Tag Archives: 20-something

Why ‘complete’ and ‘in a relationship’ aren’t synonymous

“My other half.”

It’s tossed around Facebook innocently enough, typically paired with a sickeningly cute couple photo (Hey, I’m a single 20-something, I’m allowed to be jealous and angsty from time to time). You know, the one you like and maybe comment “Presh!” or something equally deep. Then, the dreaded caption: “My other half,” or, even worse, “My everything.”

Now I’m all for expressing love for other people, but those sneaky, little words perpetuate an ugly idea about selfhood and more broadly, dating. They remind us that we are, apparently, not complete unless paired with another member of the human race.

In the world of ‘Facebook-official’ everything, the need to not only ‘complete’ oneself but also proclaim it alarms me. ‘Likes’ and all those inevitable “Precious!” comments affirm the wholeness one can only find in a relationship.

Though I’m not in a relationship — ‘Facebook-official’ or otherwise — and though I lack an album of ‘cute couple’ photos, I feel complete.

And I want you to know you’re complete, too, regardless of your relationship status.

So, let’s continue celebrating love. Keep posting those adorable couple photos (I’ll probably be the first one to ‘like’ and favorite many of them, per my serial-liking skills).

But let’s celebrate and acknowledge our innate, individual wholeness, too.

Life writing leads to meditation on concept of time

Time confounds me. And don’t worry, this post won’t turn into one of those, “Time heals all,” monologues from Tumblr. This post is more like, “Hey, big, bad world! I’m Taylor, and here’s a nugget of the innumerable things I don’t quite get and maybe never will!”

One of the many results of my interest in life-writing is incessant meditation on the concept of time and how it manifests day to day in my world. And, again in the life-writing tradition, I’m wary of any hint of a “conclusion” or “culmination.” I figure it’s more than likely fleeting, to be replaced by a deeper, more informed epiphany reached only by an older, more worldly version of me.

But back to the concept of time and my raging uncertainty (I imagine there’s a handy “20 Reasons Being Uncertain in Your 20s is Totally Normal” listicle waiting to guide me to eternal enlightenment).

I’m particularly confounded by the ability of time to at once fly and lumber. When I park my (inevitably) senioritis-afflicted self in the library next semester to memorize that pile of Arabic flashcards (wish me luck in that endeavor, blogosphere), time will probably lumber by.

But then, in the middle of one of my breaks (Hey, I memorized 10 cards; therefore, I’ve earned a 15-minute Twitter break, right?), I’ll probably glance at my calendar (more avoidance) and realize it’s November or something crazy like that.

In November, I’ll turn 22. A month later, I graduate from college. Damn it, time.

I’ve long believed I could control time — a side effect of my trademark stubbornness. From color-coding, to mapping out my entire day, to dreaming about losing my calendar (a nightmare, rather), I’m pretty good at trying to control time.

Emphasis on trying. It’s time I realize the limitations of my schedule, internal clock and even the holy grail of time-control: the multicolored Sharpie pack that recently rocked my color-coding world.

Rather than draw a thick, neon line through my next appointment, I think I’ll write my name in bubble letters. It’s one of the few things I know for certain, after all.

How-to-live ‘listicles’ offer stale, generic advice

I can’t resist a good listicle. You know, that literary gem about the “20 Most Important Sloths You’ll Ever Witness” or the life-changing “15 Biggest Cat Moments in YouTube History.” But every time I surf the Internet for my daily helping of cute-animal entertainment, I’m hounded by my least favorite type of listicle.

And no, I’m not referring to the “20 Least Important Sloths You’ll Ever Witness.” I mean the dreaded 20-something how-to-live listicle. Every time I scroll through my Twitter feed, at least five “[Insert arbitrary number] Things Every Girl Should Do In Her Twenties” listicles appear, providing the conclusive handbook for the next nine years of my life.

But frankly, I’m done glancing at them with the inevitable eye-roll and audible groan. Today, I’m fighting back (all right, more like ranting back) about the inclination of nearly every web writer to inform me what I have to do in the next decade.

The 20-something how-to-live listicle employs a one-size-fits-all approach in processing life milestones. Suddenly, landmarks like living on your own, traveling abroad and quitting a terrible job are equally beneficial and impactful for all 20-somethings. Though they initially appear inspiring and informed (seeing as they’re usually written by some wistful 30-something), age-specific, how-to-live listicles generalize and trivialize.

My stubborn side is probably coming through as usual, but I’m a big believer in the freedom to make my own mistakes. Now, I don’t mean I’m living my 20s in pursuit of grievous errors and subsequent regret. Rather, I’d like the freedom to make mistakes organically and learn from them in a way catered to my life and future.

The 20-something how-to-live listicle provides a ready-made conclusion about the impact some experience or error should inevitably have. Please let me make my own mistakes on my own timeline, and more importantly, please give me the freedom to reach my own conclusion.

Clearly, if you read the post before this one, I’m all about unanswered questions as a means of self-growth and reflection. Twenty-something how-to-live listicles strip life experiences of their innate ambiguity. Sometimes, a conclusion or sweeping statement of growth and learning simply doesn’t exist. Sometimes, the uncertainty is productive in its own unexpected way.

So, this summer, the only listicle I need is the “25 Most Important Hedgehog Moments This Week.” Or the even more important “10 New Ice Cream Flavors to Try This Summer.” If you write that listicle, I swear I won’t groan or roll my eyes.