23 vs. 27
by Azaria Posik
Photo by Alaina Latona
Going through my 20s has been one of the strangest things I’ve experienced so far. I moved to New York when I was 23 years old-such a lil babe I was! I thought it was normal and type-2 fun* to live out of a suitcase with a mattress on the floor and a bed sheet on the window. I did things like go on dates with very inappropriately aged men and do their drugs in bathrooms because it was a new experience, and why not? I battled finding a job in the music industry because that was the end all, be all of moving to New York. I worked at Urban Outfitters and went to random warehouse parties and took the train home at 4am because I couldn’t afford a cab and Uber pool didn’t exist yet.
I had so much crazy, stupid fun but also experienced one of the most lonely and empty times in my life. Navigating a city without a steady job and without any family or friends One day in summer 2014 I was walking down East 70th street in Manhattan, passing Lexington Avenue, passing Park Avenue, making my way to Central Park and calling my mom sobbing in a very public display of misery. Also, it was humid which was perfect for feeling not only emotionally but physically awful as well. At the time I was reading, “This is How You Lose Her” by Junot Diaz and this one sentence perfectly described how I felt at the time:
“I was so lonely that everyday felt like I was eating my own heart.”
It was so depressing and heartbreaking and the only way I could think to describe how I felt everyday. It’s as embarrassing now to think of as it was when I was actually thinking it, but at the time I constantly thought: “I never thought my life would be like this”.
It wasn’t until recently I realized that was one of the moments where I ‘grew up’ and my idyllic vision of the world and myself were colliding with reality so of course it was crushing. I think a lot of your 20s is navigating your expectations versus reality along with your stability to instability ratio. Growing up doesn’t mean being an office drone but managing expectation of yourself and other people; I know who I can count on for what and I know what situations I should and should not put myself in. I once overheard someone tell someone else that they had a good learning experience from xyz thing they were talking about and I thought it was such bullshit. A lot of life sucks and is extremely hard but life is learning to make your own happiness. It’s ok to cry and be stressed, emotions are valid and real and it’s ok to have them! I learned to get outside of myself, go to yoga (breathe), smile at strangers, clap for performers on the train, volunteer, take vacations, laugh wherever you can find humor, and if you start over it’s not a failure but an opportunity. Also, get a bed frame and curtains! I promise this will greatly help improve your overall well-being.
*Type-2 fun is when you do something that is not fun at the time, but looking back you think, that was fun! I.e. climbing a mountain may be type-2 fun because you can look back and remember a great experience even though it was hell going through it at the time. Opposed to type-1 fun which is the obviously having fun in the moment.