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Dear Taylor Cotter,
At first I laughed. I mean who wouldn’t laugh at a headline on Gawker that says:
“22 year Old is very Upset that She didn’t get to be poor for awhile”
that include phrases like this:
“The things that really make you 22 are A) modeling your own life after the characters on Girls in exactly the same way that a previous generation did on characters from Sex and the City, while simultaneously harboring the belief that the depth of your worldview and artistic nature makes you vastly superior to that of anyone who would model themselves on something so gauche as a TV show character, and B) writing first-person essays on the internet that you will look back on with disgust. So rest easy, Taylor Cotter: you are 22.”
And then I, like so many, sighed at the innocence of life at 22.
But I read your article, Taylor, and I have to say I think I know what you meant. I don’t think for one second you’re ungrateful for your job & your apartment, car and freedom. I think you know just how lucky you are because, like you said, most of your peers are jobless and crashing with their parents. If you had the choice between eating ramen in your roach-infested apartment in Bushwick and the cushy apartment you have now and the swanky dinner you probably had last night celebrating your first Huffington post article, I’m getting the impression that you would choose the latter. But I think that’s the point of your article. You would consider, and maybe pretty hard, the first option—- pursuing your dreams along with your pals- warehouse parties till 5 am in Brooklyn, wondering where the next rent check was coming from, celebrating with cheap booze the first time someone pays you something decent for work—- there’s blood, sweat & tears in that method. There’s the chance for something really great— with great risk comes the potential for great reward. Your current path is…safer.
But I also think that it’s usually best to talk about something when you actually have the credibility to talk about it. Maybe wait 6 months or, hell, a year or two to talk about how different your path has been than your peers. My life changed drastically in my 22nd year, and in one day I learned that the things I thought mattered the day before no longer did. If you asked about life in July two months after I finished college and then asked the same question again in October, my answers would have been completely different. Plus you have a job that grown adults with families would KILL to have because they’ve been unemployed for months or even years…. So complaining about it or even dreaming of the life of your friends just comes across a bit….mean.
That being said, I know you’re a writer & often writers speak from inexperience. And editors post it because, well, controversy sells. We’re talking about you today, aren’t we?
And I get it….. the “Lena Dunham life” is something to aspire to. She’s 26, achieving most of her career goals so she’s throwing new ones in along the way, just bought her first house in Brooklyn, attending events like the Met Gala in gorgeous borrowed gowns Lena’s life seems so.. attainable— she recently was just like her character Hannah Horvath on Girls (I mean plus the NYC birth, Saint Ann’s K-12 Education and artist parents).
So as someone who thought 22 would look different than it did, and someone who knows a lot of people who experienced the same, just know that your version of 22 might look different than your college roomies. And look forward to the day when you’re 29 like me and you can hand out advice to younger people on the internet.
(That part was a joke. I’m inviting all you who are older & wiser to tell me how I have NO idea what is to come in life….But don’t tell me 30 is coming. Because it’s not. Ever)
What did you think? Is Taylor cray-cray? Do you agree/disagree? (Read article here)