1. Assuming I will have children.
Between a huge societal pressure to pop one out, as well as my parents not so subtly asking when they get to have grandchildren, having kids was something I sort of just assumed I would do when the clock started ticking.
Seeing friends succumb to a life of half-finished conversations and changing nappies does something to a person. All of a sudden I went from “Of course I’ll have kids” to “Maybe I’ll spend the rest of my life drinking rum in Belize.”
2. Always needing my parents’ approval.
As a kid, my parents were my encyclopedias. They knew all the answers from “Why does our dog bark?” to “What should I do about my boss who is underpaying me?” It took until my early twenties to realize my parents are humans too, and they don’t know everything.
3. Small talk.
I’d honestly rather talk to no one and seem like an asshole than question you about your career or talk about the hectic weather caused by climate change.
4. How many likes I get on social media.
Whether it’s bragging about all the travel I’ve done through Instagram, trying to be the wittiest person on Twitter, or snapping the perfect selfie on Snapchat, I, like many others, have been sucked into the black hole of seeking satisfaction through social media at some point.
As a travel writer who thought they could take a short cut through social media, I made the mistake of getting a little too invested in Instagram. I’d be off exploring, but focusing on what angle of the waterfall my followers would like best, missing the moment (although it looked great with a VSCO filter). It took until my late 20s to realize I’d rather enjoy my brunch than feel obliged to take a photo of it so people I don’t know can give me gratification in the form of little orange hearts.
5. Caring about getting a high mark on my assignments.
I spent my undergrad years pulling No Doz and stress-fuelled all-nighters to make sure my essay was as perfect as it could be, only to find when I interviewed for jobs that not a single employer asked for my transcript. So when my masters rolled around, I figured why study my ass off to get a high distinction when I could get a credit, graduate with the same piece of paper and spend every Thursday night playing trivia at the uni bar?
6. Staying in to watch Netflix on Saturday night instead of partying.
There was once something awfully depressing about missing a night out. I would spend all evening miserable, imagining all the fun everyone else was having while I was stuck inside with tracksuit pants on and a severe case of FOMO.
Fast forward to my twenties and I’m literally celebrating when a friend cancels plans so I can have a night in to myself.
7. Living out the Australian dream of owning a house and getting married.
Up until my twenties, I took for granted that one day I would have a perfect little family and the white picket fence to go with it. Thanks to Australia holding the title of ‘second most expensive property market in the world’ and Tinder only matching me with the dregs of society, that dream seems less and less of a reality.
A huge chunk of my twenties has been devoted to being comfortable with this reality. Who needs a house when I can have passport stamps? And who needs a partner when I can Netflix and chill alone without having to feel embarrassed that I’m reaching for my third Krispy Kreme?
8. Needing to be in a relationship to be happy.
I spent most of my early twenties chasing relationships. See me dancing up to you at a bar? Cute guy in band starts talking to me on Facebook? I was probably mentally planning our first date.
Then the mid-twenties hit.
My youth suddenly seemed to be slipping through my fingers and I was clutching at it in every way I could, including appreciating the freedom that comes with being single. Instead of feeling like I was in a race to the altar, I started sprinting in the other direction. I have the rest of my life to be in relationships and be married, so I’m appreciating one-night stands and having the freedom to be entirely selfish while I can.
9. Having Miranda Kerr’s body.
This was a hard one, made harder by the rise of fitspo Instagrams, but my twenties made me realize I don’t have to look like a Victoria’s Secret model to be attractive.
Instead of spending hours at a gym and eating steamed vegetables for all three meals, I would rather indulge in chocolate every now and then, spend half an hour at the gym and live my life with a healthy, attainable figure.
10. Knowing where I am headed in every aspect of life.
At the start of my twenties, I thought I knew where I was headed. I had career goals and a stable relationship. I could see the path in front of me like it was the yellow brick road and I was Dorothy.
I now have no clear career goals; live between two cities and the only constant in my life is my rejecting of any form of stability.