But going back to my original complaint about the portrayal of a true quarter-life crisis- I’m doomed to turn 28 in a little over a month and I want time to slow down. I will be two years away from 30. At what point am I supposed to feel like a grown-up? I’ve lived on my own (well, not totally alone, but outside of my parents’ house) for the past 7 years, yet I'm still struggling between youth and adulthood. I’ve decided to lay it all out from my perspective.
|TV 20-somethings||Real-life 20-somethings|
|They have fabulous jobs, with or without formal education. Even the ones with less-than-amazing careers always seem to make plenty of money.||Myself and most of my peers have college degrees and either: have a job that does not require a degree (serving, retail, nanny), or have a job that still has them struggling to get by and living paycheck to paycheck- in both cases, they still don’t know what they want to do with their lives. We’re not attorneys, doctors, or executives. Yet.|
|They live in cute houses or chic apartments with coordinating furniture and great accent pieces. Their homes are virtually spotless.||My furniture isn’t a match set from Ethan Allen. It’s mostly secondhand with a few newer pieces added to the mix along the way. Any artwork on my walls is handmade, and accent pieces are limited to melted, misshapen candles. My house is a disaster and I currently have no motivation to stop being a slob.|
|They never seem to be concerned with finances. They shop, wear designer clothes/shoes/purses, eat out, grab drinks, and travel without any mention of bills or a budget. One person in the group always has rich parents.||We can’t afford to do it all. If I want to travel, I’m going to have to cut expenses somewhere else- either my housing or my transportation. My cable will occasionally get shut off when I forget what day of the month it is. I’ll still have to eat some meals at my parents’ house because it’s free. While I’m there, I’ll probably do some shopping in their pantry, fridge, and cabinets. I may even ask them for gas money. Our parents aren’t rich, just parents.|
|They spend every weeknight out with friends.||Many times, I would rather put on my pajamas and be in bed at 7:30 pm after work than meet up with friends. Getting to bed at a decent time is suddenly important now that I have to work the next day.|
|There is a deep pool of people to date. Casual sex is almost expected.||It’s hard to meet new people when you work all the time and all of your friends start marrying off. I don’t know anyone running around town having one-night stands.|
|Guys brood and pine for the girls they really like. They write songs and books, and have numerous deep, meaningful discussions with their friends about those girls.||Yeah, right.|
I understand that TV is all make-believe. They take great-looking people, make up great jobs, dress them from the wardrobe dept, build them a fancy apartment on-set, yadda yadda yadda; but would it really be so terrible to just once maybe try to resemble real life? Come on, show life how it really is for this age group. We don’t all live in LA, NYC, Boston, or Chicago. We don’t make $200,000 a year. We have to choose between J.Crew or car insurance, and most of the time we pay our car insurance and buy our clothes at Target or Old Navy instead. Designer clothes are simply out of the question. Show us that we're not the only ones going through this transition in our lives. Stop making me doubt my life by showing me an improbable lifestyle for an average 20-something. Be realistic.
Some additional confessions from my own life:
- Most of my meals come out of the freezer.
- I have no understanding of investments, 401ks, pensions, IRAs, CDs, or mutual funds. I know I should know, but I want someone else to just worry about this stuff for me.
- I would rather watch tv shows about high school kids than anything on CNN.
- Part of me is worried about the quantity of Christmas presents I’ll receive from my parents once I have kids.