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On being a 20-something city-slicker

Girls — JoJo Whilden/HBO

I just sat down and watched the entire HBO series Girls. I’d seen it mentioned enough times in all the hipster news sources, so figured it was time I gave it a go. Rather than talking about the series, though, I’d rather reflect on what it’s like to be a 20-something myself—trying to figure out a life while living in a big city.

When I was growing up I always imagined I’d move to New York City a la Friends or Sex and the City. I’m certain that I’ve romanticized life to a point I do wish I could squeeze myself into a sitcom, but by the time I had the actual chance, I didn’t take the risk. Instead I lived in Boston—a big city in its own special way.

Boston was (and I’m sure still is) a great city for 20-somethings, but I didn’t start taking the big risks in life until I gave up that whole spiel and moved abroad. In the Girls series, the main character, just out of college, is already starting to figure out her life—trying to live her dreams. Why didn’t I take the time when I was that young to live worry-free and take the big risks? I was more worried then about having a life plan, life goals and a retirement plan than I am today.

Now I’m not saying that I didn’t try to live my dreams in Boston, but by the time my mid-20s rolled around, my dreams were completely different. Instead of wanting to live in America’s epicenter of cool, I went off to shake things up on a gap year. My longing to still live in a big city with big-city friends, parties all the time and a sitcom lifestyle never died. Mix in my intense desire to live abroad, the many challenges of getting a work visa abroad, and wham bam thank you maam, here I am living in über-hip Berlin. It’s not the world’s biggest city but it just may be the most fun. And certainly the most hipster.

At the ripe ol’ age of 27, I’m living that 20-something life I always wanted in a big city: interesting friends & acquaintances, invitations to parties, dealing with bureaucracy, worrying about dating, about relationships, about finding jobs and making enough money to sustain life…the list goes on and on.

I’m young and I live in Berlin. Berlin-freaking-Germany. Life really is great for me, I know that. But as a 20-something from Generation Y (God, I really hate labels), I’m constantly searching for meaning. This can be daunting for a boy who sits behind a computer all day (and night). I like very much what I do, but sometimes I worry it’s still not what I really want. What do I really want? I don’t know. When will I know? I don’t know.

Then again, maybe I’m just thinking too much. And not working enough. But what is life if there’s no time to wander—whichever way I may go?

  1. Clairikine says:

    Oh goodness, whatever it is, please don’t think it’s because you’re not working enough. That shizz is a massive pit with no bottom.

    (Also: I like.)

  2. Efrutik says:

    Ahhhh the tender times and wishes of our 20s. I’m sometimes torn between wanting the wild life of partying and cool friends (things you have described really) and living in a big city. But then sometimes I wish that I had a stable job that was progressing into a career with prospects of self-sustainability. But then then the big elephant in the room is still here and that is “what am I supposed to be doing and what is it that I want to do?”. Thanks for sharing !

  3. Izy Berry says:

    I think that Berlin > NYC, to be honest.

    And I wonder if when we’re older, we’ll look back on our twenties and see them as kinda awkward., like I do my teens.


  4. Ayngelina says:

    One of the reasons I love Toronto is actually that it’s perfect for 30 somethings – it’s like being in your 20s but you have money.

  5. Home Movers says:

    Hi! I like your blog. I think you have shared your best time of life. I agree with you college time is more about to have fun with friends and not worrying about future plans. And live life with joy and fun.

  6. Britany Robinson says:

    So funny, I actually spent this past weekend watching the whole season of GIrls at my parents house while recovering from my wisdom teeth extraction. My favorite line was when Hannah is on the phone with the guy she’s sleeping with and says something like, “why are we all slaves to this city that doesn’t really want us?” I’m not getting that exact… but it struck a chord with me as a twenty-something living in NYC. Its totally frustrating, exhausting, and even over-rated at times. But it does make for a lifestyle full of good stories for when we’re remembering our twenties. And this is definitely the time to waste money on making memories!

  7. I don’t think you should worry about if you’re getting everything you want out of life yet. Just go with the flow! You can do the self-reflection in your 30s.

    I haven’t heard about Girls, maybe I’ll have to check it out. I’m actually getting back into Sex & the City, now that I’m starting to approach the age they were early in the series. That, plus the fact that I’m now a fulltime writer like Carrie, make the show relevant again. Plus, her silly words of wisdom always resonate (“Maybe the best any of us can do is play the hand we’ve been given and accessorize what we’ve got.”)

  8. Federico says:

    It’s so weird: everybody I know in Berlin (including myself) LOVES Girls. From the guy who just watches experimental japanese movies to the one who’s mainly into horror stuff. And none of my friends in Italy likes it… I guess you really have to do what we’re doing in order to find it real.

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