Courtney Dercqu may be a 20-something, but she’s wise beyond her years.
Attention to all you thirty-somethings who have now become moms and dads, whose medicine cabinets bear the ability to fix scraped knees, instead of remedies to cure a hangover. Attention forty-somethings—as you’ve reached workplace promotions, your child’s first high school prom, and the death of your parent. Attention to all you fifty-somethings who talk about retirement, your son’s impending engagement, and your youngest going off to college. Attention to all of you—because, here right now, I have a message.
Before we begin, I’d like to tell you a little bit about myself. I’ve attended college, I’ve lived abroad. I’ve hiked up treacherous peaks that overlook the Pacific Ocean. I’ve written articles that have received attention across multiple social media platforms. I’ve been recognized as a hard worker in many ways. I’ve worked two jobs while still in high school, and then three while I was pursuing college. I sound like I have my act together, right?
Well according to one man, I don’t.
Why is this? It sounds, on paper, like I am headed on the right track, but to this one person—a person who I met in passing, an ordinarily fleeting blip in an otherwise normal morning, found the need to say to me that my experiences cannot matter. And, why? Because I’m only twenty-four.
The tone of his voice didn’t make me doubt myself. It didn’t annoy me, turn me off, or make me even feel entitled to convince him otherwise. It made me pity him—because even in later adulthood, he couldn’t see what I had already started to learn. This example is not one of coincidence either. My other twenty-something friends swap stories. We talk the “real talk.” We talk about what we are experiencing – and some of those things go way above and way beyond what this person’s idea of twenty-somethings should be.
To him, twenty-somethings are inexperienced. We lack knowledge. We lack motivation. We lack drive. After all, isn’t everything always handed to us? Aren’t we given new cars on our birthdays, jobs through our parents’ networking platform, and a perma-couch in our parent’s upstairs bedroom to crash on well into our late twenties? The Internet makes it seem that way sometimes. The media buzzes with jokes specifically aimed at the nonsenseness that is the mild life of a twenty-something.
But we’re more than that.
We’re the generation of hope. We’re the generation that is accepting of others—of race, of background, of orientation, and of style. We’re the generation that is creative. We have dreams that can reach mountains. We have ideas. We have goals.
Yes—sometimes we make mistakes. Sometimes we need to ask for a little extra help; sometimes we may need that extra push—but doesn’t everybody? What this man’s comment meant to me was that, not only was he wiser than I ever could be as a result of his experiences, but also that my experiences don’t count. In my short twenty-four years of existence, what could I possibly know about love, about heartbreak, and about desiring a life so full of passion that I will do anything I can to achieve it?Everything.
In the beginning of this piece, I called attention to the more than twenty-somethings. Well, now I’m calling attention to each of us.
To the twenty-somethings, who’ve fallen in deep, and troubling love. To the twenty-somethings who have endured turmoil of the sickest kind. To the twenty-somethings who work hard, play hard, who put all that they have into the end result of what they want. To the twenty-somethings who are moms, and dads, who put their children first despite what this man’s comments would be about their lack of common sense to do so. To the twenty-somethings whose hearts are full of love, full of hope, full of passion. This is about you: about what it means to be a twenty-something whose lives are made up through those experiences.
Because, the truth is that we’re different than what this man thinks of us. We’re more than any type of label that can be stitched onto us. After all, being a twenty-something in of itself is its’ own brand, and that my friends, never goes out of style.
Originally published on RealTalk.