Nor am I scrabbling on any greasy careerist downslope, battling perky interns etc. The only real somatic difference between myself now and at twenty five is probably... a much better VO2 max, a more stable mental health situation, minus fifteen kilos and plus a medium set of crows' feet. It could be a lot worse, and I am very grateful.
So I can't really speak for the shitty bits of getting older and I'm not one to sugarcoat any shit so please do take encouragement from that, especially if you're twenty and despairing. Indulge me while I ladle some sloppy slow-cooked advice into your unwitting cranial crockery because it is honestly intended and I'm going to do it anyway.
- The ape-made world has always been crap- it's not just now, and it's not just you. We are bald monkeys with data plans. Don't get it twisted.
- The intellect and personal resources that have seen you though adolescence will mature into both viable ark and armoury- if you give them a chance. Please do.
- Youth is oversold for a wide range of reasons. A lot of non-youths like spectating other peoples' juvenile phases because their own unacknowledged shortcomings are kicking in and they're telling themselves life was better when the tits were perkier. Don't buy into their heavily-edited nostalgia. Grit your teeth, live your twenties out and don't expect too much of them. Stop trying to predict other peoples' behaviour or societal direction because you can't see enough of the curve to anticipate that shit yet. No one knows what the fuck they're doing when they're seriously young; some people are just better at wearing adult cosplay and making adult noises.
- If you're doing life right, you will like yourself more as you get older so don't consider ending it all until you're at least 35, lol. If your opinion of yourself is declining with every birthday, stop doing the crap that's driving that. Spend your third decade weeding yourself of your worst habits and poisonous tendencies. Spend money getting help, if you need it. Go without everything else to get that help. I'm still benefiting from the therapy I booked myself in my twenties- best. investment. ever.
- Also- and this is still controversial, I know- avoid going to university or accruing student debt unless you can't reasonably dodge it or are possessed of an utterly exigent passion for something you literally cannot do without those overpriced pieces of paper. Most degrees are a fucking pyramid scheme and a monetised arms race no one can win. Everyone will try and frontload your life with anxieties and responsibilities and liabilities while you are still too dumb to know better, and much of that force is hostile, or at least passive-aggressive. Miserable people on shitty trajectories want company- don't volunteer. No one I know regrets punking out of university when serious fees were introduced. If you tend to your intellect you really do get smarter as you get older; I could do a degree in my fucking sleep now. Personally, I would have gotten a trade instead.
- If you must get into debt, buy a fucking real-world asset. A house. Any house. But don't spend too much all at once because a house won't fix what's fucked about your life- it's just a box to live in. Buy a shitty house in the shittiest area you can stomach and then be the upgrade. Fix that shit up. Inclusively gentrify. Plant a garden. Join a community group. Defend your environment. Don't be a cunt to your neighbours. Go about in public as a viable, contented person and you might find people want to join you.
- Learn to do as much for yourself as you can. Practical skills are honourable and necessary. Being useless will make you miserable. Be able to do at least three things really well.
- Ignore gender roles and expectations. In every possible context.
- If you're not cut out for a formal career, don't allow yourself to be shamed by anyone for not shouldering the misery of forced participation. The workforce is full of catsbumfaces. We are what we do, not our hourly rate.
- Try to earn enough money to be happy. You'll know when you come across happiness, so take note of the conditions that produced it and remember them- write if down if you have to. More money won't make you happier. You'll just spend more, which signifies nothing.
- Enjoy the happiness you get from a good relationship, (and the conditions for happiness are diagnostic of a good one) but don't expect it to make you happy. A balanced partnership is the soil and sunlight of contentment, but you have to cough up the seeds yourself.
There is no passive, romantic endless love that happens all picturesquely with white tablecloths and shiny hair and no morning breath, so stop chasing it; that shit is just cuntstrike and dickmatisation. Everything about your relationship will fade and die unless you make the effort to actively love your partner. That is a creative process.
Accept that not everyone wants or needs the long game- some people really are happier chasing the nitrous high of initial engagement, so let them go about their business. If that is you, don't lie to get it, because that is weak dealing.
Never break up out of petulance; eat shit and beg forgiveness because you can be an arsehole like everyone else, so don't be a lonely regretful arsehole for no good reason.
Sometimes you won't be able to stand the fucking sight of your long-term partner. That is normal; wait forty eight hours before your burn their clothes.
Some people are broken beyond repair, no matter how much you love them. That is a real thing. They are often worthy of love, and you might be strong and stubbornly resourceful enough to make up for their intractable deficits- that might even be your most meaningful purpose- but most people are not. Be careful.
- Don't let anyone shit on your enduring urge to wear black and deviate. They jelly. Fuck them.
R and I formulated this theory that you really are who you are when you're about 12, and I like that idea.
EDIT: The Kermadec region has been declared a marine park yaaay! Shell has confirmed it is withdrawing from its evil Arctic drilling plans! Fuck oil! Yaaaaay!