I think part of the hilarity of being a 20 something is navigating the difference between having a thought that’s legitimate insight… and thoughts that are just a result of a lack of perspective. For me, it’s usually the latter.
Let me explain what I mean when I say “lack of perspective”.
I’ve been on the planet for 25 years. If you are mathematically minded, that means:
I’ve spent 8% of my life peeing in my pants.
For about 20% of my life, I thought that covering my own eyes made me invisible to other people.
I didn’t know pets died; I thought they either ran away or were adopted by another family for 25% of my life.
I didn’t understand fractions for 30% of my life (maybe more… I mean, do I get it? Are these percentages even correct?).
I’ve spent 40% of my life believing a single man could travel around the world in one night, dropping off presents to children (while also understanding poverty exists).
60% of my life was spent believing that dentist appointments made themselves.
For 70% of my life, my biggest worry was being placed in a class without my friends.
By the way, these are also the percentages that comfort me on days where I “feel old.”
So back to my point – as you can see, I haven’t spent the majority of my life being particularly insightful.
I’m embarrassed to say the reality of this only became clear to me a few months ago when I attended a daylong conference held at a local university. The demographic of the conference was mostly young professionals and university students. After listening to a few speeches, we were sent off for a brief coffee break.
At this point in the day I’d been awake for approximately four hours, so I obviously needed a caffeine fix. While I happily poured myself a cup of coffee, I was greeted by a bright-eyed university student, probably in his first or second year.
“Coffee?” he asked, while pointing at my mug.
“Yep!” I answered, while dismissing every sarcastic comment that involuntarily flew through my mind.
“Ah coffee,” he continued. “The world’s most acceptable drug. You know, most people don’t think of it that way. As a drug, I mean. But it actually is when you think about it…”
A couple thoughts came to mind as this young fellow proceeded to unload his undoubtedly recently acquired drug knowledge on me:
1. Of course coffee is a drug, literally everyone knows that. You just don’t realize that yet because you’ve just started your Drugs and Behaviour class so your paradigm shift in thinking about drugs happened like, yesterday probably.
2. Oh my god… I was you like, three years ago…
You see, I too remember the first time an adult other than a D.A.R.E officer talked to me about drugs. My mind was blown. It was as though the world welcomed me to the adult party, where we let go of all the foolishness we tell children so they don’t completely ruin their lives at too young of an age (there’s plenty of time for that in adulthood).
And maybe that’s why being our in 20s seems like such a ridiculous decade but also quite exciting at the same time. We’ve spent the majority of our lives being lied to by adults about many aspects of life, but now we’re finally being let in on the joke.
So cheers to being a 20 something and realizing stuff.