10. Age 23
Sorry, 23-year-olds, but this year is total shit. You’re a year or two removed from college and reaching a legal drinking age, but you’re not mature enough to have actually figured out what you want to do with your life. Drinking and partying is getting old, but you’re equally bored by staying home. Basically everything is terrible. Ask a bunch of over-30 people what the worst year of their twenties was and they will inevitably tell you that when they were 23, everything fell apart and they had no idea who they were anymore or WTF they were doing with themselves. Be strong, better years are coming.
9. Age 20
Being 20 is the purgatory of life. You are no longer a teen but no one treats you like an adult either. You can join the Army, vote, date a 40-year-old (don’t), buy porn, smoke cigarettes, you probably even pay taxes — but you can’t DRINK (legally). Three-hundred sixty-five days of waiting to turn 21. Have fun with that. :(
8. Age 26
As one of my coworkers just said, “26 is the year that you wake up and realize someday you’re going to die.” Twenty-six is a mortality year — you’re now closer to 30 than you are to 20, and it’s when you first experience genuine pressure to settle down and, like, have your shit together already. This is the year of most people’s dreaded “quarter-life crisis,” and with good reason. You’re going to die someday, and you’re one year closer to it.
7. Age 24
Nothing really happens when you’re 24. You’re a little too old to be magically young and alive and all “YOLO,” but a little too young to be jaded and apathetic. You just are. It’s OK.
6. Age 27
As long as you don’t die, this year is pretty OK. If you’re lucky, you’ll regress back to your younger years and this will be your one last hurrah before the comfortable late-twenties dive into adulthood. Maybe one last big drinking mistake or some terrible dating decisions? Just don’t die. That also happens.
5. Age 21
Twenty-one is the New Year’s Eve of ages: It could be really, really fun if there weren’t so many goddamn expectations. But there are, and 21 never quite lives up to them. You expect to wake up when you turn 21 feeling different just because you’re able to walk into a bar? Chances are, you’ll just feel hungover instead. Get used to that feeling, it’ll last all year.
4. Age 29
Congratulations, you’re almost 30! Twenty-nine is just fine, usually quite sedate, but you will definitely no longer feel like you’re “in your twenties” no matter what the numbers say. The idea of you relating to the 21-year-olds above? LOL. Twenty-nine is also the year that you will first start noticing yourself turning into your parents, and yet you don’t really mind? Good riddance, twenties.
3. Age 25
Twenty-five is cool. It’s a pleasing number in and of itself, for one thing. It means you’re halfway through your twenties, which by the time you reach 25 will be a total relief. But you’re not close enough to your thirties to start worrying about that quite yet. This is a good year to flirt and dance and see your friends as often as possible, because pretty soon you’ll have to start actually worrying about things.
2. Age 22
Twenty-two is the year 21 should have been, because there’s no pressure. Have fun!
1. Age 28
Whew — 28 is the best year of your twenties. Not because of the spectacular partying (see: 22) or because you’ll magically have everything figured out (see: never), but because 28 is the year when you’re finally able to accept that no one actually “feels” like a grown-up and it’s OK that you don’t either. And it’s also OK that you never want another Jägermeister shot and that crowded shows make you want to crawl under a blanket forever. Just enjoy that blanket, 28-year-old you.