The Differences Between Your Early 20’s Vs. Your Late 20’s…

17 07 2013

Just the other night, I was awoken by a late-night text. I kid you not, the first thought I had was, “I’m too old for this.”

How very Grinch-like of me, I know.

I used to love when my friends texted me in the middle of the night…when I was in my early 20’s. Now at 27, I’m comfortably into my late 20’s…and life has changed drastically in these few short years between my early and late twenties.

Here are some very candid differences that I’ve realized, when it comes to your Early 20’s vs. your Late 20’s:

Early 2o’s “I can sleep anywhere” vs. Late 20’s  “I need to sleep in my own bed”

I didn’t realize this one until I spent the night this year stretched out on the floor, attempting to sleep at a youth lock-in (yes, an oxymoron, I know). And then again when I attempted to sleep on the ground at a campsite. And again when I tried to nap on a couch. Back in the day–which translates to five years ago, if I have to approximate–I could sleep anywhere. And I pretty much did: in closets, on floors, on bean bags, in hammocks, and in cars. Now, I have to sleep in my own bed. So lame.

A regular midnight romp, in our early 20's...

A regular midnight romp, in our early 20’s…

Early 20’s “You’re too young to get married!” vs. Late 20’s “So when are you going to have kids, anyway?”

As a friend of mine from high school remarked recently, “It’s so strange to be almost a decade out of high school. Back then, couples were trying not to get pregnant. Now, suddenly, everyone is desperate to have a baby. What the heck?”

I have to agree. At 22, I was too young to be married. Now at 27, I’m getting questions in my birthday cards and weekly from congregation members about when I’m having kids. Thanks, world, for your confusing timelines. Apparently you’re much too young to make a life-altering decision like marriage in your early twenties, but you’re ready to raise little mini-people from scratch within a mere few years?

Early 20’s “Let’s go out, it’s only 2:00 am!” vs. Late 20’s “It’s midnight, I am so tired!”

In all seriousness, I probably averaged no more than 4 hours a sleep a night for the entire eight years I was in high school and college. We used to go out at all hours of the night, driving to the beach at 3:00, In N’ Out Burgers at midnight, or Hollywood at 4:00 am.

One time, I started hiking up a mountain in central California…at midnight. We hiked in total blackness (yes, as dangerous as it sounds–please forget I admitted to this, Mom) for several hours. Incidentally, we found out three days later that the mountain was closed to hikers that weekend because of some recent mountain lion attacks. But hey–water under the bridge now, right?

Somehow, though, in my late twenties, my body has aged about a thousand years and suddenly I actually need sleep. Like…if I don’t get at least 6 or 7 hours, I feel like a slug for days. No more midnight mountain hikes for me.

Early 20’s “Can I help you, young lady?” vs. Late 20’s “Yeah, the woman over there needs help”

Somehow, in the span of a few years, I went from being alternately called a “girl” and “young lady” by everyone–sales clerks, coworkers, and everyone in between–to being referred to as a “lady” and “woman”. And to boot, I don’t ever get carded anymore. Boy, who would’ve figured I’d miss that when it was gone?

Early 20’s “You’re like, so cool” vs. Late 20’s “You’re like, middle-aged, right?”

In my early 20’s, I was usually mistaken for one of the teenagers I worked with. We’d go out and people would ask me what grade I was in. I could confidently sit in the bleachers at a high school football game and not be recognized as an adult, and I felt like I almost had VIP access to the Teenage World because of my camouflage.

Now, when I ask my youth how old they think I am, they vaguely guess that I’m somewhere between 20 and 50. Yup. Nothing like being aged nearly 30 years by a clueless teenager. Quite a hit to the ol’ self-esteem.

Early 20’s “I totally got checked out at a college campus” vs. Late 20’s “What’s that creeper doing on our campus?” 

In probably the most unexpected turn-of-events, once you hit your late twenties, cautious college students start eyeballing you with a questioning look when you walk around their campus. Once upon a time, I used to get checked out by curious males when I stepped foot on a university campus. Now, heads swivel to see what that “old person” is doing on their hallowed turf.

And no, I’ll never tell you young punks exactly which campus vending machine gives out free candy. So there. That’s what you get for ostracizing me now.

Early 20’s “I love me some glittery eye shadow” vs. Late 20’s “When do I start using anti-aging wrinkle cream, anyway?”

Back in the day (again, five years ago), I wore all sorts of crazy clothes and makeup. Without sounding like an 80’s pop star, I’ll just say I rocked some awesome lime-green leather jackets, glittery purple eye shadow, and spiky high heel stilettos. I’d wear just about anything bright and colorful, whether it was on my body, face, or feet. But now that I’m in my late twenties, I find myself increasingly muted in every way and wondering seriously about when a young lady–er, woman–is supposed to start using anti-wrinkle products. No, I’m not really asking for advice. It’s just a thought trapped in my head, ruminating up there…

Early 20’s “I’ll happily waste my paycheck on shoes and coffee!” vs. Late 2o’s “I gotta pay off this debt and save for a house!”

In a truly cruel twist of fate, it seems that you spend your entire life training up to get a job, and then you get an entry-level job out of college which affords you a few blissful years to spend your piddly income on frivolous little niceties like new shoes and Starbucks Frappuccinos…only to realize abruptly that your dreams of a disposable income are, alas, dreams.

In my early twenties, I didn’t think too hard about dropping $4.35 on a latte. Now, in my wise years as an oldster, every dollar counts towards boring future things like a mortgage, a new car, and future loans. Adulthood is a yawn sometimes, isn’t it?

Well, there you have it. A scattered collection of thoughts on life from an aging gir…er, young la…uh, woman.