Twenty is the age of complexity


I  was listening to Neil Tutor's public lecture on 'The astonishing simplicity of everything'. He spoke of how the universe is simple at its largest and smallest scale. The center of the two extreme scale is the origin of complexity. I thought of how this principle works perfectly with age. Infants and the elderly are the simplest humans.  Anyone in between is struck by an unending, unpredictable and heartbreaking chaos. 


Twenties, Thirties and Forties are horrible. I don't know much about thirties and forties but I can tell you a whole lot about twenties.  I have been in the decade of twenty for about a year and eight months. It has been nothing short of overwhelming.  In the midst of being an academically competent young adult, being financially stable and independent. I also had to choose perfect friends, and be girlfriend to a breathtakingly gorgeous,  intelligent, and together dark chocolate man. 


I need to have a sharp instinct that tells me the difference between a drunkard from an occasional drinker and still enjoy wine enough to not allow myself to be extremely vulnerable. I have to be a great aunt, sister, be a loyal, obedient daughter and a supportive friend. The aboveforementioned is a lot to take in and handle, but a key element of what has been an interesting 20 months is how very few people ask if I’m able to handle life at this point, yet somehow the world expects the most from me.


Adulthood is a farce. It’s a concept that was sold with the best wrapped lies ever. Being twenty is overwhelmingly difficult. I cry just about every other day, and find myself needing more breaks than I thought I would ever need, enough so that even weekends seem to pass by so quickly and I’m stuck feeling like I haven’t thought of my next step. It’s especially difficult coming from a family like mine, an extremely driven family that pushes us to reach our full potential. It’s almost as if everyone expects me to have all my ducks in a row. I was always that student who excelled in school, who had their whole life planned out to the point where even my next meal was planned for me. The day I registered for University is the day my life changed. Varsity was not what I had expected it to be. I used to believe that I was strong, but that soon evaporated into thin air because I realized that I wasn’t as strong as I had thought I was. I wasn’t mentally strong, happy, and had no idea f what I needed to be happy. The support system that I had relied on in high school was no longer there to spoonfeed me and I struggled with lifting the spoon to my mouth. I was drowning in adulthood.


The closest I've come to a boyfriend is a male figure trying to swiftly slide his hands and manhood between my thighs just so he can corrupt my flower. It’s been too much for me to grasp, and as a result of my lack of focus, I failed second year.  That was difficult. Me? A failure? It was like being stabbed right through my heart. The pain stung. This was not me. I could not understand how things got to this stage and it was at this point that memories of my late mom began to flood me. I missed having her around, I missed being able to go to her for advice and finding comfort in her arms. I needed her, I needed her love and understanding, but most importantly I needed her reassurance that everything would eventually work out. I had lost all hope and faith in myself, this was my lowest point. The lowest and loneliest point I had ever been in my life.  The most defeating point was that I needed to respond to the hurt and frustration faster than I could mourn. It reminded me of how unfair life is, but it’s felt so much like disappointment and sadness is my last destination.


It was at my worst that I came to understand how this is the age where the chick cracks the shell, where new strength, wisdom and growth had been awaiting me. My ups and downs were signs that I'm entering a new stage of my life, but the trick was that I had to take it easy on myself, keep breathing and to take things as they come.


Twenty is the beginning of adulthood.  The commencement of life's complexity at it's most extreme. Life roughs you up faster than you can order you first rightful glass of wine. 


We are  adequate to adapt and do our best to survive, this too shall pass. Our inherent urge to progress and respond with our inner strength is the key to making it past this rough decade. The next time life feels like it is pushing you over the edge , remember that this is the age: The age of disappointment, mistakes, learning and short lived happiness. It is okay to down a tequila to make it all go away once in a while, it's also okay to go out for breakfast on a Sunday morning to try and figure out how to tackle the coming week. Just know that you are not alone, everyone in the twenties is as frustrated as you are, but remember this: Life gets simpler the moment you stop trying to control everything. 


Written by: Ngokoana Mannya