Choking on my Twenties
As of late, I’ve been lost. Lost in the sense that I want to drive and drive and drive to nowhere in particular, just to get away from here. I feel as if I have no direction, no path. Let’s just say, I’m not where I thought I would be when I was 14. I’m now 20 with setbacks that include a mental breakdown, various health problems, and three moves. I haven’t gotten to where I want to and it feels as if I never will.
I remember the easiness of being a kid. Playing in the yard, riding bikes as the sunset fell behind us. There was a lake behind our house and we’d throw rocks. It would snow and we'd slide down. I don’t even care that my parents divorced anymore and why we moved states away. You were able to go up to someone and be friends, just like that. Boys were gross, but maybe I thought my classmate was cute. I was fun, carefree. I could ride around in a car with the window open in the backseat, not thinking about anything but the moment. What was the rush in being grown?
The past few years all I’ve heard is, “This is the greatest time of your life,” and maybe because I’ve only been 20 for a total of three months, I can’t say it’s true. I’m making minimum wage, I write for some websites (for free, by the way), and I go to a local college for my A.A. I right swipe each douchey Tinder guy (unless they have gym pictures, any type of camo or confederate flags, any scary weapons and/or girls in their profile pictures) because it feels as if no one else is there. I remember when that was for fun, just to see who I would encounter, not actually thinking about dating. But here I am, still brokenhearted from an ex turned friend-with-benefits turned stranger, with a local job, attending a local school with passions and ambitions too big.
My older sister reminds me it’s only the first year into my twenties. It’ll get better. But this journey of growing up is tough. She reminded me of her own rocky twenties and how there’s no manual to look through. No map to tell which way to go. Which friends to make or not make. No handbook on how to approach the dating world. Nothing on how to make it through college without breaking down while also passing all your classes. Moving out and taking control of your finances. Supporting yourself.
This quest for finding myself and what I want sometimes doesn’t seem worth it. The crippling anxiety and depression takes over and I feel so unsuccessful. I do thank whatever higher power there is for Fleetwood Mac’s “Landslide” because, after 20 years, I finally understand it. Fleetwood Mac played in my house for ages and the mystifying words never made sense to me. I just knew I loved it. But now as I leave my parents, grow older, handle each season and sail each wave (big or small) of my life, I wonder who I’m trying to be. I’m not successful right now, but I will be. I’m getting older. I’m making my own manual. And even if screw ups occur on the way, I can backspace. Backspace and re-do it again. And maybe, one day, I’ll be able to look back at my reflection and be okay.
By Lauren Demers, 20