Young love is chock-full of ups and downs, of successes and failures, of romance and heartbreaks. Each phase, or year, of your twenties brings new feelings of self awareness, escapism, and ultimately, love.
1. You’re Living in a Perpetual State of YOLO
YOLO, as my son often reminds me, of course means, “you only live once.” I think embracing that phrase gives permission to experience and explore avenues for which people possess an inherent curiosity to explore, but without the experience of long-lasting commitment, whether the experience is good or bad.
2. Sex, Sex, Sex
It’s okay, and frankly, expected, to feel wild and passionate and crave great sex. You’re exploring life and physical intimacy without pressure (and hopefully without the STD’s). Looking for hook ups and one-night-stands takes precedence over meaningful companionship, and you know what? You’re never going to be this beautiful again, so go for it.
3. Nightclub Love
I had no idea what “bottle service” was until I was perusing Facebook one day and found a photo of my son standing in what appeared to be a restaurant booth, drinking out of a magnum bottle of champagne. Apparently, it’s a thing that happens in nightclubs (?). These are the years when you have fun going out and do so frequently. You drop big bucks as you paint the town red, shuffling into the hottest restaurants and clubs, thinking nothing of it. The first thing you’re doing in a bar is scoping out a potential flame. The last thing you’re doing is planning too far ahead.
4. Love in Different Area Codes
You want to go on fabulous trips, spend a lot of money, and these days, post it all over social media. Adventure is calling to your free-spirited heart and you don’t think twice about answering the proverbial phone. Money doesn’t worry you TOO much, and neither do responsibilities. And yes, let’s face it: half the fun of traveling is meeting all the other cute tourists.
5. Love Is Idealized
One Sunday night, after your red eye back home, you realize that amid your promiscuity, there’s a small itch in your loins for something more substantial. You know you’re ultimately looking for a spark and want to feel truly loved and accepted. Romance is a bit idealized during this decade, especially when the “hard work” of finding new partners all the time hits you. “If I could just find ‘the one’…”
6. The Treat Yourself Stage
These years are ones of selfishness (in a good way). There is a lot of time spent thinking about who you are, and what you want out of life. When you don’t know yourself yet, it’s hard to know what you want or need in a partner. Your twenties are for figuring it out. My advice? When in doubt, write a pro/con list. It works every time.
7. Heart-wrenching Breakups
There will undoubtedly be a few relationships peppered into your twenties that will ultimately be unsuccessful. You just idealized love, and consequently, you’ll always try to see the good in your partner, even though there might not be anything good to see. A lot of time is spent trying to fit a square into a circle, so to speak.
[Editor’s Note: Cue the Hillary Duff song: I’mmm comin’ cleeeeannnnnnn.
However, when you do find yourself in a committed relationship and lost in love, you spend a lot of time as a one half of a couple. You entertain each other and make one another feel completely comfortable. You have a drinking buddy for a night on the town, and someone to cuddle with on quiet nights in. The most extraordinary thing is that the most ordinary and mundane things become fun. Honestly. Try pre-gaming a grocery store shopping trip and try tell me you didn’t have the time of your life. Ah, to be young again.
After you find someone to share the latter portion of your twenties with, your love may feel exceptionally strong. However, you may find yourself trying to change your partner, while at the same time hiding your own flaws. Subsequently, you’ll find yourself in a state of turbulence, but on the up-side, this will produce a lot of change and growth. You’ll learn things the hard way and you’re going to get your heart broken. It’s just a fact of life. What’s the warning sign when things are on the decline? When you are in an insecure relationship you’ll be grasping at straws, looking for validation from everyone: friends, co-workers…even astrologists. Trust me.
10. The Clock’s a-Tickin’
Suddenly, by 29, it may seem that all of your friends are getting married and popping out babies. At this point you’ll feel the need to hurry life along. There becomes an urgency to get your life “started” with a partner.
But, from experience, I can attest that everything happens for a reason. When you come to your senses and realize how emotionally drained the random sex and wrong relationships can make you, you come to the realization that none of it is worth it. In fact, you’ll come to the realization that by turning down everything you thought you should do, you’re actually on the road to becoming that much more self-actualized. What you’re left with, hopefully, is the real you. And that’s just beautiful.