Normal is the long wait. Normal is the anticipation. Normal is the high expectations and the little thought that is born in the same manner as your hopes, that is full of anger and disappointment. It is the “I told you so,” we know exists deep within us, the “I told you so,” we try to smother with drugs and drinks and a cropped top. It is the “I told you so,” that can not exist without the recklessness of youth. It is the “I told you so” of Youth with the most capital of a “Y,” made of everything we tell ourselves we should and could be doing.
I answered a similar question to this one last year. Here’s my answer.
I’d also like to add a couple of additions:
I read Rachel Kushner’s Flamethrowers this summer and was gripped by its rawness as much as everyone else. It felt like a critical book for young people in their 20s, especially young women. I’m usually hesitant to put that sort of label or designation on anything, but I think it applies to this book. I stand by that assessment firmly.
Last year, I wrote, “I recommend ANY of Rebecca Solnit’s writing,” and I stand by that statement. Her latest, The Faraway Nearby, grapples with how we tell stories and how we connect to others. I feel like your 20s are a time in which you reconcile with those feelings (and mind you, I say this as someone very much still in her 20s).
If you’re a single girl, I would recommend Anais Nin’s work. Just … yes.
I also think now is a good time to go back to stories that meant a lot to you when you were a child. Why were they so memorable? In what ways were you shaped by the characters in the stories? What did you see in them then that you can see in yourself now? I recently re-read Roald Dahl’s Matilda and it produced an epiphany. Here was confirmation of my love of literature and learning and using the mind to understand the external world.