit.

The only thing worse than being an awkward 13-year-old at a junior high dance with your own parents as chaperones is finding yourself a decade later, equally awkward, with no one at all to chaperone you through this weird new thing known as "adulthood."

While your 20s can certainly be exciting, they're not all they're cracked up to be. For the first time ever, you are left to make your own life decisions while battling the ever-present fear, crippling confusion and constant flow of failed expectations.

Whether you're 45 and can look back and laugh, or 25 and can giggle while simultaneously curled up in the fetal position, check out the following 20 dumbest things that inevitably occur when experiencing the "joys" of your third decade of life. –Tina Smithers, age 29

1. You discover that a college diploma doesn't mean squat:

Fact: More than 40% of college students graduate owing over $20,000 in student loans.

You're thrust into college at an age where you barely know your ass from your elbow, let alone what you want to do with your life. So you end up paying out the wazoo to study something dumb, like philosophy or religious studies, because it sounds cool. Four years later: Congrats! You have a nice piece of paper, no professional skills and thousands of dollars in debt.

This was my ultimate, "oy vey" moment of the article. Hey some of us like our religious degrees thank you very much. I may not be working in the "Religious Studies" field but it got me a gig in Higher Education somehow.

2. That darn "Quarterlife Crisis" hits when you least expect it.

Fact: The average age of those first diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder is around 25 years old.

That awkward, anxious, uncertain period of time that hits as you transition from adolescence into adulthood is known as the "Quarterlife Crisis" — a trendy term for the freak-out that comes with the realization that you, and only you, can accept responsibility for your decisions. I know I suffered from the QLC because I was given a book about it as a graduation gift, which I read thoroughly in between teary, frantic phone calls to my father and the occasional dosage of Klonopin. But no amount of drugs, friends, fancy cars or books can save you — you simply plow through this twentysomething purgatory as best you can. Though if you must, feel free to purchase Quarterlife Crisis: The Unique Challenges of Life in Your Twenties.

3. Dating is a joke.

Fact: Two-thirds of twentysomethings spend some time living with a romantic partner without being married. And then some of us lived with romantic partners before we even hit our twenties...but I realize I'm often an exception to the rule.

Dating doesn't exist in your 20s. If you're not busy hooking up with everyone and their mom, you're diving headfirst into a relationship with the first person who will put up with your sh*t. Unless you take the time to really get to know anyone (including yourself), and find out exactly what it is you want in a partner, you'll wind up in an unhappy relationship, battling your own personal Weinergate.

I've never been one to be "hooking up with everyone and their mom"...and I just ended a two year relationship (the first in many many years). So while I don't fit into their "theory" necessarily I still don't know what it's like to date in my 20s.

4. You don't take care of yourself in any shape or form.

Fact: In 2008, approximately 27% of people aged 18 to 34 did not have health insurance. Hooray for being damn lucky and having a job with benefits!

Note to Invincible Man: The chain smoking, heavy drinking and excessive amounts of sun exposure will catch up with you. Your Speedy Gonzalez metabolism will eventually slow down and you'll have to swap the pizza and beer for fruits and vegetables. And strawberry-flavored edible panties don't count.

5. The place you call home is no more than a disgusting, dumpy squalor.

Fact: One-third of people in their 20s move to a new residence every year.

Unless you're living with your parents, what little place you can afford is merely a step above a cardboard box that comes equipped with a couple of obnoxious, lazy a-holes known as "roommates." The dishes pile up and you refuse to clean, because you always clean, and hey, it's the principle. The good news is that when you do finally get your own place, you'll get to furnish the cockroach-infested squalor with hand-me-downs and plastic junk from Ikea!

And people wonder why I don't want roommates.

6. You're not as smart as you think you are.

Fact: A person's brain is not fully matured until at least age 25.

Just because you graduated from high school and you pay your own bills, it doesn't mean you have the world on your own personal brightly colored string. You may as well take your youthful arrogance and go invest in some diapers, because You Know Nothing, a fact which you will repeatedly be reminded of throughout your 20s.

7. You work way too hard for too little pay at a crappy job.

Fact: People go through an average of eight jobs in their 20s, more than any other stretch. Okay let's count....since I graduated college (because workstudy jobs don't count) I've had....five....six jobs.... Guess I'm right on track. lol.

Once you do choose a career you think you will be able to tolerate for the next 40 years, you have to start from the depths of hell. Whether an intern, an administrative assistant or somebody's personal slave, starting from the bottom isn't exactly glamorous. Sometimes you don't even get paid. While interning at a popular tabloid rag, I worked grueling hours for free, fetching coffee and transcribing interviews. The only thing I learned was how to avoid carpal tunnel. This is called "paying your dues," and it sucks balls.

To give credit those six jobs are about 1/2 were "crappy jobs" and the other 1/2 in my "career field"

8. You think you're fat and ugly.

Fact: Nearly 30% of people who got Botox injections in 2009 were under the age of 30.

You hate your big nose, butt chin, love handles, forehead wrinkles, etc. In truth, you look as good as you're ever going to look, so embrace it. And if you think you're fat now, just wait until you're a 50-year-old sloth with a beer gut and age spots.

9. You're broke, but you spend money on stupid stuff anyway.

Fact: We are the first generation not projected to do better financially than our parents.

You can barely make ends meet on your pathetic entry-level salary, so you sign up for a credit card. Having an emergency card is a nice thought, but applying for five credit cards is not worth the free coffee mug. I didn't get the memo and wound up with a coffee mug, some useless handbags and $8,000 in debt. The interest made it impossible to pay off, so I cashed out my 401K in order to dig myself out of the financial suckhole, and now I have no retirement savings. Lesson? The minute you start seeing credit as "free money," you're in trouble. It's easy to swipe but a pain to pay off.

I plead the fifth.

10. You have reckless sex. A lot.

Fact: 86% of unmarried people aged 18 to 29 are sexually active. Men and women in their 20s have among the highest rates of STDs out of any age group.

You're new to this whole adulthood thing, which is why you're so good at making bad life choices, like obeying your yearning loins when it's last call at the bar. So if you're going to express yourself sexually with half of Chicago, wear a condom. They help prevent the spread of sexually transmitted diseases, including the herp, the clap and the unwanted pregnancy.

Wrong. But then we've already established I don't "hook up" with people. Hooray for not getting STDs.

11. You still behave like a kid, so no one takes you seriously.

Fact: Most Americans believe that "adulthood" begins at age 26. So why am I 28 (and a half) and still don't feel like I've reached "adulthood"?

Blink-182 had a point: "Nobody likes you when you're 23, and you still act like you're in freshman year." What the hell is wrong with you? Much of the crud you pulled in adolescence is no longer acceptable in your 20s, but you're not an adult either, no matter how much you think you are. So in turn, no one really takes anything you say or do seriously. Sad face.

12. The dreaded draft could happen at any time.

Fact: In case of a national emergency, every male aged 18 to 25 must register for the Selective Service, otherwise known as the "draft."

We haven't used the draft since the Vietnam War because we have an all-volunteer military. But in the event that the government calls up the draft, the burden will fall on dudes in their 20s. So practice those squats and push-ups now.

13. You drink too much.

Fact: Rates of binge drinking are highest among those aged 18 to 25.

Young adults often seek reprieve from this tumultuous decade by drinking their emotions through a big plastic funnel. Whether because of stress, boredom, insecurity or simply the aching desire to get laid, twentysomethings get out-of-control tanked far more than any other age group. The onslaught of stupid beverages like Four Loko and silly get-sloshed-quick challenges (you've been iced, bro!) don't exactly foster responsible drinking, either.

OMG! No, no, no. I drank too much my freshman year of college...have lost a number of braincells because of it. A few months back a friend came to visit. I called the FB album of pictures "Hello Luke, Goodbye Liver" because we drank so much and I felt every ounce. Then this last weekend I had another friend come out. We didn't drink NEARLY as much, but still stayed out late...and I still felt it. I realized it's not the booze that I can't do anymore so much as it is the late nights.

14. You can barely rent a car, and if you do, you have to pay for your age.

Fact: In 2008, approximately 27% of all U.S. car crashes involved drivers under the age of 25.

You learn to drive at 16 — that's nine solid years of behind-the-wheel experience! Yet you are stuck paying insane fees if you want to rent a car and are under the age of 25, because apparently, you are not to be trusted. Then again, it could be because you drink too much.

15. You can't take back those stupid, impulsive decisions you make.

Fact: 36% of those aged 18 to 29 have at least one tattoo. Yea. So what?

Twentysomethings are fickle beings, so if you love Tweety Bird now, you might not love him at 40. Therefore, it might be best not to get the dumb yellow cartoon tattooed on your forearm, unless you've given it a lifetime of thought. I proceeded to get a large, emo-esque star tattooed on my wrist (see above) when my boyfriend and I broke up. Maybe I wanted to deflect the pain from my newly broken heart, or perhaps I was acting out, but either way, I can't help but wonder what the hell I was thinking.

Okay. Yes, I have a tattoo. No, it isn't of a cartoon character or other similar stupid image. No, I didn't get it because of, while with or after a boy. I got it because I wanted to. It's an image I know I can live the rest of my life looking at. It's an image I spent years contemplating before getting. And it's located in a place that won't stretch drastically with weight, age or babies. Sorry if yours is.

16. Your friends are jerks, and you neglect the important people.

Fact: Between the ages of 15 and 25 is when most people establish lifelong friendships.

Many of your buddies are suffering from their own mid-20s meltdowns, so in turn they behave like selfish, jerky turdheads. You don't really care, so long as you don't have to sit alone at the bar. Meantime, you often neglect those who really matter, who love you no matter what — your family and friends who stick by you through all the boozy blackouts, broken hearts and bad hair days.

If any of my loved ones read this and agree that I'm neglecting you. Please smack me upside the head. I have tried to 'weed out" the jerks and people just taking up space in my life so that I have time for those that mean the most. Hopefully I've succeeded.

17. Crazy, crippling, ridiculous insecurities are around every turn.

Fact: Of people 20 to 29 years old, 41% feel significantly pressured or have "almost more stress than they can bear."

Full of firsts (first job, first apartment, first raise, first bounced check), this third decade of life can come as a shock. Nothing (I mean, nothing) is ever how you plan it. You're probably not going be married at 25 and making six figures at 27. You might get laid off or knocked up or terminally ill. There's no way to tell, but you focus so hard on the destination, you miss the journey entirely.

Well, at least I know I'm not alone with my disappointments.

18. You're overly obsessed with social media and your imaginary friends.

Fact: 48% of 18 to 34 year olds check Facebook right when they wake up.

Facebook, Twitter and FourSquare — these are the only links to your old life, your friends from high school or college. You hang on to this time period desperately, spending more time than you like to admit voyeuristically obsessing over everyone else's seemingly better, more interesting lives. But no one posts photos of their breakup or that time they got fired. Their lives suck as much as yours does! Besides, most of these people aren't even your real friends

Can someone explain to me what FourSquare is? I'm still confused. I thought it was the game with chalk and a big red rubber ball we played in the street and had to dodge being hit by cars? There's an online version now? 

19. You're a whiny, spoiled brat.

Fact: Nearly two-thirds of young adults in their early 20s receive economic support from their parents. The number of twentysomethings living at home has risen by 50% since the 1970s.

Twentysomethings often take their parents (and everyone else around them) for granted, thanks to a false sense of entitlement because it is so haaaard being a young adult these days. So they sob into their smartphones and iPods and MacBooks, when they should really be slapped for being such silly, clueless tard monkeys.

20. You freak out over turning 30.

Fact: At age 30, you're older (and wiser) than 42 percent of Americans.

Attempting to survive your 20s can be so startlingly horrific, it would only make sense to get psyched about your 30th birthday, right? Yet so many twentysomethings obsessively dread entering this newer, gentler, kinder decade, when we should all take solace in the fact that the 30s are when the fun really starts. (Or so I hear.)

Nope. Not me. Sure there are things I thought I'd have and be doing (or done) by the time I reached 30 but I'm not freaking out about it. I'm not rushing to fill a void before life goes "downhill". I look forward to 30. I will be waiting there the eve of my birthday with open arms waiting for the older-wiser me.

Sources: NY Times, ABC News, NCBI, QuarterlifeCrisis.biz, LA Times, U.S. Census Bureau, Online Schools, CBS News, Hallmark Research, AAD.

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