This Thanksgiving, I am thankful for surviving my 20s. For the recently turned 30, or even the long past 30, give pause this year to pat yourself on the back for making it through your 20s. For some people, their 20s are a golden era: you know those people who somehow find career success by 26, have wonderful and fulfilling relationships and either own or are on track to own property. Good for them. That's great. I'm glad they had a glorious decade in their 20s, and are probably well on the way to having a glorious 30s. But for a lot of us, twentysomething is a euphemism for "hot mess," and at the end of it we're only just really starting to get our lives in order.
We're not worse off. We're just a little bit behind. And when I say we, I assume I am speaking to a vast majority of people who, after a tumultuous but probably super fun decade, are starting to settle into tomato-growing, relationship-having, and serious career focus. My 20s were characterized by a lot of broke-ness, and a lot of parties. I sacrificed a lot of meals to buy beer. And by sacrificed I mean sometimes I would go to the Levee and spend my money on $2 beers so I could eat the free cheeseballs for dinner. This is not an exaggeration. While those days were fun when I was experiencing them, boy, am I thankful their over. Here are six things you should give thanks for if, like me, you survived a crazy 20s...
1. That The Feminist Dialogue Has Been So Prolific
If you recently exited your 20s, you'll know that the past few years has reinvigorated the feminist conversation in popular culture. Give thanks that you lived your 20s at such an exciting time for passionate women. There have been feminist movements throughout history, obviously, and we're lucky enough to have been young women at a time when the conversation around equality is intensifying, and creating real, visible changes, like marriage equality.
The best part about making it through a period of your life is the gift of hindsight. Be thankful for the ability to look back and reflect. This is what allows us to grow and move forward, taking our lessons, regrets and successes with us.
3. Getting To Know Yourself Better
Your 20s are a lot about self discovery. It's the time you go from being a teenager (which is essentially being a child) to being an adult. Your 20s are the messy part of your transition from one stage of life to the next, and you should be grateful that you're part of a generation that gets a decade grace period to figure it out. Our parents' generation was forced to figure it out sooner, and our grandparents even sooner, so we're lucky that our 20s are considered a time for experimenting with who we want to be.
4. All The Mistakes You've Made
Your mistakes are just important to you and who you are as anything else, so be thankful for the opportunity to make them. Rest assured that each mistake is just a learning experience. And we should stop to thank goodness that a lot of us have the freedom to make mistakes in our 20s — unlike, say, our mothers, a lot of whom were pregnant with us at the same time in their lives. If you lived your 20s free of certain responsibilities, from children, to mortgages or what ever other "adult" things you haven't had to deal with yet, be thankful that you got an unfettered youth, and that you can look forward to all those things in the future. (If you do have those things, be thankful for them, too! No way is right or wrong or better than the other. Plus, some of us that don't have those things are a little bit jealous anyway.)
5. The Things That Got You Where You Are Today
Stop and think about and thank every experience, every person, from your postman to your mother, who made it possible for you to be you. You didn't get through your 20s alone. Be grateful for everyone that helped you along the way.
6. Not Being In Your 20s Any More
Just be thankful you're not doing that messy, nasty 20s thing any more. It was fun while it lasted, but it was also exhausting. Be thankful to be older, wiser, and constantly moving forward.