I think by now the salespeople at Anthropologie just know.
It’s so nice of them to ask me if they can help me or if I need a shopping bag, but when I’m scouring the sales racks for markdowns in my band shirt, thrift-store moccasins, and denim cutoffs that are fraying to no end, I simply think they have to be aware that I will not be purchasing anything priced above $20, so, in that case, my selection is narrowed to maybe 1 salt and pepper shaker and/or a pair of damaged earrings.
But that doesn’t mean I’m not going to still look at and try on all the pretty dresses, smell every single heaven-scented $75 candle, and caress the handcrafted kitchen collections as if I were Martha Stewart.
Every single book I read or blog I bookmark or movie I watch about people in their twenties seems so romantically tragic. Everyone’s broke-as-a-joke but still looks so put together, living in a rundown apartment with “charm” and quirks, working jobs that make no sense with their skillset or seem to “kill their dreams”, but through it all, writing their screenplays or songs or memoirs in hopes that one day they’ll be discovered and successful and their lives will come together and crescendo like a good last song on a decent indie record.
So that’s…real life?
Unfortunately, no one ever actually managed to print the manual on making it through life when you feel like a kid and an adult at once and every single person over the age of 30 that I seem to inquire about their twenties always takes a deep breath or lets out a nervous laugh and says, “oh, you could never pay me to be 22 again.”
I wish I could stop writing about my twenties. I wish I could have more useful knowledge than the cheapest parking downtown or the best songs to put on a playlist, but I’m just not there yet. I’m not a Norman Rockwell painting of life experience, but I am, in fact, hungry.
And aren’t I supposed to “stay hungry”?
Staying hungry was always an expression that evaded me. It seemed dumb and worn out and lame- as if hungering would do anything useful. It seemed to sit right next to “starving artist” and I had no patience for that, considering I actually enjoy food and eating, and everyone that I knew that considered themselves “artists” seemed to spend more time complaining about world poverty while ordering overpriced coffee than making actual art.
But I think I’m supposed to be very hungry at 22 right now – whether it’s the hunger for a better job, hunger for figuring out who the heck I’m supposed to be or simply hungering for better plans on a Saturday night. I think the constant dissatisfaction that my twentysomething generation seems to ramble on about, whether it be privileged upper-middle-class bloggers (oh hi!) or blue-collar beer-drinking barstool rants, can be put to good use. Sure, dissatisfaction can breed apathy, but what if it bred “do better” instead? Or at the very least, what if it bred just a little bit of action?
Staying hungry can drive you to something, right? Staying hungry can mean waking up in the middle of the night and sacrificing sleep to write down some semblance of a great idea that actually sounds put together, right? Staying hungry can mean staying late, even at a job you’re not in love with yet to go above and beyond, right? Staying hungry can mean investing your time in real face-to-face relationships instead of online videos and shopping bags, right? Staying hungry can mean having an overwhelming sense of confidence in yourself and your life, even when you’re working for tips or an unpaid internship, right? Staying hungry can literally mean spending too much of your paycheck on concert tickets because you want to work in music and adore it and subsequently convincing yourself the next week that Ramen and toast and coffee is an acceptable diet, right?
And on a totally related note and story that I wish I was making up – my macbook charger literally just died completely while writing this post. So don’t worry, I’ll go ahead and prioritize technology and kiss the rest of my bank account goodbye when I swipe my debit card at the Apple store in the next few days.
But hey, at least I’ll be…hungry?