Being In Your 20s: Expectation vs Reality

Does anyone else feel like they were really oversold adulthood? Throughout my childhood and teenage years, I certainly had a rose tinted view of what being a grown up would be like, and the idea that (don’t laugh) I’d be living a pretty glamorous life in my twenties. A discussion with friends a few weeks ago about the expectations and realities of being in your twenties made me laugh, and I thought I’d share a few with you.


EXPECTATION: You can eat whatever you want, whenever you want.

REALITY: Sure you COULD eat whatever you want, when you want, but sugar makes you sluggish now, gluten makes you bloated, and you no longer have the metabolism 12 year old you had. Food is also HELLA expensive, and even though you spent £50 at Tesco on Monday, you’ve still bought lunch everyday at work and you ordered Deliveroo one night too, and you’ve still run out of groceries by Friday.


EXPECTATION: You’ll be out late Friday and Saturday nights, drinking, dancing, and having a great time with .your gal pals.

REALITY: You blew too much money on food this week so you’re staying in on Friday watching Netflix. You don’t actually mind too much because you’re exhausted after a week of work and the idea of being out past 9pm makes you feel a bit queasy. You tried to organise a night out once for your birthday, but one of your friends had to work late, one has a baby now, one didn’t want to come without her boyfriend but nobody likes him. You couldn’t agree whether to meet in Soho or Shoreditch, and Hannah had to leave by 11.30 because the night tube doesn’t run to Serbiton. You were only out for three hours and somehow spent over £100 and you have no idea why.


EXPECTATION: You’d be married with kids before you’re thirty.

REALITY: HA. What with student loan repayments, soaring rent prices, futile attempts to save for a mortgage and a crippling avocado on toast problem, there’s barely any money left at the end of the month for a cheap bottle of wine and a takeaway, never mind an engagement ring/wedding/2.4 kids. Besides that you have lofty ambitions to ‘travel’ before you settle down. Which brings me onto my next point…


EXPECTATION: You’ll be traveling all the time, going on exotic adventures and constantly sporting a ‘six weeks in Bali’ tan.

REALITY: You get a precious 28 days holiday from work a year, and you’ve used one for a funeral, four to move and one for a smear test because your doctors surgery is only open 9-5. Travel is expensive and so most of your time is spent browsing Holiday Pirates, waiting for the perfect long weekend break to pop up, which invariably will clash with your mates wedding in June.


EXPECTATION: You and your friends will meet for pre work breakfast dates, after work cocktails, and weekend shopping expeditions, a la Sex in the City.

REALITY: Your best friend started a new job last month and has been working sun up to sun down since. At least half your friends work in PR and therefore are always working evenings and weekends. You can’t quite remember the last time you saw your best friend, but you send each other a periodic ‘You good?’ message on Whatsapp, to make sure neither of you has died/been fired/broken up with their boyfriend.


EXPECTATION: You live in a gorgeous apartment, beautifully furnished exclusively at West Elm and Swoon Editions, and you always have a bottle of champagne in the fridge ‘just in case’.

REALITY: You rent a tiny flat that can loosely be described as ‘in London’, where the walls are magnolia and the landlord won’t let you hang anything, so your £40 Ikea floor length mirror just leans against the wall. Your apartment came ‘partly furnished’ which means you’ve got an uncomfortable bed and a plastick-y faux leather couch that sticks to your thighs in the summer. Any wine in the fridge invariably cost less than a fiver, and is gone within a few days.


EXPECTATION: You’re kicking ass at a glamorous job in publishing/journalism/fashion, and you tote a Mulberry handbag around with you at all times.

REALITY: You haven’t worn real clothes in three days because you work from home, and you’ve spent the whole of your week chasing invoices. You can’t find your phone charger, last spotted at the bottom of your handbag amongst cereal bar wrappers, sanitary towels in various stages of unwraps, and the receipts for every flat white you’ve ever ordered at Starbucks.


I say all this in jest, because I actually quite like life right now, but it’s DEFINITELY not what I expected! Are there any expectations you had of being in your twenties that don’t quite add up?

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