On Turning 23

You turn 23 this week.

 

Here’s what you know:

We don’t ever truly move on from any of them. They’ll always be a part of our becoming, even when you find the next one. Stop punishing yourself for thinking about past relationships. As if it were a sin that we loved so widely.

 

Working a regular 9-to-5 sucks. It is dubious whether there will ever be a point where it will not suck.

 

Beer is good. If you have not had a beer in four days, that is a perfectly justifiable reason to have one for lunch on a Monday.

 

America consumes 80 percent of the global opioid supply and 99 percent of the world’s Vicodin supply. Why are we in so much pain?

 

Argentinian poet Jorge Luis Borges has a line “Being with you and not being with you is the only way I have to measure time.” Looking back on that last month at Berkeley, you have two camps of memories — time spent with her, and time spent with everyone else. Holy shit, you were hopeless.

 

You turn 23 this week, and you have a solid 40 years until retirement. Forty years, people! No wonder that Vicodin count is so high.

 

You attract nice boys. You don’t want a nice boy. Sorry, nice boys. They are so sweet and kind and they deserve someone who will love them and consider a future with them. Not you, the girl who’s always running away to sneak into the throngs of a Kanye show.

 

“I watched the best minds of my generation wasting away in line for brunch.”

You heard that from someone once. It must have been a play on Ginsberg’s “Howl.” It’s still one of the most poignant statements you’ve heard in the two years since graduation.

 

You hide behind humor because you’re good at it and because baring yourself like you’re doing right now is terrifying. You’d rather ridicule than be ridiculed.

 

Nietzsche has a quote, “Ah, women. They make the highs high and the lows more frequent.” Reject this quote because Nietzsche is a misogynistic piece of shit. However, it’s possible to amend this statement by substituting “family” for “women.” Family: they make the highs high and the lows more frequent.

 

You are delusional. With the industry you’re getting into, you have to be.

 

Eat when you’re hungry. We are a culture that has elevated food to an art form, but you don’t have to comply with societal standards of breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Respect your body and consume when you need to, not when you’re supposed to.

 

Loving yourself is more than just an idealized Millennial saying from white women who engage in yoga and healthy eating. It’s an active choice you have to make every day to swat the demons away and say “You are dope as fuck.” Most days it doesn’t feel that way. On the days you do, you are indestructible.

 

Here’s what you don’t know:

You don’t know if you’ll make it. You very frequently wonder if you should have gone to law school. You know that if you never gave Hollywood a shot you would have spent the rest of your life regretting it. But D.C. still haunts you. D.C. was a city that ran through your fucking bloodstream. You’ll find a way to get back to her.

 

The kid with the bike and the gypsy soul. You wonder where he ended up going. You wonder if he still thinks of you when he hears the word “oso.”

 

You walk around with a certainty that everything is going to work out. It could be that you’re more delusional than you thought.

 

You don’t know if you will end up with a white man, and if your reason for ending up with a white man is based on personal feelings, or societally crafted impulses.

 

Literary giants describe writing as an uncontrollable urge — they have to write, they would rather write than do anything else. Poets describe moments when the words just take them and they are consumed by the need to put pen to paper. 

You don’t relate to any of this. You don’t get the overwhelming sense to write to express emotions, art, feeling. For you, writing is grueling, excruciating, requires far too much posturing, mimicking, pretension. Everything you do feels derivative. You wonder if you’re missing some key element. You wonder if that makes you not a writer. You wonder if you should even give a fuck.

The above process of self-doubt and loathing. Rinse and repeat. Every. Single. Time.

 

You don’t know if you will end up with Emma Watson. That would be pretty great. You imagine your life would be spent talking about literature, feminism, and how beautiful you are together.

 

You don’t know if you’ll ever love life again as fiercely as you did those last months at Berkeley.

 

Here’s what you hope to know:

You hope to find an outlet for your anger that doesn’t always result in some form of self-destruction.

 

You hope to know how to stop feeling so damn guilty all the time for things that are out of your control.

 

You hope to stop punishing yourself for weeks of inactivity. Life happens. Even Adele took four years off.

 

You hope to stop hemorrhaging money. This would start by knowing how to meal prep or plan so that you don’t spend so many lunches at Medocino Farms that the employees begin to recognize you.

 

You hope to learn how to DJ.

 

The turn-up would be legendary.

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