Monday, December 7, 2009

TwentySomething (or, Are We Thirty Yet?)

by Liz

" can quote me on that." - Chrissy R.

The mind of a twentysomething is a precarious destination. This is especially true on a Monday at 8:00am, when no one is at hand to shake a 24 year old of her own overwrought, twentysomething thoughts.

In the early morning, the cafe remains a desolate - if warmly lit - cavern; the rare customer is generally curt, squinting against the overhead spotlights, not yet far enough removed from their bedroom reveries. At this time, I'm usually perched at a high table, spooning loose-leaf chamomile into delicate paper tea bags. Or, rather, you'll find the same faded magazine beneath my nose, chin resting upon my left palm as I lazily skim an article expounding the health benefits of folic acid.

I'm not really paying to heed the activity laid before me on the laquered cafe table-top, whatever the scenario may resemble. It's a pose. It's 8:25am, I'm 24 years old, and my thoughts are following themselves around the corners of my mind. My cranium topples over banalities, rounding shallow ideas about my own twentysomething-hood.

This isn't so terrible, warming my hands around a half-bowl of hot coffee; this isn't so terribly great, either. This is my twenties; this is purgatory. This decade is the second installment in a three-part trilogy: it lacks plotline, its not very clever, and it remains somewhat boorish throughout. The second film underwhelms; its never your favorite, not unless you possess enough pretense to appreciate tired expanses of vocational tedium interspersed with frequent lapses of social vapidity. And yet, your twenties - this undefined phase of existence, the sequel to your teenage years - are necessary to the understanding of that which has preceded the age, and that which has yet to transpire.

This is my twenties; this is a waiting room, a dubious holding place tiled with dog-eared magazines, half-read publications comprised of well-intentioned articles about personal health and spiritual energy; the best beauty buys and the best places to meet boys; the burgeoning Brooklyn music scene and Oprah's 25 favorite things. These articles might actually shift my perspective; might, that is, if I could actually absorb any of the information contained between the ledgers. I can't, though; I'm in my twenties. I'm thinking about my prior hang-ups and my post-twentysomething future. I'm thinking about a job title that I don't fully identify with. I'm thinking about a boy who doesn't identify with me. I'm thinking about a half-price sweater I wish I'd bought last weekend. I'm thinking too much. I'm thinking about how I think too much.

I sat this morning in the familiar position: legs crossed, expression pensive. I couldn't wrap my mind around anything concrete, let alone the day ahead of me. And then, serendipitously, a friendly face walked through the cafe door. Another twentysomething.

We chatted about boots and boys and bagels: things that don't really matter, but do matter, actually, in the context of our twenties. Tedious topics make all the difference when they pull you from your twentysomething reverie; they're fodder for conversation with other twentysomethings, and they lend the impression that some things in life are still easy to grasp, easy to wrap our minds around. This morning, she and I came to these certain conclusions:

  1. Good boots can be found at a thrift shop on 11th Street
  2. Boys Are Dumb (...this was a rather shaky conclusion)
  3. A buttered bagel, shared with a friend, is neccessary to sustaining twentysomething life