About the time you turn twenty, your head begins to go round. You feel acutely that you are no longer a teenager and that you are obliged to embrace a new lifestyle with new behaviors, new attitudes and approaches. To some people it may look like an easy task, but it is a false impression – it’s dead easy to mess things up in a big way.
Your entrance into the twenties is heralded by gaining total freedom: now – the main thing, probably – all the drink in the world is yours. You can lead an absolutely independent life in your own place where there’s no-one to order you about and remind you about your house chores. You can bring in whomever you like – no objections raised, no questions asked.
This is the bright part; the dull part is responsibilities. These start to pour in in the form of bills, morning alarms which call you peremptorily to get ready for work, stacks of dirty dishes that no one will wash but yourself. While there’s no-one to pick at you, your shortcomings will be dealt with by bosses and policemen, not your parents. You have to respond to anything that is going on around you.
While you are trying your best to adjust to this stressful and cluttered period in your life, you inevitably slip. Once, twice, it doesn’t seem to matter, and you allow the slips to accumulate. Then it can become drastic. Here are some mistakes common to this unnerving period.
Immersion in dreams
You cannot really get away from your dreams, and when you turn twenty you’re full of them. But, as your life progresses, your dreams begin to lose their glitter and gradually fade away into what they are: foolish, empty bubbles.
You have long been fed with ideas that you can choose any vocation you fancy, that you will make your dreams come true for you because you can do it.
Now you begin to feel doubts whether this can really be true. There will be optimistic support for a while when your inner voice will be telling you that it will be all right next time, you will get rich and you will be recognized for your true worth. But it’s not for long. The time will come when you tell the voice to shut up for good, forget about all your dreams and start from a blank page.
The notion that your potential can take you anywhere
One of the gloomier sides of the newly acquired independence is the necessity to keep afloat financially. Well, as you look around you see a great deal of possibilities – and it really should be not so hard to land something suitable and fairly pecunious. Not to mention an appreciation of your personal skills and abilities.
So you open your laptop and start searching for a job that should be there somewhere, the one that looks just right for you. It will take you a few hours, maybe less, to discover that there is no such job, and you have been rummaging in sheaves of useless information, totally inapplicable to you. And meanwhile your self-satisfaction has left.
There is that retail chain open call you can fall back on, about the only thing that looks possible, though it’s only $6 per hour; all right, you may as well try it. Turning up for the interview, you find a line of applicants and several hours of team-building exercises to bear. Having tired you out, the HR asks you a lot of questions, some of which are deeply psychological and some attempting to reveal your enthusiasm about retail. You begin to suspect you’ve failed your interview, and go on to learn that you are quite right.
Omitting to pay the bills
So, mail is not only for your online orders and cards from old-fashioned relatives – mostly it’s for those letters which you open eagerly at first expecting some pleasant surprise, but what you get is a printed piece of paper demanding payment. That’s the mail you’re going to get a lot after you have turned twenty.
Or, if it’s not a bill, it’s some other silly document reminding you that you are now in the possession of very little money – also not a pleasant message at all!
So now you know that pizza and coffee on your table, the fresh air in your room so unlike the heat outside, the sitcom theme issuing from the flat screen on the wall, they mean money, money and more money!
The first thought that follows this stunning discovery is, better leave all that stuff unopened. It’s for the super-human to deal with it.
You’ve yet to learn about collection agencies, shut off services, bad credits and other adult things.
Debts you run on your credit card
When you’re busy making a list of things you want to get almost immediately and finally realize it’s a bit problematic, here comes your friend with the news that she’s got a new wonderful credit card. With your head in a whirl, you stop by your bank and make inquiries. Yes, it appears that they can give you a slip of plastic that means money and purchases just for asking, and right now. Glad that there are miracles in this world yet, you jump at the chance and sign up.
Here you are now, set for a shopping spree of your life! You can get everything and anything for the fun of it, and you don’t care whether you really need all those items you pile onto your shopping trolley. You show to others how you can splurge in a firm belief that the bank is always there to back you up, and there’s nothing to fear.
Years will come before it will stand out clear that the golden time of your life was just so much illusion, not worth your while when you think of it seriously, and the bank’s joy was more lasting than yours.
Running home for the comfort you lost
There used to be a time when you believed you had it all taped out, and if other people who are in their twenties keep complaining about their life, it’s their fault. With you it will be completely different, and you will be having the time of your life.
Then, of course, the grim truth of adulthood gets you in its grip and leaves no room for pretending: no-one’s really interested in you, no-one thinks you’re special. The boss and the landlord are among the worst offenders, they are not inclined to smile and tell you that what you said was cute. When you come home in the evening you can do nothing but wallow in self-pity.
You want to get back to the magic land of your home, to your very special parents! You rush home as soon as you can for a delicious home dinner, sympathetic ears and a cozy bed. You recount the tale of your hardships to your dear mom and dad, they respond saying what hard luck and it’s a shame and other useful things. It’s music in your ears, your wounds get healed and you can face the cruel world again.
Believing Facebook stuff
What is a good time to take a selfie? When you go to a festival with your friends and dress up for the occasion? When you look good in that sport outfit and decide to go jogging once in two months? Certainly not when you are having stomachache and have to spend hours lying down.
Yet you don’t think about it as you set about browsing people’s Facebook profiles. They are all happy, laughing and enjoying themselves so much that it can be almost unbearable at times! But this is only what they show. It’s no use comparing your life with theirs. Selfies are worth only so much, and if a person gets busy making photos it can mean that they aren’t as engrossed into whatever’s going on as they pretend to be.
Getting involved in serial dating
OK, jobs are a difficult subject, but when we come to dating, it’s different. You feel like you had wings, you’re young and practically irresistible. So are the men you come across. You can pick and choose, try this, that and even that other. It’s ineffably enjoying!
It isn’t until you have got so many all these let-me-know-you-better talks that you begin to feel it’s more work than pleasure. Besides, so many of these talks lead nowhere – you lose the thread, and this is it.
They fail to get in touch after that one good talk, but it’s also you who let them vanish from your mind, and you don’t want to call them or text them. You’ve grown out of that particular kind of fun and you tend to having longer and more satisfying relationships – something that will have a continuation.
Falling into the Jägermeister trap
Now that you’re round the corner you can get into alcohol seriously. Gone are the times when you had to make do with what your older friends or neighbors deigned to sell to you. You start investigating, discover all kinds of liqueurs, aperitifs, learn some unusual names, and then your scope widens enough to include a German something-special brand named Jägermeister.
The stuff is black, viscous and sweetish, and as it gets into you you begin to lose your bearings and float into situations and happenings beyond your control. When you come round questions begin to crowd in your consciousness about what it was that hit you, what put you under so effectively.
Your wondering leads you straight to the doctor who listens to you with a knowing look nodding along the way, then asks you sweetly if you had been drinking Jägermeister and in what quantities. You confess, dissolve into tears, and the doctor prescribes you some mild sedative.
And when two or three parties later someone asks you if you would like some Jägermeister, you nod in agreement before you realize what is happening.
Walking off a headful of drink
Hey, you’re young and you want to have fun, so every party is thrown just for you and you must needs go there – and see it through until there is no earthly doubt that it’s finally time to leave for home.
The night is not young, but in your present state, buoyed up by uncountable shots, you don’t give a damn, everything’s fine, and the idea to walk home seems attractive. You’re undoubtedly up to the feat, so you play your favorite playlist and put one leg in front of the other, enjoying what examples of life you will see on your way.
The houses look mysterious in the streetlights, the few people you see provide good watching entertainment, the air is fresh in your nostrils – life just can’t be finer. What a happy decision that was!
Then, slowly, it begins to dawn on you that your feet feel leaden, you are tired out, the music in your ears has gotten irritating – in a nutshell, you don’t know where you are and you’ve got a terrific hangover!
Eating without moderation
A serious asset of being in the twenties is that no-one watches over your meals. There are so many delicious dishes, and, naturally, you want to give them all a chance. Your metabolism sends you signals to the effect that it doesn’t feel up to the task, but you tend to disregard them. Then the waistline starts to expand, and you feel obliged to react. Can it really mean that those yummy mudslides will have to be given up?
Not an easy thing, rearranging your eating habits and teaching yourself that it won’t do to eat a lot of good things, like tidbits that are coated and fried, or the temptation of treating yourself to a nice juicy kebab when the truck is coming round at the most unhealthy time. But the shape is worth the try.
Succumbing to drug pleasures
Ever since you were this high you remember your parents and other people enjoining you to steer clear of drugs because drugs spell destruction. You were sure that it was just a figure of speech and the reality cannot be so bad. You tried, you found that it was all right, and would have been quite ready to develop the habit if it were not for the exasperating need to keep it secret and hide away the stuff where it will be safe from discovery.
Now everything is different: no-one at home to stop you, there is some money that you can spend without disrupting your budget, and, after all, who cares? It comes almost naturally. There you go, a sniff and a lick, and things can’t be better. You proceed to the bar, get talking to a chap, and you know what? He’s got some coke in his place, exactly what is required for a perfect evening!
The perfect evening will be you giggling like mad and behaving like there’s no tomorrow in the company of strange people whom you may not want to know in another time.
Making yourself out smarter than you are
You are twenty something, and you had a good education – you must be somebody worth noticing, and there is the wish to be universally liked driving you along. Not a bad combination, but one that can lead you astray.
Deep in a conversation with a guy you like, you think how good it is to have such a friend, and you want no blunders to spike your guns. And then comes out, loud and clear – a word you’ve never heard before. You’re stumped. What is it, the name of a product? A musician? Worse still, some foreign word? There’s no telling.
If you’re lucky, you can pass it off with a pleasant nod; if you’re not, and you went past that moment when you can ask for elucidation, you seek for a merciful chance to escape.
Not realizing you’re narrow-minded
No-one denies that you have amassed a good deal of understanding and savoir-faire in the past twenty years – but you should tell yourself it’s not the end of the road yet! Your load of knowledge can tell you that some things are big and important, whereas people on the outside won’t think so.
When you run into your roommate’s dirty dishes strewn around, do you jump to the conclusion that she left it there out of spite? When your boss voices dissatisfaction, is your first wish to have it out with them or you think you’re on the verge of dismissal? Halt in your steps and think twice.
Before you start to fly off the handle and establish yourself, remember it can be nothing but great embarrassment. From the point of view of perspective, how will the episode look tomorrow or in a month?
Leaping at each and every fad
You are not the one to underestimate the importance of being hip. It’s necessary to ride with the tide. Therefore, you know every actor in the current sitcom and can tell a few things about him/her, you know music charts by heart, and there’s not a single modern catchy word you don’t use.
You are so abreast of things that no-one quite knows – including yourself – what exactly you are a true adherent of. You favor what Rihanna can be seen wearing, you go for Kardashians’ favorite drinks, oh, before you go and get anything you take hints from the illustrious.
You’re prime for anything – until one day you shake the craze off and wonder where you are, what is the stuff you have got on and whether you really like what you’re doing.
Dragging your childhood along
You’re twenty? Poof. Let’s admit it, few things really changed. Immaturity, lack of staying power, an overblown sense of righteousness – isn’t it about you?
You are still deeply moved by your favorite romantic movie. Falling people make you laugh. If there’s no-one to wake you up, you lie in into the afternoon. Listening to sound advice makes you feel bored. What has changed is that you don’t show it any more: you’re considered to be an adult, you need to be socially acceptable, therefore, you can’t do that.
People around expect you to turn up in time for work, maintain a loyal relationship, keep your home in order and appear armed with a quality briefcase (even if it doesn’t contain anything apart from your favorite comics).
Begin to learn how to seem to be of age. Once you’ve learned to look serious enough, you may become such a person in a few arduous years.