Not every girl in her late 20s is completely lost. Some got lucky – some found their way. Most of us, however, are stuck in this weird limbo that holds us captive in confusion, regret, doubt, and wonder. We’re so close to 30, yet feel like just yesterday, we were only 17. Like a decade passed, but not much ‘real’ progress was made – just a lot what-the-fucks? We should have our shit figured out by now, shouldn’t we? We should have some idea – some sort of direction guiding us to what the rest of our lives are supposed to be. Should we still be enjoying life the way we used to at 17? Why are we still stuck in jobs we hate – shouldn’t we be past that? How are we considered grown ups, yet we’re still wandering, clueless about tomorrow? This is what it’s like to be one of the Lost Girls.
Lost Girls in Relationships
What did your romantic future look like at 18? What about 24? What does it look like now? I, for one, can tell you that at 18 I was single. At 24 I was getting married. And now, at 28, I’m getting amicably divorced. For some of my friends, however, nothing has changed. I have a few girlfriends who have never held onto a healthy relationship lasting longer than 3 months. Another is a serial long-term relationship hopper and I have a friend who has been with the love of her life for over 10 years. A few of them have dated the same kind of destructive asshole their entire lives. We’re all different, yet we still end up in that same limbo.
Some of us, like myself, find themselves waking up to complete uncertainty. What was once a set and secure future is now more of a well-what-the-fuck-do-i-do-now? I guess that’s what divorce is supposed to feel like, though. But not just divorce. Some of us end really long relationships and wake up on what was supposed to be our wedding day – or close to it – realizing we no longer love the person we spent 7 years of our lives with. Or, we find that person cheating, or maybe we find ourselves cheating. Or that person is so far removed from the person they used to be that we wake up sleeping next to a complete stranger. Either way, you wake up from a slumber and are greeted by the unknown.
Some of us are looking, desperately, for that somebody to come and sweep us off our feet. We don’t want to admit it, but we still have hope.
Every tinder swipe, every new introduction, and every round-the-corner walk when we hope our dog leash gets tangled with the love of our life. We’re secretly terrified of being alone the rest of our lives.
And believe it or not, even those of us who have been lucky enough to find our soul mates so young are plagued by the need to keep things exciting. Like there’s this added weight to starting off so early – a fear that we’ll have to work twice as hard to keep him interested.
No matter where we sit on the spectrum of relationships, most of us can agree that we have no fucking idea what’s going to happen next.
Lost Girls in Our Bodies
So, is this what the adult version of my body is supposed to look like? Why does it take so much more work to lose weight? What the fuck is happening to my skin? And yep, that’s definitely a gray hair.
A friend of mine was changing in front of me and she got stuck staring at herself in the mirror. “Dude, it’s so weird. It’s like my body is in this weird stage and I can’t tell where it’s at. Like, it’s older than a teen, but I don’t think it’s fully developed. These have more time to grow, right? Am I allowed to get anti-aging creams yet?”
I pressed my lips together and shook my head without making direct eye contact.
Do we have old teenage bodies or under-developed young adult ones? Are we considered young adults or are we now full fledged grown-ups? How much cleavage is too much now? Fuck, we miss the simpler times.
Lost Girls in Career
This is where we all split up. Up until college, we were all in this together. We were a lost ‘group’. But a lot of us never made it through and ended up dropping out before we had chosen real paths. Those of us who continued on in their education got our degrees, our internships, our entry-level positions and are just now starting to raise in the ranks.
Some of us, anyway. And a good number of us are wondering what it’s going to be like to do the same thing for the rest of our lives.
A lot of us just moved back home with our parents because we realized the years we dedicated to some bullshit degree brought us no closer to our real dream than, say, working at a fast food restaurant would have.
The best career advice given to the young is: Find out what you like doing best and get someone to pay you for doing it. ~Katherine Whitehorn
Some of us are hopping from one mindless job to another, trying to funnel our need for creativity into our weekends and our hobbies.
Some of us have started our own businesses. Some of us have accepted our place in mediocre positions, at mediocre companies, and are banging our heads against the wall wondering if we’ll ever make it out alive.
Most of us still have no fucking clue how it’s all going to turn out.
What It’s like to Be a Lost Girl
It’s terrifying, isn’t it? It’s lonely. It’s scary. It’s nothing like what we imagined it would be. Almost 30 and a Lost Girl. Not a quarter life crisis, yet not quite a midlife crisis, either.
Yet somewhere deep within, we still have a hunger for fun. We’re courageous enough to wonder about tomorrow and we’re still holding on to the hope for a more exciting future. We still laugh with our friends, just like we used to. We still plan our adventures, act silly when we drink (even though hangovers now last for days), and we still have so much more we know we want to accomplish.
We should have everything figured out by now, but we don’t – and that’s okay. It’s okay that some of our paths are jagged and unpredictable, and filled with dead-ends. It’s okay to change our minds. It’s okay to be completely unsatisfied with where we’re at. This may be my first go at this, but I’m pretty sure this is what life is supposed to be.
If you look around and see someone living a different life than you, know that she is likely lost in her own way too. Because, really, we’re all in this together and this is the way it should be. What a boring life it would be to have it all figured it out so soon.
This is a time in our lives marked by uncertainty, and instead of letting the fear drown us because we don’t think we are where we should be, we should relish in the fact we still have plenty of time to figure it out.