We Are All Young, Beautiful, Idiots in Our Twenties

I briefly talked to a 23-year-old at 2:30 a.m. recently. Our ages came up in conversation. He was genuinely shocked that I was nine years his senior. (Gotta moisturize, Ladies). I thanked him for pinned my age at 26, but said I had no desire to relive my 20s. He was doubtful that the 30s are honestly, seriously, better. But they are.

Here’s why:

When I was in my mid-20s I was invited to a potential new couple friend’s house for dinner. Things were going relatively well for two sets of strangers who had not much in common aside from the fact that they found themselves in the middle of Vermont, trying to establish a life very different from what they had known (the wife was from Cuban and had limited English speaking skills and I was dating/living with a law school stoner). But then the one bottle of wine ran out. One bottle? Who did they think we were, sober? I volunteered to fetch a bottle from the store. But once there, I was frozen. I, some idiot 24-year-old, had never actual purchased wine for any other reason than sale price and label design. So, I’m spending eons in this freaking wine isle. Red? Wine? Is there Cuban wine? Price, definitely need to consider price, since I just moved across the country and was B-R-O-K-E. What dooo I do? After much consideration I bought a red bottle labeled “table wine.” I was being logical, like we are going to drink this from the table. Table wine. WHHHHHAAAA? This is 24-year-old nonsense that somehow makes sense in the moment, a decision I immediately regretted once I was back at the host’s house. But we still opened it and tried to drink it. It was not really drinkable. We were never invited back. Now, I’ve dabbled in lushness and have never, ever bought another bottle of table/cooking wine. Idiot.

In my 20s I lived by the slogan “only shop at stores with concreate floors” and I was terrified to learn how to cook. In my thirties, I really like grocery shopping, I try new products out of curiosity, I sometimes shop at Whole Paycheck (their salad bar fried tofu!) I use recipes; I’m a Martha fucking Stewart some week nights.

Oh, and remember that live-in boyfriend/stoner? Yeah, he’s history too, because in your 20s you are in relationships just because. Then one day you realize you are desperately unhappy and stop being that way. In my thirties, I only see men as datable if they really add value to my life, because single Elizabeth is doing just fine. Like, life is fucking rad and I don’t have to check-in with anyone before I do anything! Spend a weekend in Utah with three men I’ve never met to hike and canyoneer Zion? Single Elizabeth does that. Spend all Sunday drinking coffee and writing a novel? Single Elizabeth does that.

And money. When I was an idiot twentysomething I thought because I had a real life career job as a journalist that I could buy all the things. I did this for a few years on a salary of $24,000. Gross! Then I woke the fuck up and was twelve grand in debt. WHHHHAAAA? I got adult real quick-like, picked up a second job, worked seven days a week and stopped spending more than I earned by a lot. Now, as a thirty-something I’m credit card and student loan debt free.

So yeah, life is like fine wine; it ages well (this cannot be guaranteed for table wine).

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