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. 

IMG_0437.jpg

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

'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.

IMG_4932.jpg

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.

The Art Of Starting Over

It’s your place in the world; it’s your life. Go on and do all you can with it, and make it the life you want to live.
— Mae Jemison

“How fearless are you?”

Cosmopolitan’s monthly quiz stared me in the face. I checked off my answers not the slightest bit surprised at the final results. Well, maybe a little.

Mostly C’s: Frozen with Fear – Girl, you have to live a little outside your comfort zone. No need to go full Daenerys, but part of being a grown up is taking a few calculated chances so that life doesn’t always pass you by. I didn’t even bother to read the rest. I felt attacked. Contrary to popular belief I did take risks, just not the ones I really wanted to.

At least not anymore.

IMG_0911.jpg

When I moved to New York almost three years ago, I had two suitcases filled with my belongings and the biggest of dreams. Since I was 13 all I wanted was to work at a major magazine and to see my name in print. And when I finally made it all happen, my family, friends, and hell, even my hometown were proud. I, on the other hand, felt differently.

Magazine life wasn’t at all what I expected it to be.

The clickbait. The incredibly catty co-workers. It just wasn’t what I signed up for. In less than a year of “living the dream” I found myself slacking off at work, hiding out in the bathrooms, and leaving work frustrated and running straight to the movie theater (multiple times a week, I may add) for comfort. And it was doing that last thing so often that planted a seed in my head that maybe I was never meant to be a magazine editor, but instead something else. But, instead of taking another risk and leaving New York right then and there, I stuck it out for two more years. Because of the good moments, I tethered between thinking this discomfort was all in my head and if it was the real thing. (Spoiler alert: It was the real thing.)

I started to wonder if I was in New York because I really wanted to be there or because someone once told me I wouldn’t be. After taking a screenwriting class at NYU, I knew it was most definitely the latter.

The prospect of writing movies excited me, but I kept hearing this nagging voice in the background of my happy thoughts. Did I really want to start over? What would people think about me if I threw my “dream job” away to do something else? In reality I shouldn’t have cared what others thought, but I’m human, so I did. I’d become the person I’d wanted to be for so long. Admitting I wasn’t happy would mean I’d made a mistake with my life and that wasn’t something I was ready to do.  

From the moment I arrived in New York, the place had become part of my identity. The first question out of anyone’s mouth whenever I visited home was, “So how’s the city treating you?” “Still liking it up there?” or “You’re living the dream.” Every time I heard either one of those things, I got a little more frustrated. It’s like the inside of me would scream, "CAN’T SOMEONE ASK ME HOW I AM. NOT THE CITY. I desperately wanted someone to ask me how I was so I could give them the real answer: I was not fine. I craved something different. Something more.

Then one day I just got tired of pretending I was okay.

So I made a crazy decision: I applied to a nearly-year-long screenwriting program at UCLA, got in (praise dance), quit my job (ahem, without another one lined up), and moved to Los Angeles with nine suitcases this go-round. A few month’s worth of hot-California-days later, here I am. So far it’s been an adventure. An interesting and at times totally overwhelming one, but an adventure nonetheless.

For the longest time, I wondered if I’d come to regret giving up my New York dream. If I’d made a mistake thinking I, of all people could write a film, but week after week as I sat in my screenwriting classes I know I didn’t. Being able to work at so many magazines in New York City was a gift, but in the words of Eva Chen, “it was also a gift to be able to know when something is no longer right for me.”

In short: Starting over is never easy, but if my journey is any consolation, it’s definitely worth it in the end.

*Also if you couldn’t already tell, I decided to start over with blogging too and I hope you’ll follow along as Alexis Goes West.

Photo Credit: Jessica Susana