You want a job, a vacation, heath insurance, validation, a back rub, a scalp massage at the place where you get your haircut, people who are jealous of you, an ex who won’t stop texting you when they’re drunk, Twitter followers, happiness maybe sorta, someone to buy you lunch at a fancy restaurant, a mentor who can tell you what the hell to do with your life, a reliable internet connection, a reliable human connection, a gift card to the grocery store, dinner parties with friends where everyone will pretend to have their crap together for just one night, a nice flirty text message to wake up to every morning for the rest of your life, for everyone to like you even if you don’t like anyone, and one of those nights that doesn’t end till 9 AM and reminds you what it feels like to be young and alive.
I don’t agree with everything in the article, but it did crystallize a peculiar feeling I’ve had for a while now, a thought that’s been lurking around in the back of my skull for a while but never came to the forefront because it seemed so outlandish:
People, I have made it! I have achieved adulthood!
Not that everything in my life is perfect right now – for example, back rubs and flirty texts are in notably short supply – but I have a steady job, and checking AND savings accounts that actually have something in them. I have an iPhone! The iPhone itself isn’t really that exciting, though it is a nice phone; the revolutionary part is that I bought myself this phone, fresh and new from the Apple Store. I didn’t get it as a present from my parents or as a hand-me-down from someone else who just upgraded to the newest version, and when I handed over my credit card I did so in the comfortable knowledge that I could pay this bill off in full without having to live on ramen and Rice Krispies for a month to make up for it.
I feel stable, grounded, and generally pretty happy with who I am and the way my life is going. Five years ago I never would have believed it. Five years ago I was figuring out ways to feed myself on $5 a day and despairing of ever having a job I enjoyed that challenged me and paid a living wage. When I looked in the mirror I saw failure, and I wondered whether it would ever be any other way. Well, now it is.
Maybe it’s significant that I didn’t get to this point until the very end of my twentysomethings. So now in a couple of months, having checked off a lot of those boxes, I can move comfortably along to whatever it is that thirtysomethings want. One of the higher-ranked Google results suggests that this is “individualized attention in service, authenticity in product and experience, and knowledge that feels more like the inside scoop.” Interesting.