If you've been told that life in your early 20s is great fun, and the best time of your life, then I'm afraid either you've been told wrong, or I'm doing it wrong. I'm not sure which. Have you seen Lena Dunham's hit show Girls? Well there's a reason it's been such a hit and that's because life in your early 20s really is that full of confusion, dodgy short sets and little mistakes you'd really, really rather forget.
1. Is the Good Stuff over Already?
This depends on the order you've chosen to do things in, but this for me is definitely one of the reasons why I've realised life in your early 20s is actually a little bit rubbish. I've had three amazing years at uni, where I met some wonderful people, learned a lot and worked a bit too - but mainly, I just had a jolly good time. Working full time has come as quite the shock to the system, and when you think about those long years of the 9-5 stretched out before you, it can feel like you've peaked already.
2. I Have No Money
I thought I'd be better off financially at least, working full time. And I am, marginally. But unless you're a banker, chances are the first half of your twenties is going to be spent stretching those pennies. Thought you'd be living in your own flat and toting round a Mulberry by 25? Forget it. In this economy, what was attainable for our parents seems to be getting further and further away for us.
3. Everything Matters
You know as a teenager how all those silly little things matter? Well, I know they stop mattering so much as you get older. But older is not, apparently, in your early twenties. So, on top of all the serious job and life stuff, all those trivial things still occupy an annoyingly prominent part of your brain.
4. Bottom of the Pile
Maybe you've just finished college like me, or you've only been working a couple of years. Either way, you're at the bottom of the career pile. Understandably so, of course, because you've only just started out. That doesn't stop it smarting any less when you're sent to do the jobs a trained monkey could do, again. It doesn't matter how good your company is, or how nice the people you work with are, there's still a hierarchy - and you're at the bottom of it.
5. It's Complicated
Ah, relationships. Always complicated, but especially so in your twenties. Either you're single, and having lots and lots of sex, and generally disgracing yourself every weekend over that much-needed vat of wine - or you're in a relationship. Where that relationship might have chugged along quite happily at uni, now you have to think about where it's going. Do you want to move to the same place? Will you move in together, or move in with friends? Or stay at home, but perhaps be miles apart? Plus you have to work so much now...how are you supposed to fit everything in? What's the right balance? Argh!
This could be a good thing or a bad thing in my opinion. I'm 21 and in that one, solitary year of being in my twenties so far, I have made a lot of mistakes. With EVERYTHING. I've quite literally lost count of the amount of times I've shamed myself, sometimes even (whisper it) without the influence of 14 mojitos. But that's okay, right, because of my youth and inexperience? I'm told it is - I just have to live with the knowledge that I've acted like a bit of a tit. Again.
And, of course, the big one. The inescapable, constant feeling that what you choose to do now really will impact - or worse, determine - the course of your life to come. What's the right path to take? I regularly ask myself what I want to do when I grow up. But, hold on, wait! I am grown up, and now I have to choose. Not next year, not when I've got this or that qualification - now.
Obviously, there are great things about being in your early twenties. The bad stuff is amplified but then, of course, so is the good stuff. A great night out isn't just great - it's the BEST NIGHT YOU'VE EVER HAD. The feeling of newness is still there. Still, I could definitely do without the constant anxiety. Will someone, anyone, please reassure me?!