One minute you’re knocking back tequila shots at the student bar dressed as a Power Ranger, the next you’re trapped behind a desk for nine hours a day and consider perfecting your baking technique as the best use of your Saturday night.
Suddenly, it hits you. You’re in your mid-twenties and you wonder “how the hell did I get here?”
To make matters worse, despite two decades in education you quickly realise that adulthood is a lie. You haven’t the faintest clue what you’re doing – and neither does anyone else.
It’s no wonder then that shell-shocked people in their mid-twenties, and those way past that point, have replied in their thousands to an Ask Reddit thread which invited users to consider the question: “What sneaks up on you in your mid ‘20s?”
You've got massive responsibilities
“You need to be the catalyst for the significant changes in your life now. Now to make the next moves I actually need to decide what I want, seek it out and make it happen,” wrote one Reddit user.
And he's right. Want to realise your dream of speaking French? Or playing the guitar like Slash? Or scaling a mountain? It’s going to cost you. Both time and lots of effort. Now, every nugget of information on the planet has a price tag slapped on it, and you wish you paid a little more attention at school.
Want to get on in your career? There's no-one holding your hand anymore - you're on your own.
Suddenly almost everyone you know has a house, partner and kids
At this point in your life you will fall into one of two categories. The exhausted professional quietly congratulating themselves for wearing a matching pair of socks and an ironed shirt to work. Or the equally exhausted “real adult” with the marriage and the perfect children that everyone else gawps at on Facebook. Secretly, you post painstakingly curated status updates while mopping up your toddler’s vomit.
“All your friends getting married. At first it's like, "Whoa, Kat's getting married? That's crazy." and then next winter Ethan's engaged, and then another marriage, and a few more, and pretty soon you're at your third wedding that summer and everyone's like, 'It'll happen for you so soon. Don't worry!'," wrote one Reddit user.
Your body can no longer take the pace
You can’t remember the last time you snapped out of a hangover in a few hours, and the sudden realisation that lying in on the weekend messes with your sleeping pattern in the week makes you feel very, very, mortal indeed.
As one Reddit user put it: “20 = Get absolutely f***** trashed, puke all over the bathroom, wake up 2 hours earlier than normal feeling completely refreshed.”
“28 = Drink right up to the brink of nearly throwing up. Can't even look at a bottle of beer without getting queasy for the next 3 days.”
Dalai Lama's best words of wisdom
Dalai Lama's best words of wisdom
1/6 Dalai Lama
"Common sense tells us we‘ll be happy even if we’re poor if we’re warm-hearted, whereas if we’re wealthy but self-centred we’ll be miserable."
2/6 Dalai Lama
"With the realization of ones own potential and self-confidence in ones ability, one can build a better world."
3/6 Dalai Lama
"It is under the greatest adversity that there exists the greatest potential for doing good, both for oneself and others"
4/6 Dalai Lama
"Love and kindness are the very basis of society. If we lose these feelings, society will face tremendous difficulties; the survival of humanity will be endangered."
Dylan Martinez /REUTERS
5/6 Dalai Lama
“My religion is very simple. My religion is kindness. This is my simple religion. There is no need for temples; no need for complicated philosophy. Our own brain, our own heart is our temple; the philosophy is kindness."
2004 Getty Images
6/6 Dalai Lama
"No-one can afford to assume that someone else will solve their problems. Every individual has a responsibility to help guide our global family in the right direction."
You often have existential crises
As your friends – if you have any of those left – hand you your 25th birthday cards, you are filled with dread as you realise at least 25 per cent of your life has gone.
Oh, and you still have no clue what you want to do. You laugh nervously and thank them as you scream internally.
To make matters worse, you barely remember what you did with the past decade of your life, yet all of your embarrassing moments are still stored away in your brain.
“I barely remember last Friday. I must only exist in this moment. Oh wait, there are also those embarrassing things I did as a high school freshman,” wrote one Reddit user.
You have to deal with ridiculous expectations
You nod politely when your parents ask you if you have savings. If you don't actually speak, you’re technically not lying.
After all, they are of the generation that were homeowners with 2.4 children and a Saab when they met 30. You? For you, pay day is when you you throw your money into a black hole of rent and debt.
But on the plus side...
You're suddenly a lot more comfortable in your own skin
“Sorry, my mum says I’m not allowed,” isn’t really an acceptable answer in your mid-twenties when you are asked to something you don’t particularly want to.
Either you drown in the expectations of your friends, family, bosses, and the hum of your harsh internal monologue or you just decide to care a little less.
Do you still want to hang out in cheap bars that your friends like? No. Are you going to save the world with your career? Probably not.
Will you feel bad about binge-eating fried chicken and watching Netflix for hours on the weekend because you’re truly exhausted? Not one bit.
As one Reddit user bluntly put it: “Six months ago I was a depressive wreck. Today I don't give a flying f***. Life's great now!”Reuse content