Twenty-something is an impasse of immaturity and adulthood. There is a good reason people say “early twenties” or “in their thirties.” There is a good reason categorically, we’re placed between “early,” “something,” and “late.”
At each decade of our lives we’re stuck in this ‘get old’ or ‘seem too old.’ It’s the same reason a fifteen year old hates the world as much as a twenty-five year old wants a fancy things as much as thirty-five year old wants to be recognized at work as much as a forty-five year old faces their grim future. We aren’t who we were five years ago, but we don’t want to be who we will be in five years, so we end up conflicted. It’s the same reason a thirty year old at a college house party full of undergrads is awkward or a new-hire never truly looks comfortable in their new dress slacks.
But twenty is awkward. Filled with messy childbirths, clumsy marriages, and elbowing at the edges of self-sufficiency. Are we actually adults or are we just playing one in real life? This is what grown-ups do right?
The older I get the more convoluted the insult “just grow up” seems.