surviving a millennial world


(negative) thoughts

Why Your 20s Aren’t Like the Movies

I had finally come to terms with 22 when 23 hit. 22 matches the uncertainty that comes with graduating college and finding your place in the world. 22 can be immature or adventurous or wild or even a little bit broken, like a bird pushed out of its nest too soon. It can’t quite fly yet, but maybe it manages to hit a stable branch on the way down without breaking both wings.

But 23? There isn’t even a song for 23. 23 feels…foreign. Premature. Grown-up. 23-year-olds are supposed to have it together. Right?

When I picture a 23-year-old, I picture a thin brunette with an expensive haircut, dressed in a chic black blazer and pencil skirt with heels. She is spritzed with Chanel no. 5 and sporting a designer handbag, a cell phone pressed to her ear and coffee in her hands as she fields her powerful boss’ requests. She has a sexy chef boyfriend, but she leaves him to go to Paris even though Emily was supposed to go but she was hit by a cab anyway, so honestly is it that big of a deal…okay, this is the plot of The Devil Wears Prada.

What I don’t picture is an underemployed liberal arts grad who can’t quite afford to get her hair done and Skypes her friends more than she sees them in person. A girl who still cries at the ending of Anastasia, who asks her mom for advice every day, and who still wears her old sorority t-shirts while eating cookie dough she has not yet purchased in aisle 3 of the grocery store.

23 scares the sh@% out of me.

So, like many of you, I am forced to admit it: your 20s aren’t a damn thing like the movies.

1. Your first job won’t be the “perfect job”

I know, I know, you’ve heard this. So had I. But yet, here I am, juggling freelance writing jobs and struggling to work my way up in each of them, genuinely confused why I’m not Editorial Director at The New Yorker by now. I mean, Carrie Bradshaw got her sex column just like that and Elle Woods went straight from college to Harvard Law to working at a firm. While movies can be inspiring, we need to remember that this is about as realistic as making orange the new pink (aka seriously disturbed).

2. That girl squad may take awhile.

You had it in college, right? Just wait until your friends are scattered across the world like crumbled pieces of a Nature Valley bar, and you’re in a new city, alone. Or your old city, alone. Unless you went to college locally, you might struggle sorting it out right away. You might feel more than a little lonely. They don’t show this on TV, this first dose of loss as you navigate the world without your friends for the first time. You’ll stop complaining about those group texts—you’ll live for them.

3. That chic NY apartment? NOT affordable.

It’s not just New York, either. Chic is pretty unattainable in your early 20s, unless you’re a viral sensation, a Wall Street banker, Hailee Steinfeld, or a trust fund baby.

4. The same goes for Louboutins.

I own exactly one designer item, and it’s a Burberry scarf my grandmother gave me for Christmas one year. When it’s between those shoes and rent, rent tends to come first.

5. Dating in the real world is hard.

You know in Crazy Stupid Love when Emma Stone approaches Ryan Gosling, kisses him, says “let’s go,” and then they proceed to reenact the Dirty Dancing lift and talk all night about their interests and families? I’ve been waiting for this to happen, for, like, years. I’m serious. If anyone reads this and can do that lift, hit me up. My point is, dating in your 20s, while admittedly the time to find your “soul mate,” is anything but smooth.

Moreover, your 20s are anything but smooth. And while I am only 23, I expect six more years of chaos, uncertainty, and strangely exhilarating ambiguity. We’ve got nothing to lose, and everywhere to go.



When you’re unemployed and you go to doctor/dentist/dermatologist appointments, it kind of feels like these so-called professionals are coming at your life.

“So, what’s your job?”

“What do you do during the day?”

“What are your plans?”


Tuesday vibes


“All the animals in all the movies we used to watch when we were kids? Probably dead.” -Abbi Jacobson, Broad City

Thoughts I Had When I Was Pulled Over This Afternoon


  1. Oh, fuck.
  2. Fuck, fuck, fuck.
  3. Yes, I see you, I’m stopping, chill.
  4. Ok, this is good. I look like I’m 16 and I’m a woman. Those are like the two most privileged groups for getting out of tickets, right? Like the 1%.
  5. Wait, he’s cute.
  6. Really cute.
  7. …and he’s rude. Why are those two traits always interconnected?
  8. No, sir, I had no idea I was going that fast. I definitely do not usually speed on this road that leads to my house that never has cops on it.
  9. I wonder if I asked him out to dinner if he would just let this go. That kind of happens in Bridesmaids, right?
  10. Well, he’s not going to want to after seeing my license picture.
  11. He kind of looks like that prick that leaves Daya pregnant and in prison in OITNB. Such a jerk. I can’t believe he would do that.
  12. What is he doing is his car for so long? Sexting his girlfriend? Writing a to-do list? Listening to an entire mix-tape? Probably thinking of more ways to screw Daya over. Jerk.
  13. Actually, in all seriousness, I could have read three chapters of a Harry Potter book by now. Six chapters of one of the earlier ones.
  14. I bet I could eat an entire medium Papa John’s pizza in this time. With toppings.
  15. I’m so hungry.
  16. Annnnnnnnd he’s back. Hello, hello. Did you notice my new lipstick?
  17. He didn’t notice. Oh, he’s gonna let me off! He’s giving me a soft, doe-eyed expression. Yes. Yes. Say it.
  18. Damn it. Damn you. Don’t tell me “not to worry.”
  19. Poor Daya.

The Post-grad Paradox

I have been out of college for 2 months, one week, and four days, and I’m pretty much done. I have retired to my childhood home in the suburbs of Minnesota (there’s a euphemism for “living with the parents” you’ve never heard) and every time someone, a hairdresser, an aunt, a sorely misguided friend, shouts: “Congratulations on graduating!” I am hard-pressed not to slap them across their well-meaning face. I can handle graduation cards, but only if they have enough ten-dollar bills wedged between the pages for me to abandon them, unread, in a nearby recycling bin without cringing. The other night I found one in the mail from my uncle that I accidentally scanned in my search for money, and found the halfhearted words: “Your 20s are the best years of your life.”

This gave me pause, but only because I was sure I’d heard it before. I was sprawled dramatically across the living room couch, resembling a sad satire of Rose asking Jack to paint her like one of his French girls in The Titanic, even more so because I was still clad in my towel, and I studied the oversized letters again. Your 20s are the best years of your life. How?

I was seized by the sudden desire to call my poor, unsuspecting uncle, and go off on him. “Hey, Uncle Jim. Just so you know, I’ve had 11 ‘informational interviews.’ 11. I hate my parents for telling me that I should ‘follow my heart’ and I hate my 6th grade teacher for telling me that I was ‘gifted’ because no one wants a creative writing major. Zero people. I could call up J.K. Rowling herself and apply to be her assistant’s assistant’s assistant, and she would laugh aloud, and say: ‘Shouldn’t you have a marketing degree?’ All of my friends live in different states. The closest one is New York. New Fucking York. Today I made Kraft mac and cheese when I woke up at 1pm, and it turned out soggy. I couldn’t even make it. I’ve started watching Cupcake Wars on Netflix and I don’t even like it, I don’t even like cupcakes, I think they’re just overrated mini-cakes with the wrong proportion of cake-to-frosting that are slightly too big to comfortably fit in your mouth, but I have nothing better to do with my time. I went to the urgent care the other day for my bronchitis and the nurse offered to get me a job application to be a scribe.”

I could go on, but fortunately for both of us, I never made this phone call. Instead, I poured myself a glass of cheap white wine, watched breathing technique videos online to calm myself, and went back to my job search.

This blog goes out to floundering liberal arts grads everywhere who are torn between resigning themselves to a full-time job as a Starbucks barista in their home town and going to grad school to become an accountant. You’re not alone. You are young and resilient and passionate and creative, and you know what? We’re going to make it. We were strong enough to shotgun that beer because our roommate was racing us, even though we really didn’t want to. We were strong enough to stay up watching the sunrise so we could finish (read: write) that 18-page paper on magical realism, and to somehow finagle an A on it. We were strong enough to make it that week when the only groceries in our apartment were bread, apple sauce, and Nature Valley bars because the grocery was seriously miles away and we didn’t have a car.

We are sure as hell strong enough for this.

when you decide to start a notebook tracking your job search #progress #passion #power

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