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Welcome To The 20s

by Dharna Chauhan

Did you just turn 20? Here’s some wisdom for you.

Now when you step into your twenties, you’re suddenly out of your teenage and are looked upon as a mature adult; fully capable of taking your own decisions, all of which are expected to be correct and solely your responsibility. Yes, it is a lot of pressure. But that is not the hard part. You will be able to take a lot of decisions - some pretty good ones, some downright filthy. But all of them will be scrutinized under the most painfully alert eyes; because while you may be blissfully unaware, someone, somewhere is just waiting for you to screw up, and they’re as confident as you are that you WILL screw up.

There are a few things you are going to realize once you turn 20. You won’t realize them all at once, but I am pretty sure by the time you’d turn 25, we’d have covered most of it.

People around you will be falling in love, meeting their soul-mates and you would in all probability be in the midst of a heart-break or would not have experienced love at all. Please, relax! You’re just in your early twenties. There are lots of people still out there, waiting to love and be loved. Desperation is not going to be your most striking quality; refrain from it.

Suddenly, the things that annoy you become invariably large in number. Kids you once thought were cool and breezy would now be nothing more than retards and imbeciles, waiting for a mouthful, wishfully from you. People will cease to impress you by being merely “hot” with the IQ of a bottle. (Oh, wait. Are you a guy? I’m sorry; this one thing is not going to change.)

You should prepare yourself for a lot of pain (emotional, mostly). Although you are past your teens, your hormones have only grown with you. They will confuse you on a whole new level. You’ll realize that a sandcastle being washed off by the waves was not in fact the most painful thing to watch. You will witness great losses—friends, pets, lovers, fictional heroes—a lot of them are going to leave you, and you may then realize what they meant when they said they were “writhing in agony”. At least that is what you’d THINK.
A part of you will understand that small talk is not for everybody. All you eventually care for will be a “what’s up!” without even waiting for the answer. Hasn’t happened yet? Give it time.

The sibling you had been wishing was dead for years, will suddenly feel like the most fun, honest, and wonderful friend you’ve had. All these years growing up, when you felt you could easily kill him and now you realize that a part of you resides in them. 

She is the only one who knew how you were when you were young; that’s precious. You love her now, more than so many of your friends.

There will be some people around you who you’re sure you don’t give a damn about! But the moment they say something about you, it affects you more than you’d ever imagined possible. This is the point at which it strikes you that no matter how many times you say that you don’t give a dead rat’s ass to what Mr. X said, anything ANYONE has to say about you affects you! You may not understand why, but it does.

If you are lucky, you will fall in love with a pretty quirky person. Your friends would try to talk you out of it; they won’t understand what you see in that person. And you won’t understand how they could NOT see it in them! Well, only until a few years. Yes, growing up is an unending process. We can only hope to be the adults we think we are.

One thing that is going to hit you really, really hard is that not all (none, actually) twenty-somethings are anything like Rachel, Joey or Monica! Falling in an out of love isn’t as easy. You’re not going to have as many sexual partners. And no, you are not going to be friends with anyone like Chandler Bing! Sitting around in the coffee house, gossiping with your ex-boyfriend is not how you make a living. You have to go to actual jobs, work crazy hours, and earn a meager amount you’d call “salary”.

You girls, at one point, you will realize that the V-word is actually a big deal! You are going to understand how important first times are, and how the first time happens only once. You thought your hormones went crazy when you turned 17? Lady, you have no idea! Now more than the guy, you are going to miss just having a guy. One advice: Be wise, be picky, and be safe.

You will soon realize your best friends may not stick up for you at all times; they’ll be still your friends, just not as “reachable” or “agreeable”. You’ll still be really close to them, talk to them every day, then every two days, every week, then every month… which would, at best, change to every birthday. But this would also make you understand, that even though you may not be in constant touch with them, they mean a lot to you. You will hold on to whatever’s left.

You’re going to become more realistic or even more absurd about your plans for the future. Some of you will realize that selling lemonade along the foothills of Himalayas could be a cool, very cool dream-job, but not as profitable. Others would still wonder why there are no lemonade stalls along the Himalayas. Either way, it’ll change your idea of being.

You would choose your bridesmaid/best-man and the godparents for your future-children. You would think these are the people that are going to stick with you through thick and thin and are going to be the pillar of support you can always lean to. You’d be right. The person you can see mentoring your child is definitely someone you can depend on. Hold on to them.

You will start getting an idea about how some of the things your parents said were true and sensible, and you would in all likelihood, be able to understand a portion of them. You will, however, still be rebellious, and confused between your own love and resentment for the two people who, you’re not sure why, haven’t written you off yet. You will love them, again, but in the unhealthiest way.

At some moments in your life, while you are in your early twenties, you are going to be sad. A lot! Your mood swings would range from ecstatic to downright depressed. At times you would want to shower your love on people, while there would be moments when you would want to kill the next person you see. You will find yourself turn mean to the levels you had never imagined; also, you will surprise yourself with the occasional silent acts of compassion. You will lie a lot. You will judge a lot. You will hate a lot, and you sure will love a lot. You’re going to offend certain people, belittle your own self, magnify your problems, loathe your friends and family, and not even know why. Because no matter where you are, what you do, there is always going to be someone out there who is smarter than you, prettier than you, richer than you, more fulfilled than you; and there would be pretty much nothing you would be able to do about it.

All you can do is enjoying the growing up and learn what you can, about life, about others, and most of all, about yourself. The twenties may be not be the best that life has to offer, but it has its own perks and attractions. Welcome aboard, my friend, welcome to the twenties. 

It pretty much sucks; you’re gonna love it and oh-so-much miss it when it’s gone!


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