4 Ways Your Twenties Aren't Like The Movies

No doubt about it: your twenties can truly be rough. Whether you're going through college, have already graduated, or trying to find your footing at your first (or second!) job, your twenties are when all of society's expectations for adulthood come to fruition. 

And just think about it. Like how fun did being in your twenties look on shows like Sex and the City, or movies like 13 Going On 30? Moving to New York right out of college, I definitely thought my life was going be just like Andie Anderson the "how-to" girl in How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, but like many of you reading this I am forced to admit it: your twenties aren’t a damn thing like the movies.

Instead, my twenties are this rollercoaster reality ride that all my binge-watching apparently shielded me from. Fortunately, I caught on quickly and now I'm sharing the four things I wish I knew about life after college. 

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1. Your first, SECOND (or THIRD!) job likely won’t be your “dream" One

Carrie Bradshaw got her sex column just like that and Elle Woods went straight from college to Harvard Law to working at a firm, but the rest of us? We're left struggling to find our footing in the real world, and have adopted a "fake it till we make it" attitude to get us through our meek entry-level jobs. And then the next one. And then the next one.

2. That #goals girl squad *may* take a while to get

No great 20-something-year-old's movie is complete with an awesome group of girlfriends correct? They don’t show this on TV, but this will be your first social life reality check. In a new city, with your college friends likely scattered everywhere across the country, you might inevitably find yourself alone. And finding a new crew isn't always as easy as it was during sorority mixers. Instead, there will be many nights spent watching Netflix. Alone. With takeout. In your pajamas. With Wine. Shall I keep going? 

3. A massive, LOft apartment? a balcony? Keep dreaming

Unless you're a trust fund baby (and I doubt most of us are. To you lucky few...I hate you.), the only thing you'll be able to afford is a small studio where you can see your bed, bathroom, and stove just by turning your body. There is one upside though. You will have gone from cooking your ramen in the microwave, to cooking it on an actual stove. #Winning and how awesome is that?

4. Dating in the real world? What's that?

In an ideal world, you'd be able to walk into a bar like Andie Anderson and leave on the back of a hot guy's motorcycle....the one who you'd eventually fall madly in love with. And who'd chase after you on the aforementioned motorcycle, blah, blah, blah. Too bad, that's more than likely not going to happen in your twenties. If you're lucky, you might SEE a lot of cute guys and maybe even score a number or two, but the vast majority of twenty-somethings love lives resemble those found in How to Be Single instead of The VowThe Notebook or any other Nicholas Sparks movie. 

In short, your twenties are everything but smooth, but *that's* the silver lining in it all. Movies are one and done in the happy moments' department. Life, on the other hand, has a special way of giving our twenties a smorgasbord of chaos, uncertainty, and a strangely exhilarating journey of discovery that even Hollywood couldn't dream of.

So live it up! There's no rewind button around here. 

Photo Credit: Jessica Susana

Books Lately

From that time on, the world was hers for the reading. She would never be lonely again, never miss the lack of intimate friends. Books became her friends and there was one for every mood.
— Betty Smith

Now that I’m settled into my apartment and living in Los Angeles, I'm falling back into my reading groove. Still not quite at my usual book-every-two-days pace yet, but that’s okay. I’m learning that less is more in all facets of life, including reading. There’s no reason to stress myself out trying to read 50+ books a year. Instead, I’d rather focus on reading books that interest and excite me. If that means that at the end of the year I’ve only read like 20 titles, at least I will have enjoyed every one of them.

With that in mind, I’ve read a few awesome books this year already.

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The Wedding Date by Jasmine Guillory

I was most excited to read this book in 2019, as Jasmine’s other books, The Wedding Date and The Proposal, are two of my favorite contemporary romances. This one might be my favorite, though! Maddie and Theo are sworn enemies with a shared best friend. They find themselves in a months-long situationship after an accidental hook up with a firm end date. But, of course, the two fall for each other and that’s where things get good. Theo is an absolute delight, and I won’t spoil anything, but any guy who likes alphabetized spice racks is a keeper in my book.

While all three of Jasmine’s books exist within the WBU (aka the Wedding Book Universe), you don’t have to read them in order. I will say that doing so makes reading much more fulfilling since characters from previous books frequently show up. If you’re like me, you’ll get giddy when you see their names.

Natalie Tan’s Book of Luck & Fortune by Roselle Lim

Good food, family, and a little bit of luck and fortune meet in Roselle’s debut novel. After the death of her mother, Natalie Tan returns home to San Francisco to discover she’s inherited her grandmother’s restaurant. Unfortunately, Natalie’s smooth journey to re-opening it is muddled with tense neighbors, gentrification, and lingering guilt from estrangement with her late mother. You’ll enjoy this book too if you like good food and soulful writing with just a bit of magic.

FUMBLED BY ALEXA MARTIN

Second chance love isn’t always the best idea, but when it features a football player who gives off hunky Thor vibes, you’ve got my attention. Alexa’s followup novel to last year’s Intercepted follows single mom Poppy Patterson, who is unexpectedly reunited with her high-school sweetheart and pro-athlete TK Moore. Sounds, um, tense right? Exactly. Alexa’s sharp writing keeps things entertaining and fun, while also sparking an important conversation about lasting effects of tackle football on a player’s health. Plus, you know, the normal rom-com elements that make everything tingle.

ON THE COME UP BY ANGIE THOMAS

What happens when you go viral for all the wrong reasons? This is exactly what 16-year-old Bri learns in Angie’s sophomore YA novel. Bri wants to be the greatest rapper of all time and follow in the footsteps of her father. Much like the main character in Angie’s The Hate U Give, racial profiling plays a large part in keeping Bri down, though. What I liked most about this book is the fact that Bri wasn’t afraid to speak for herself even if that meant looking like an “angry black girl.” More unapologetic characters this way.

TWO CAN KEEP A SECRET BY KAREN MCMANUS

The best kind of murder mysteries? Teen murder mysteries. You get all the same twists and turns that adult series have, but with the nativity and unwavering curiosity that only young people seem to possess. Set in the small town of Echo Ridge, this book follows new friends Ellery and Malcolm on their journey to find out who’s slaying homecoming queens in the town and keeping secrets. After devouring Karen’s debut book last year, I knew this one would be good too. Happy to say it didn’t disappoint.

MEET CUTE BY HELENA HUNTING

For all the fangirls out there, what if you went to college with your celebrity crush? Now, what would you do if you grew to hate him and then years later he shows up in need of your help? That’s a doozy right. Kailyn Flowers finds herself in this predicament when former actor Daxton Hughes becomes the sole guardian of his younger sister. Kailyn is unlikeable at times and a few moments were a bit predictable, but overall, I enjoyed it.

THE SUN IS ALSO A STAR BY NICOLA YOON

Okay, so this book came out in like 2015. I know, I know. What the hell took me so long to read it? It’s been on my list for forever, but I didn’t feel a pressing urge to crack it open until I learned it would be adapted into a movie. The story follows two teens, who meet and fall in love with each other over one day. Prepare for lots of laughs, lots of tears, and tons of scientific references. Spoiler alert: My favorite part is the book's ending, which is ruined in the movie. So yeah, just read the book.

What should I add to my reading list next?

'Clueless' is to Blame For My Fear of Freeways

You’re a virgin who can’t drive.
— Tai Frasier (aka the late and great Brittany Murphy)

“Yo, what the hell? You’re gettin’ on the freeway.” That’s the last thing Murray (Donald Faison) says before the famous freeway freakout scene in Amy Heckerling’s 1995 cinematic masterpiece Clueless.

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Deep in conversation, Stacey Dash’s Dionne unknowingly drifts her boyfriend’s red BMW onto the freeway. Distracted driving at it’s finest, the situation goes from bad to worse when Cher (Alicia Silverstone) and Dionne both start having meltdowns. Cars whizz by. Horns blare. A motorcycle gang swerves around the convertible causing Dionne to perform one particular cardinal sin of driving. She takes her hands off the wheel. This before screaming her head off and closing her eyes. You know, just as a huge semi-truck appears behind the car.

Eventually, the car cruises to safety, but the damage is done. Murray tries to calm a dramatic Dionne down, while narrator Cher sighs from the backseat realizing that “getting on the freeway makes you realize how important love is.”

Unfortunately, I didn’t have the same epiphany watching this scene. Instead, came the cause of my life-long (well, 25-years-long) fear of that six-lane terror that takes drivers from one side of the city to the other.

Yup. Clueless is to blame for my fear of freeways.

It’s been nearly 25 years since the film was released and I remember that scene as if I watched it yesterday. Probably because I did. But also because it was that traumatizing. Before I moved here I never had to worry about Dionne’s fate becoming my own because there are no freeways in my hometown and anytime I did encounter one while traveling, I was asleep in the backseat.

That all changed in September of 2018.

Moving to Los Angeles, California came with many challenges. I had no job. No place to live. Few friends in the city and no family. But the only thing I was freaking out about was the prospect that I would one day have to get on that death trap they call the freeway.

I’m confident in my driving abilities, but let’s be real. Before moving here it had been almost four years since I regularly operated a motor vehicle. I prayed that driving would come back to me like riding a bike is supposed to (not 100% confident this is true either), but boy did my anxiety go through the roof.

The “what if” buzzer went off in my head and I contemplated all the horrible outcomes me driving in LA could bring. And let’s just say that 9 out of 10 scenarios involved the freeway.

Back in 2015 Hecklering did a Q&A about the movie and explained the inspiration behind that particular driving scene.

“I’m a nervous driver, and I don’t drive on the freeway,” Heckerling said. “But now and then, you find yourself on a street or a ramp or a lane where you cannot stop and turn around, and it’s going onto the freeway, and then you go, like, ‘Oh my fucking God, I’m going onto the freeway,’ and there’s nothing you can do about it except to keep holding the wheel and screaming until you get off. It’s very frightening to me.”

She was right. My first foray onto the freeway was by total accident and I freaked out the entire time.

I had rented a car to go to Santa Monica with my friends in October and unknowingly drifted onto the freeway thanks to the stupid GPS. Cue a meltdown of my own. Suddenly, I was forced to increase my speed from about 35 to 60, cars were on both sides of me, and someone had abruptly turnt off the music. Someone was me.

Both of my hands were firmly on the wheel and I was sweating bullets. I distinctly remember my friends laughing that I was going so slow in freeway terms, but I didn't give a damn. It was terrible and I’m pretty sure I ran a red light at some point after that because I was in a trance.

Somehow we made it to Santa Monica safely, and no, I didn’t drive back home that night.

From that point on I made the super-easy decision to stick to side streets. Sure, that means I have to leave at least 15 minutes earlier than everyone else to arrive on time, but I’m cool with that. And on the rare occasions when I have no other choice but to get on the freeway, I grip the wheel tightly, forget procedure, and try to control my breathing as Murray said to do.

Now, if only I had a boyfriend to comfort me when I got to the exit.