My 20s (The Asshole Years)

your 20s

I have two younger brothers in their 20’s. The older of the two is turning 29 this year and in honor of his last year as a twenty-something, I’m sharing my take on this important decade.

Dear Brothers,
When I was in my 20’s I was a real asshole, as was just about everyone I’ve ever known who passed through that decade. I’m not at all saying that you two specifically are assholes and I don’t mean to offend anyone reading this. Every decade that we have the honor of living gets summed up with the virtue of hindsight and I like to refer to my 20’s as The Asshole Years. I use the word as a way to describe how people in their 20’s are sometimes perceived and if we’re lucky enough to be over 30, we were assholes too (and might still be). These are my experiences and you may or may not relate to them.  End of disclaimer.

Despite being uncertain about the future, you will never know such steadfast confidence. A lot of that is due to the fact that you think you know everything. When we’re in our 20’s, we discover the power of forming opinions and then, of course, voicing those opinions…to everyone…whenever the whim hits us…without care for the consequences. I still cringe at some of the opinions I voiced and soapboxes I stood on in my 20’s. I can picture what friends/family/coworkers must have said (because I’ve said the same thing). Don’t be so hard on her. She’s in her 20’s. She’s just an asshole.

This isn’t something to be ashamed of. Knowing how and when to voice opinions is something we learn slowly and it takes practice. I’m still practicing, with mixed results. When I was 20-something, I was trying to be an equal and I wanted to be treated with respect. Sometimes, we are respected more for what we don’t say when we could than by what we do say because we can.

This is your Golden Age of confidence. The confidence you have now allows you to take risks without crumbling if you get it wrong because you assume you’ll have a lifetime to make up for it. You may beat yourself up now, but believe me when I say that you’re more forgiving of your mistakes in your 20’s than you will be later on. I lost some of my confidence in my 30’s, mainly because I was more aware of consequences and I second guessed myself. People are also less tolerant of asshole-ishness because they figure we should know better by the time we reach our 30’s. Enjoy being an asshole while you can.

You will learn about boundaries. Popular media frequently calls 20-somethings selfish but I don’t see it that way. What is perceived as selfishness is really the lack of boundaries. The 20-somethings I know are incredibly generous but that may come from their willingness to say yes and commit without thinking it through. When you know something is right, you act (case in point, I got married at 24) but the “sure, why not” attitude that comes with being in your 20’s can lead people to think you’re flaky. I think back to the times when I said I’d do something and then backed out. Jobs I accepted and quickly quit. Committing, then not showing up (literally and metaphorically).

It’s not because I was selfish but because I’d jump quickly without having all the facts. I also wanted to please people and taking on responsibility earned me respect. At the time, I really didn’t feel all that bad about changing my mind. After all, why should I go through with something that I didn’t want to do? But it’s one of the reasons why people think you’re an asshole.

But when you do commit, it’s something to admire. The young warriors who protect our families, our cities, our country. Committing to raising a family during a time when many of your friends are still waking up in strange places. Being true to your art instead of climbing the corporate ladder. Standing up for what you believe in, so adamant and hopeful.

This is the time to take stands, to yell your beliefs from the tops of mountains, to stand up for others, protest, rally and vote. Discuss, argue, debate, test your opinions and change your mind. Your 20’s are a vital building block of your morals, character and values. Stand tall.

You will never be more physically resilient than you are right now. Notice I didn’t say healthy. I’d argue that I’m much healthier at 43 than I was at 23 but it’s directly tied to the choices I make about how to treat my body and what to put in it. When you’re in your 20’s, your body will bounce back easier despite what you put it through. Anyone who has gone through a midlife crisis and tried to pull all-nighters and drink till dawn knows that you can party like a 20 year old but you won’t recover like a 20 year old. My body was a gift that I took for granted and often abused. Don’t do that.

Some random thoughts:

  • Your face will always break out. Forever. Whoever told you that zits were for teenagers lied. Having said that, your face will never be as soft and unmarred in your adulthood as it is right now. I just want to pinch your sweet cheeks.
  • People don’t envy your youth as much as you think they do. I was convinced that anyone who was condescending to me was just jealous that I was young. It’s not true. They just thought I was an asshole. You couldn’t pay me to relive my 20’s.
  • Dress the part. Look awesome, be hip and own your style. I remember this super short skirt I wore at business meetings just because I could. You can get away with a lot in your 20’s.
  • Life is short. It’s really, really short. Not everyone makes it out of their 20s (as our family tragically knows) so be aware that every day is a gift. There has always been a part of me that assumed I’d have another tomorrow but never as much as when I was in my 20’s. Take care of you.

I really love you, assholes, and I’m proud of you.

Love,
Sister

247 Comments on “My 20s (The Asshole Years)

  1. Great advice to pass on! I saw the title of this post and had to check it out because I refer to my twenties as “the stupid years.” Yup, did lots of stupid things, brave things, and things I would not do now because I have personal boundaries. Great to discover your blog. Thanks for coming by mine!

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    • I found you through a comment you left on Big Lizzie’s site! Yes, personal boundaries are a must and not something I learned until long after my 20’s. Thanks for stopping by! 🙂

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      • I have only been able to establish real personal boundaries just in the last year and a little bit (with the help of hypnotherapy). It seems like on my next birthday I’ll be two! Love Lizzy!!!!

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  2. quarter-life crisis=asshole years! there’s indeed a lot to enjoy about rather than being worried to many things because life is short. love your post! have a good day!

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  3. Ohhhhh…yes. THAT’S what I was and didn’t know. Bless’em, sweet, idealistic, clueless a**holes…

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  4. Fellow asshole (21 year old) here. Good luck to you too! 😀

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  5. wow now i know …. lol finally am selfish and think about me now

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  6. From one Karen to another – this is a very well written post! Thank you for this moment of reflection and introspection. Have an awesome week! 🙂

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  7. “Despite being uncertain about the future, you will never know such steadfast confidence.”

    true. when i was in my 20s, my confidence bordered on arrogance. now i’m still an asshole, just a more settled asshole, lol

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      • Keep in mind, too, that only sometimes is “being an asshole” an Objective thing… alot of times it’s Subjective… people choosing to be hurt, offended ,etc. I’m not giving license to be an ass, but just be aware that if some one doesnt fit your fancy, you do always have the choice to walk away or at least tune it out and go about your business.

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  8. I just turned 23 and wrote a list similar to this on my blog haha. Yes, I would agree with everything you are saying. It’s terrible because I consciously know I am being an asshole but I can’t seem to stop myself. I still got 7 years left of this so I better figure it out soon… or maybe just embrace it? 😉

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  9. Wonderful, wonderful post.
    It’s remarkable the abuse 20-somethings put their body through…the sensation of being Untouchable [in an immortal since of course, not the Dalit sense] is astounding.There is no undoing the damage, just owning it and educating yourself on issues to make proper changes.

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  10. Terrific post.

    Recently I posted a question to my bloggin’ buddies, asking them some questions to offer anonymous advice to the 21-year old daughter of a close friend who is facing medical issues that may make her infertile. Her mom wants her to freeze some eggs, but R doesn’t want, repeat, does not want, to have children, ever. So I asked the following:

    What were your plans and dreams at 21? Are they different from the dreams you had at 31? At 41?

    Did you make any decisions at 21 that you would change if you could?

    Did you want to have children when you were 21?

    Would you change anything?

    NOW, after reading your post, I realize that R, just like her mom and me who became friends during our own asshole decade, is just being an asshole.

    Are there any short-term fixes?

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    • The only short term fix (that would’ve worked for me) is to make it sound like it’s her idea. Appeal to the ego, which is so strong in the amaze-hole (my new word) years. You can’t prepare her for the heartbreak that she might someday feel when she decides she wants a baby and can’t have one. I couldn’t even conceive of it when I was in my 20’s.

      I insisted that I never wanted kids until I was 37. Then, my biological clock started ticking and I was frantic to have a baby before I was 40. My husband and I were able to have two kids right after each other but not everyone is so lucky. I’m so grateful that I didn’t have to plan ahead to have kids in my 20’s because I absolutely would’ve made the wrong choice.

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  11. I’m going to be entering this asshole phase soon. Thanks for some of the early warnings, maybe I can circumvent some of those things! Or perhaps I should just proceed wildly and blindly, and save the hindsight for my 30’s…

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    • That’s what I would do! Just enter the amaze-hole (my new word for it) phase and save the analyzing for later. That’s the best any of us can do anyway. 🙂

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  12. Really enjoyed this! I am in my very early 20’s and am guilty of committing and never showing up. “Sure, why not” is commonly used in my life right now. However, I’m not one to stay up until 3AM dancing and drinking. I do cherish my sleep.
    “Being true to your art instead of climbing the corporate ladder.” That hits me deep. There’s probably not a day in the work week where I don’t think of quitting and pursuing something I REALLY want to do. Definitely has made me think. I need to embrace my asshole years, and be more of an asshole! Many thanks for this!!

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  13. This was great! I look back at my early 20s, and was chomping at the bit so hard to be respected in Corporate America yet I was this punky kid who thrashed at conformity, it was all so contradictory. Picture a kid who wanted so badly to march up the suit and tie echelons at a 15,000 employee corporation while returning home to throw on baggy pants and a hoodie, race his cobbled together car, and go watch some bands play wherever they could land a gig. Asshole indeed I was haha. Thank you for this!!! Much love and respect.

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  14. “Being true to your art instead of climbing the corporate ladder. Standing up for what you believe in, so adamant and hopeful.

    This is the time to take stands, to yell your beliefs from the tops of mountains, to stand up for others, protest, rally and vote. Discuss, argue, debate, test your opinions and change your mind. Your 20′s are a vital building block of your morals, character and values. Stand tall.”

    Exactly the reinforcement I needed to hear!!! I have been struggling with myself wondering what I am doing with my life and where am I going and if I am making the right decisions. I may not fit in with the rest of my friends who work in offices but at least I’m trying to discover and build a life I love.

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  15. This piece is so many levels of awesome that I DON’T EVEN!!! Thank you for writing it. I can definitely attest to it’s ‘truthiness!’

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  16. I love this!!! They really are the asshole years! Brilliant!

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  17. hmmmm My 20’s were 40 years ago. The time DID go by much too quickly. I’ve made my share of mistakes…and yes, I’ve been an asshole sometimes, too. The two most important lessons I think I’ve learned now are 1. tell your loved ones how much they mean to you today (we’ve lost several young adults in our family as well as some unexpected, sudden deaths) 2. there is a bright light in every one of life’s dark room.

    May you live an awesome life.

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  18. Great read. I just turned 29 on Wednesday, so I’m kind of ready to get to thirty. The funny thing I noticed is there is a HUGE difference in attitude from your early 20’s to your late 20’s. The crap you cared about in your early 20’s(like impressing someone, caring what someone thinks, being upset if someone doesn’t agree with you), just flies out the window by the time you hit 27. I’ve gotten to where I could care less what someone else’s opinion is of me, let alone if we have differing opinions. To each their own. If someone laughs at my wardrobe, that’s fine; I bought it anyway, even if it did come from a thrift store fire sale. Again, great read.

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    • Even though we’re legally adults at 18, I didn’t really feel grown up until I was 20. By the time I hit my late 20’s, I realized how much of that was just playing grown up! Enjoy your last year in this decade. They’re all special in their own way.

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  19. I remember when I was in my 20’s, at least I think I do. No wait, that was my 30’s. Anyway, I’ll take you at your word when you say I was just like them waay back then. Insightful, look forward to reading more.

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  20. I missed the a**hole memo in my 20’s; jumped straight into “what do I even know about anything?” mode. Now I’m 30… does this mean I never get to be an a**hole? What have I done?! *insert (another) early midlife crisis here*

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  21. Who ever said 20’s are the best years of your life are lying…Its difficult being in your 20’s. Youth is definitely wasted on the young. You have all the energy and confidence but no money and experience.

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    • It is hard to be in your 20’s but for me, they are years I’m glad to have lived the way I did (mistakes and all)! Anyone can make money and experience comes with time.

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  22. Absolutely riotous!

    My perspective on this issue is a bit more obtuse than many, I’m sure. It’s really all about me, me, me. My eldest progeny is turning 19 soon & this event has started my wheels churning. Being 30 years his senior, that means next year is going to be a pretty big deal…for me at least, I doubt my little budding a@@hole will see the significance; other than maybe as an op to bust on mom (“gee, you’re older than sh@@ mom”).

    One thing that has come of all this hysteria over age, decades, and the propulsion of my little boy into adulthood has been this thematic review of All Things 80’s. Yeah, funny; my 14 year old is completely intrigued by the ways of the world in 1985…the year I became an a@@hole. And a tacky over-hairsprayed one at that.

    However, after reading your succinct expose’, I have to admit that I have had an epiphany; we were absolutely lame a@@holes.

    Like yeah, crushing into a discotheque with our netherregions barely covered by our mini and fat belt combo..Jean Nate unctuous in the air; the throng pushing towards the pink leopard print foisted bar in a rush to see who would be the first to score that new shooter called a BJ…yeah, we were IT.

    WE danced with a robot that was lowered from the ceiling; WE ruled the world.

    Truth be told, we only THOUGHT we were the most tubular a@@holes the world had ever seen. But like everything in the neonclad 80’s; we flopped miserably at being history’s biggest a@@holes.

    Lol. Thank you for bringing me back into the know. Loved the post.

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    • I had to go to your blog and check you out before I could reply to your comment. You’re hilarious and I agree with you completely! I thought I was so cool with my 80’s dyed hair and black eyeliner. I was the ultimate amaze-hole! Thanks for your most excellent comment.

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      • Ty, ty, and ty! It’s a pretty funny retrospective isn’t it: what we thought was jammin’ when we started to wear our big girl pants. I think what I dig most about this post of yours is how well received it is with the a@@holes. LOL! (I only laughed because I said a@@hole. I love to curse.) And what is most awesome & a credit to you: yesterday my oldest kid did a jump from the cool big kid/older teen side of the fence to total a@@hole…he hasn’t even turned 19 yet..and he didn’t run hurdles in high school…so how he got over that thing so fast is beyond me. Prior to reading your blog…this post…and all of the awesome comments, I probably would have broken down in tears. However, thanks to you and your readers I have a new mantra…”only twelve more years, twelve more years…it’s okay, he’s just an a@@hole right now” and then I get back to what I was doing. So I bow to you in grandest of appreciative stances possible for my fat old ass (it used to have a hole in it my golly). 🙂 I was also inspired and wrote a symbolic poem to him…gotta post it and then tag him on FB when I link it over to share with everyone. Lmao.

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  23. I knew everything in high school. Makes me cringe!

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  24. As a 19 year coming into the 20’s era of my young life, I really really appreciate what you had written up here. Admittedly, I am an asshole. A proud one at that. Hahahahaha. I am impulsive and I do regard boundaries as a thing that can be out stretched despite my constant half-assed attempts at various things I have supposedly committed to like quitting being a waiter after a week or failing all my piano exams. I see that you have lived life well to share your words of wisdom with those of us who are just about to step into the 20 zone. Thank you. I laughed at this blog post because it was funny but I also had multiple epiphanies because of how thought provoking it was also. Makes me really think about the next ten years. My body is a highly metabolically capable machine that is weekly put in a dietary war zone. Every word here is relatable. Thank you most of all for making me feel as though I am united with other about-to-be-20 in our asshole-like characteristics. God bless!

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    • Thank you! The issue with boundaries was probably the hardest lesson for me to learn and it followed me into my 30’s. I hope you squeeze every ounce of life out of your 20’s!

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    • I am 19 years old as well and reading this article made me laugh hysterically because it was all true. I never thought how much I really am like that. You made me think really hard about the next ten years of my life. Thanks

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  25. Great post! I am 29 and I have (in the past 2 or 3 years) become aware of some of my own past asshole behavior (especially any time before 26). Live and learn 🙂

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  26. I m 21…. Your so called asshole age…. I dont knw if i ll evr call it lyk dis or not….
    I read oll ur post…. M quite facinated…. Kind of fan

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  27. Hi Karen…very very interesting, at nearly 50, I feel your too harsh on your former 20 decade self. Your 20’s, (on the heels of the Morrissey teen-angst years), is when you find your voice. It’s exciting and terrifying figuring it out, college, working, learning to support yourself, commitments & break-ups, maybe starting a family (since that happened in my 30’s I still cherish all that blessed freedom in my 20’s), — but why do you feel you were an a**hole going through this decade of fine-tuning into an amazing adult you are? 🙂 your cousin, Barb

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    • See, family always has your back! I don’t think I’m being harsh on myself or others. I’m just describing why us older folks get annoyed with 20-somethings and explaining that it’s really just miscommunication. Just for you, sweet cousin, I’ll change the word to amaze-hole!

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  28. I’m 23 and for months, have failed to get a perfect word for this over-confidence, full-of-myself, and want-to-talk-a-lot things in my head, then I read your beautiful piece 🙂

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  29. I’m so glad I read your post. I’ve only recently entered my 30’s, and initially, I couldn’t wait to do so. I whole-heartedly agree with you about not wanting to relive my 20’s, but I was so relieved to hear someone else felt less confident in their 30’s. I’ve felt so lost and much less confident since turning 31. I’m not sure what made 31 so different from 30, but I feel much better knowing that I’m not alone in what I’m feeling. And, your brothers are lucky to have an older sister like you!

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    • I think it’s has something to do with realizing that we don’t know everything but not being quite ready to accept that we know nothing. I didn’t accept that until my 40’s and I struggled with it in my 30’s. You’ll find your way and your confidence! Thanks for the kind words!

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  30. This brought a tear to my eye. I’m twenty two and yet still I can see that I and my friends are assholes- we embrace this fact too, perhaps this makes us more so? Thanks for writing, brilliant piece!

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  31. I am now sixty eight and I remember when I was twenty. The definition of that time was asshole. Then the thirties and I still maintained the term. The forties and fifties I kept up the tradition. Sixty still in the same routine of proving that I am an asshole. When I die, they will put it on my gravestone. Here lies an asshole, be quiet so as not to disturb this dumb ass.

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  32. Lol!!! So true, so true. Not really put as perfectly as you’ve put it very often, but it is the truth.

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  33. Really enjoyed reading this. Though it did make me feel a little old before my time. I am 28, and I can look back at most of my 20s as being really tough, difficult years which I hope I shall learn a lot from and emerge from a stronger, wiser, all-round better person. My teens, by contrast, are the years where I was steadfastly confident, physically resilient and ready to voice my opinion about everything and everyone. Perhaps that’s just me!

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    • A few people have said that this is more descriptive of their teens than their 20’s. My 20’s were tough too but I felt empowered by being a grown up. I felt completely powerless as a teen. Thanks for your thoughts!

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  34. Reblogged this on theadventuresofkimandkids and commented:
    I love this and could not agree more. I was one of those who married young. I found my partner in crime/ best friend/ soul mate/ all the cliche things you can insert at 19! I had my children in my twenties. I voiced my opinions. I made more mistakes then I care to admit but I learned from every moment of my ass hole twenties and cherish them.

    Though I still dress awesome at 30+ my style has just changed a little. 😉

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  35. “I was convinced that anyone who was condescending to me was just jealous that I was young. It’s not true. They just thought I was an asshole.”

    Preach!

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  36. “…you can party like a 20 year old but you won’t recover like a 20 year old.” How true; how true; how true! As a 40 year old mother to a two year old, I don’t work as well with little sleep like I used to. Gone are the days of dancing until 3:00 am and then getting up and getting ready at 7:30 am to go wherever it was that I needed to be.

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    • Ain’t that the truth! I cherish sleep like I never did in my 20’s. What’s funny about getting up early after a night of partying in my 20’s is that I thought no one would know I’d been up all night. I didn’t think they could smell the beer and cigarettes! 🙂

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  37. So true! I would add to that (and totally as a “note to self” thinking back to my behaviour in my 20’s) you are probably not as interesting as you think.

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  38. I’m in my 20s now and quite sure that I’m making many, if not all, of the mistakes listed here. Great post!

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  39. Yes! We become less of an asshole as we age. But still, we still are assholes nonetheless. Ha-ha. Nice post. I just started my twenties. I hope to be the biggest one, now! Lol

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  40. Whoa! How did you get a summary of my 20’s diary. While reading your post, I forgot this was a letter to your brothers but instead a look back on my own life. Maybe we are not kindred assholes, but my 20’s were very similar to what you described. I was overly arrogant and took for granted the natural gift I had in life. By the time I made it to 30, my fall from “pride” had begun. It took me almost a decade to recover from my 20’s.
    I would like to say that there are a few exceptional individuals that seem to not ever reach assholedom. Take for instance a character I write about based on a coworker. I refer to him as The Mechanic and at 24 is extremely humble and wise beyond his years. In the 3 years I have worked with him, I have been continually amazed by his maturity.
    But where as he is an exception, I certainly was not. Great post!

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    • Yes, there are exceptions. I’m amazed when I meet a 20-something with more poise and judgment than I have now but it has happened! Thanks for your comment.

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  41. 20s were fast, really fast and I couldn’t keep remembering those wonderful years (I’m 32 now) and being an asshole wasn’t so bad. It felt good and it was like a constant adrenaline rush. 20s is another name for madness, just like love is another one for psychosis 🙂

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  42. Awesome post!! Comes as a warning to me, I am only 19. Our teenage and asshole years surely are special. We possess certain qualities now that we will loose later. Being unafraid to commit, the resilience to bounce back and arise against all odds, the arrogant confidence!! Surely falling comes before getting up?

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  43. Hi Karen! This is such an insightful article. I’m in my 20s now and can relate to a lot of things you said. Thankfully, i’m still on the younger side of my 20s and still have time to experiment and push the boundaries of A-holeness. 🙂 Hopefully, my peers will forgive some of my antics too!

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    • Nearly everything is forgiven when you’re in your 20’s so push the limits! You might cringe when you think back but that’s part of the experience. 🙂

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  44. I enioyed reading this “letter” of yours and i am pretty sure ur sisters would too. Hitting the big 3 is indeed a major point in our lves. The mid point of our lives. Well maybe you will rigbt abt the 30s one day when you hit 40. 🙂

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  45. I suddenly look forward to gaining those few years left towards my twenties. I want to believe that in every stage there’s a plus or pluses, just so i can look forward to birthdays and bills and commitments, not because they’re unavoidable but because, once I begin to live in them, it will be so much more worth it and so much more freeing than I am now imagining it to be.
    I feel refreshed after having read your post. it was wonderful 🙂

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  46. That’s soo true…i have older frnz wu are in there 30z n 40z……well am gonna be 23 this may……they say the same thing ……._”ua jus n asshole”

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  47. Reblogged this on Mentally hilarious and commented:
    I am 24 years old and according to this lady an A Hole.. I actually like that; I am going through a really tough time at the moment because I am trying to make some important decisions about my life; what makes me happy and I have felt that these decisions have turned me into an A Hole because I lack the experience to deal with them in a healthy way…i.e my emotions become in the way of logic and reason. It’s not just about being a woman but that must come into it..! I was told that emotions are hard to control in your 20’s so I guess I am where I am meant to be..The A**hole years..

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  48. I agree with everything that you’ve said! Especially the people really don’t envy your youth as much as they say they do! I don’t understand what’s the whole hype about- early twenties for me was an extremely confusing time, it was heartbreaking and painful. Now that I’m older i’m much more comfortable in my skin. I’d never relive my twenties even if someone offered me a million dollars. LOL

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    • There was a lot of good and a lot of bad in my 20’s. I wouldn’t want to have that crazy mix of confusion and certainty again! Thanks for your comment.

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  49. I like it a lot! I think it could be a good reading to my early 20 students and late teens.

    Congratulations, good post.

    David

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  50. We all we once an a hole, one way or the other. 26 was beautiful for me

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  51. I am in my 20s and totally appreciated the honesty and humour that came with this post. I, too, did not realize I was an asshole but after reading this, I know so. And I’m fine with that…most likely because of my 20s confidence 🙂

    Thanks for the good read!

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    • Great post! Has been so easy and fun to read…. Especially for me being 21, but not living the exact life of someone who is 21 it has been really great to read your thoughts.

      I went very quick through my studies, was 15 the first time I went a year abraod to the U.S and now live and work in the Middle East since almost two years, coming from Europe.
      The job I have puts a lot responsibilities on my shoulders and I can not use the “Dont mind that – she is only 21” excuse, neither would people care if I can, should or should not have the responsibilty I have.
      I chose it, I have worked towards it and I would propably miss it, if I would not have it anymore. Plus, after doing my work, doing it well, now people have certrain expectaions.
      However, 9 years to go to my 30, I am now thinking, if I am taking this too serious it might be too late….
      As you have said …live is really really short and it feel like I am getting caught up on the career ledder, without sometimes realizing this. Any advise for being more asshole? 😉

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      • It’s fine to have serious commitments in your 20’s. The great thing about this special decade is that whether you spend it working or spend it partying, you’ll always remember it as a unique time in your life. The years start to blur together as you get older but your 20’s will always stand out. Listen to your heart!

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      • Life really doesn’t start until you hit your 40’s, so play hard & then rest back, with your feet up…contented at the knowledge that you don’t have to give a sh@@ what everybody thinks. Embrace your a@@hole opportunities; be egocentric; command the world as though you are the only one smart enough to do so; make snarky faces at people who you look down upon. Down the road you’ll know that you didn’t come close to having enough power to rule the universe, but that’s the fun of it all. You can always party like a freakaziod when you are old like me. It’s actually a lot more fun because no one takes it seriously & so the joy you experience is truly liberating. You’re supposed to be an a@@hole in your youth, so you go out there and you get you some! 🙂

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          • Yes, yes….I am working on that. I have so many drafts its almost Emperor’s New Clothes embarrassing. Hmm, that’s curiously similar to “I’m bare a@@ing it”.

            Thank you for the inspiration and motivation. I have officially marked my calendar for the day I finish the writing project I’m wrapped up with this month. I labeled it “Blog You Dumba@@” day.

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    • My reply to your comment keeps going under someone else’s comment so I’m not sure where this one will end up! Confidence will get you through just about anything. Enjoy it and keep eating that kale!

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  52. I wish I could have read this earlier and forwarded this to my sisters. Unfortunately, they just turned 30 and have outgrown this stage…lol

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  53. At 21, I don’t think I’m an asshole. I’m not saying I’m the exception to the rule, more that in my mind, I’m not in my twenties. I’m mid transition between the emotional idiot years (teens) and the asshole years. Thanks for the warning though. I’ll try not to become the typical asshole (I’ll be an asshole in more unusual ways haha).

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  54. “When we’re in our 20′s, we discover the power of forming opinions and then, of course, voicing those opinions…to everyone…whenever the whim hits us…without care for the consequences. ” Hahaha. So true. Reminds me of someone I met the other day. No care for consequences AT ALL.

    Great post.

    I was in my twenties to though, I think that’s just those years…. haha. GREAT!

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  55. I had some Drew Barrymore like tendencies. Which means I got my start as a 13 year old asshole and it went on until my twenties. I look at back at my younger days and laugh and cringe. But…it lead to some adventures that could fuel a Hollywood movie. That could be the sure sign you did not waste your youth!

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      • Some of my more bizarre moments came out of my teens so it would have to stay in my movie. Plus people would cheer as I went from confused teen monster to better mannered, selfish twenty year old.

        All set in the 80’s too! Think Breakfast Club meets Jack Ass. Heartwarming!

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        • I think someone should start an 80’s Kinship Club. I guess its a generational thing and each one [generation] has it’s special things; things only attributed to those who were there and experienced it. BUT…the 80’s were special…there is a certain je ne sais quoi about being raised up or reaching the pinnacle of a@@holeness in the tackiest-me-centric-flare-for-neon-leg-warmers era ever known to modern man. Make the movie…do it!

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  56. You are right and it is important to be confident in your 20s even if you seem like an asshole. The biggest thing for me was having the confidence to approach women without saying the wrong thing and looking like an asshole.

    dailyquizquestion.wordpress.com

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  57. I have been on the verge so.many.times of writing a blanket apology to every one I knew in my 20’s. I was for sure an arse myself, and I cringe when I read my journals of the time recounting things I actually had the audacity to say to people. Thank God for aging! Loved this post, Karen ;D

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  58. Thoughtful post. I like your “live in the moment” advice as well. I’m done with my 20’s, enjoyed it. In my 30’s and loving it. Looking forward to enjoying a vast range of age groups in the future (if I’m that lucky)

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  59. Probably the most appropriate way to describe these years! Great articles, I love finding some relating to the twenty-somethings.

    Feel free to check out my blog, whenwemumble.wordpress.com
    ‘how sad it is to be the kind of different we desire.’

    All the best!

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  60. Now that I am a lot older than 20’s, I can say, wow, I am so glad I am down with those years and look forward to each year as I mature.

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  61. Karen, I enjoyed reading this so much. It brought many smiles and a few laughs and all the while I knew your words were filled with love. Thanks for sharing it with your readers.

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  62. Pingback: 25. | Come Up Higher

  63. Thanks, Karen. I remember MY 20’s; they carried on into my 30’s. I’m thankful I lived through them all. Now I have a son in his twenty’s … I’ll ponder if I should send this to him or not.

    Great post!

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    • These musings definitely aren’t appropriate or true for everyone! I feel blessed to have lived as long as I have too. Thanks Robin!

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  64. Love, love, love. I was so self-involved in my 20’s–big time. You’re right, I think it comes with the age.
    My drinking made me an asshole in my 30’s too, but that was me, not really the age.
    Laughed at: “Whoever told you that zits were for teenagers lied.” Amen. I still get them, but like to think it’s because I’m still so youthful.
    Fab post m’dear,
    Christy

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    • Haha! I think it would funny to hear someone say, “That Karen is sure an asshole but she’s in her 40’s. What do you expect? And what’s up with those zits?” Thanks Christy!

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  65. I just shared this post galore. Well said and absolutely summed up my experience as a twenty-something. Oh, and almost forgot – thanks for following me on Cold.

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    • Thanks so much Victoria! I love your writing. And I’m going to stalk you on all social media channels. 😉

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  66. Great post, Karen! Man, how I can relate. I was a total asshole in so many ways during my 20s! I really struggled with the over committing and not showing up – ugh. Makes me cringe when I think do some of my behavior. However, I learned – slowly. Mostly, I learned that I don’t always have to prove my worth to others. Thank God I’m done with that phase!

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    • Each decade has its own phases to deal with but I’m with you. I’m glad to be done with my 20’s! But I have a feeling those years are going to stand out more than all of the others. 🙂

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  67. My 20s seem so so long ago now… well that’s because they are!!

    Was I an “arsehole” (UK inflection there of course) – Oh Yes – undoubtedly. I thought I was owed a lot, considered myself the next great thing and went from recent FE college graduation on £7K a year to team leader heading towards £30K a year via 4 job moves in that 10 years… I didn’t move companies again until in my late 40s!

    However I do wish I could be in my 20s again… I’d love to believe I’d do it all differently. I wouldn’t drop into the drinking culture I did, wouldn’t walk the streets being sick in the gutter after a session or ranting like a drunk loony on a packed train when my wife pointed out I had had one too many. Falling down the side of the tube train which nearly killed me when pissed up would be a good one to miss too… I’d like to say I’d be more responsible when my son appeared in that decade … but truthfully, that was me and my story at that time can’t be changed now.

    Oh yes and I’d like to say to Adam – “Mate, lay off the drinking and get your heart checked out I’d rather not lose you as soon as we’re going to”

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    • I know what you mean about going back and doing things differently. I’m totally fine with being an arse back then but I wish I hadn’t started drinking to ease anxiety. I probably would’ve ended up an alcoholic anyway but that was a key component to my drinking. Still, I’m glad we can’t change the past because I wouldn’t want to change the present!

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  68. I too was an asshole in my 20’s. But of course, I drank alcoholically and it really got as bad as it could in my early 30’s. So actually, I was an asshole in my 30’s, too.

    One more reason to love being in my 40’s! Less assholey behaviour! (maybe?)

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    • I hope that I’m less of an asshole now that I’m in my 40’s but I may need another decade under my belt to be sure!

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  69. Loved this, Karen. I was trying to transport myself to those times and while I wouldn’t say confidence was something that I was dripping with, I certainly was trying to find my way and over-comitting was something I did. People pleasing. I think my assholery peaked in my 30’s, fuelled by booze and delusion…lol.

    I was thinking of some of the 20-seomthings that I supervise (babysit) and I can see all this…pretty funny, as I sometimes treat them like my young boys – always testing, trying to get away with things, a bit clumsy with the truth, belting out whatever comes to their mind (no filter), etc. I am sure I had my moments too, I just have forgotten them 😉

    Awesome post, Karen.

    Paul

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    • Thanks Paul! I didn’t think there was anything wrong with the way I was when I was 20-something. I thought I had it all figured out (probably some of that booze and delusion you’re talking about). The confidence was in believing I was always right, then when I realized I was wrong, I was confident about that too!

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  70. Lord have mercy I thought it was just me! Thank God I was in good company.

    Brilliant, brilliant post. I’m printing to give to my 19 year old twin boys and their 21 year old brother. They are only in the beginning phases of their assholeness, but they are definitely picking up speed.

    Sherry

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  71. I enjoyed this! Personally, however, I think I was way more of an asshole in my teen years, and now that I’m 26, I’ve been trying really hard to get away from that – almost to the point where I’m afraid to express opinions and/or true self, for fear that I’m wrong or will offend someone. Hopefully by the time I’m in my 30s, I will have found a balance between the two! 🙂

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    • I guess time will tell! My 30’s were definitely more of a time of bringing all of the pieces of myself together and trying to find balance. 26 is a magical age. It was one of my favorites. 🙂

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  72. Hee hee – I was thinking I was more of an asshole in my late-teens. But I might have been an ass hole as a 20-something and just didn’t realize it … I’ll have to take a survey of my ass-ness and get back to you.

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    • That’s exactly the point that I obviously forgot to make! We don’t know we’re assholes when we’re in our 20’s. If we continue to be assholes after that, someone will point it out but no one mentions it when we’re in our 20’s because it’s excusable. We were probably assholes in our teens too but our brains weren’t fully developed so, again, it’s excusable.

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