In a month, I will be leaving my twenties and turning 30. While this transition is difficult for many, I find it challenging because fortunately I look like I’m in my early twenties and get carded even when I am out with my parents. This, however blessed it is, comes with a curse of never quite believing I’m the age I am because I am treated so much younger. I feel like when I have children, people will think I’m the babysitter. Which is GREAT don’t get me wrong but it’s hard to accept entering a new decade when the majority of humans who encounter me think I am just entering one that was 10 years ago. God, that hurts to say out loud.
I am bittersweet about leaving behind my twenties. It was a time of growth and discovering myself as it is for most people. I feel like I came into my own in my twenties but without some deep, hard struggles that I still don’t know how I managed to get in and also managed to get out of. So I thought I would write a love note but in two parts: A Fuck You and a Thank You.
Fuck you to the impulsiveness of my twenties. The kind of fake confidence and I know everything demeanor that led me to moving to New York City with no money, no job, and living with a very odd stranger in a tiny ass apartment where I could barely fit a twin size bed. The arrogance I gathered in my career where things were coming to me easily and I felt I didn’t have to work hard. Fuck you to that 22 year old girl who didn’t work hard and learn all she could about the business when she first started. I hate her because now I am still learning things I should have known 9 years ago!
Fuck you to the need for going out and partying. I can blame New York City for this but in line with the poor decision to slack off in my career, I felt going out and getting attention of boys was more important than sleep and saving money. After work at Tarzan, that’s what we did. We went to bars and spent money we didn’t have. I made 8 bucks an hour and went out every night and took cabs and had rent to pay and food to buy. Did I care? No. Because I was young and ‘enjoying’ myself and god forbid I was a single girl without a boy on the roster somewhere. Being social was more important that getting up for auditions though I have to say being 22 and drinking a lot magically led to zero hangovers so I actually did audition in spite of it most of the time…we can add that to the thank you portion.
Fuck you to all the boys I knew didn’t like me how I liked them but I hung with sloth-like claws dug in deep. Fuck you to the boy who dumped me in the rain on a corner on the lower east side, to the boy who dated me and another waitress at the restaurant we worked in AT THE SAME TIME and me ACTING LIKE IT WAS FINE, to the one night stand I saw many times after that night who pretended he had NEVER MET ME, to the boy who wanted me to be like a porn star and was disappointed I didn’t measure up to that status, to the Joel McHale type hottie who just stopped answering his phone instead of properly ending it (I did throw up on him however…), to any boy I met a bar who I spent all my attention on instead of enjoying my actual friends and who probably ended up hurting me inevitably or going home with another chick at the bar who didn’t try as hard.
And I say fuck you to myself for not growing with each of these boys and instead stayed stagnant and a total nut job. But to this I add a big, huge FUCK YOU to myself and the boy who I hung onto and led me to my Dark Time. I hate that I did that to myself, to my family, to my friends, to everyone. I needed it to grow but fuck you for hanging on, twenties Rachel, and not listening when the boy said go away and continuing to make the same mistakes with different boys throughout the next decade.
Fuck you to not saving money, not finding a good stable job, not focusing more energy on my career, not eating right, not exercising, not using anti aging cream. For drinking too much and smoking and living with strangers who stole my trash cans and toothbrushes and ate my food and broke my dishes. Fuck you, twenties, for letting me do all this shit to myself.
Thank you, twenties, for letting me do all this shit for myself. Thank you for the boys who broke my heart and destroyed me because it led me to my future husband who I knew was right for me for many reasons but because he looked at the pieces of me and listened to my horror stories and smiled and kissed me and didn’t judge me or call me crazy or hate me for my experiences. And I didn’t have to be crazy with him…ever. So thank you, twenties, for showing me that the right man led to keeping the crazy in the box.
Thank you, twenties, for no hangovers, no wrinkles, no sore muscles, white teeth, shiny hair, the ability to go through an entire day without coffee on four hours sleep. I will miss all those things dearly. Thank you for helping me find me and realize I need to focus and work hard, save money, and create stability in my life to achieve my goals and live my dreams.
Thank you, twenties, for all the fun I had. Though I said fuck you, I also say thanks because some of those nights I have never felt more alive. Thank you for screaming on rooftops, Broadway opening nights, walks home barefoot from the subway, peeing in bushes, giggling uncontrollably, having first kisses on fire escapes, theme parties, beer pong victories, sunrises and sunsets, fireworks, sun bathing in the grass, wandering aimlessly in the city streets, backstage concerts, snowfalls and heat waves, heartbreaks and heartwarmers.
Thank you, twenties, most of all, for showing me the value of friendship and family. When you move away from home, after college or before, you finally realize how beautiful home was and how much you need and miss your family and friends. I fell deeper in love with Vermont in my twenties and with my friends and family. When people grow up and move away, you realize how important it is to stay in touch any way you can if you want to keep them in your life. I learned who was only a phone call away at 3am.
I will miss you, twenties, but I won’t forget you. You have been my favorite decade so far. Let’s see how thirties holds up against you. Maybe I will finally understand why my parents loved that show ‘thirtysomething’ so much…
Sidenote: Speaking of television shows, it’s weird to start being the age as the characters I watch now. Back when I loved Friends and Will & Grace, I don’t think I understood some of the jokes as well as I do now watching reruns. SO weird. I miss relating to Corey and Topanga when they weren’t doing a new show as PARENTS!! Mind blown.