My Twentysomething Life According to Singer-Songwriter Mitski

By Ayoola Solarin

“And I was so young when I behaved twenty five. Yet now I find I’ve grown into a tall child” First Love/Late Spring. Bury Me at Makeout Creek. 2013.

As we all know, the life of a twenty-something year old, while full of possibilities, is simultaneously a hamster wheel you can’t seem to get off of. Even though the world tells us we can do anything, achieving your goals isn’t as easy as newspaper stats suggest. Getting that artisan baking blog off the ground, becoming the next (pre-2011) Kanye or even switching from handing out coffee to handing out orders in the office takes more than that knuckle down attitude your dad is always talking about. It’s frustrating living in an era where the possibilities are endless but you can’t quite get to where you need to be.

Mitski is an artist that absolutely gets what it feels like to feel both trapped and liberated by youth. Her albums tell the evolving tale of a girl growing ever older, ever wiser, ever unemployable, ever unlucky in love. Sound familiar? The title of her latest album Puberty 2 speaks for itself – what else would you call the dreaded quarter-life crisis faced by jaded millennials. Not quite kid, not quite adult, life in your twenties has become an awkward transition filled with growing pains, bad mood swings and locking yourself in your room for hours on end. At least this time round there’s Netflix, Uber Eats and Mitski to listen to.

Here are five Mitski lyrics that express perfectly what it’s like to be us.

“Mom, is it alright if I stay for a year or two? … It would be just to sleep at night and I’ll leave once I figure out how to pay for my own life too” Class of 2013. Retired from Sad New Career in Business. 2013.

In this economic climate, moving out of parental homes is the ultimate struggle. With the cost of living multiplying exponentially worldwide every year teamed with the most competitive job climate in history, it’s no wonder packing up and leaving home at the tender age of 21 is much more of a dream than a reality. Older generations forget that we have way more bills to pay than our parents (hello phone and internet) and rigorous hoop jumping to get an entry level job means bouncing from service job to service job and still not making enough to survive on your own. There’s no shame in knocking on your childhood door, suitcase in one hand and degree in another. At least you’ll get those home cooked meals you’ve missed so much and hopefully no one has touched your stuff.

“I am not gonna be what my daddy wants me to be. I wanna be what my body wants me to be.” Townie. Bury Me at Makeout Creek, 2014.

There’s no better time to express yourself than in your twenties. Being old enough to let go of parental restraints and expectations brings a freedom to be and do what you want. Remember; there is no such thing as normal, intelligence is subjective and gender is a construct. Always trust your ever sarcastic inner monologue because no one knows you better than yourself. This sentiment rings especially true with members of the LGBTQ* community, People of Colour and women who have had their fair share of patriarchal oppression. Do as Mitski says: be true to yourself and be what your body wants you to be.

“I wanna see the whole world. I don’t know how I’m gonna pay rent. I wanna see the whole world”  My Body’s Made of Crushed Little Stars. Puberty 2. 2016.

This one may hurt the most – the struggle is so real. If you don’t come from a privileged background, chances are taking gap year travel tours around Asia or bi-monthly city breaks in Europe just isn’t a reality that you inhabit. But it’s one we so desperately dream of. It’s not easy to pack up and go when you have responsibilities (like rent for one) and day trips around your local city can only do so much to sate that everlasting desire for adventure. It’s painstaking work saving up for a trip to anywhere, mini-break or long haul. But we’ll make it work… someday.

“Maybe when you tell your friends, you can tell them what you saw in me, and not the way I used to be” Goodbye My Danish Sweetheart. Retired from Sad New Career in Business. 2013.

Ah to be haunted by ghosts of lovers past. Especially when now all you need to do is scroll for five minutes to see the pictures of you at an ex-partner’s parent’s house Christmas 2012. Looking at that terrible hairstyle and bootcut jeans with converses combo you should have known you were not in a good place for a relationship. No wonder it ended badly. But as you’ve got older you’ve wised up to those bad traits of yours and aren’t going to repeat them again. You skim through the rest of that photo album, smile sadly and hope they think kindly of you now. They did like that pensive selfie of yours the other day on instagram after all.

“Mom, am I still young? Can I dream for a few months more?” Class of 2013. Retired from Sad New Career in Business. 2013.

The short answer? Absolutely. While “Class of 2013” may end on a somewhat melancholy note, it doesn’t change the fact that being twenty-something may be hard but it’s also probably the best time of your life. You’ve got your looks, your youth, the ability to make memes out of all the depressing things going on around you. There’s still so much time to learn and grow. Surround yourself with the people and things you care about the most because they will get you through the difficult parts (and there will be a lot of them). Take note of what’s going on in your communities, make friends with other like-minded people (trust me there are too many of us to count) and make changes for the better. Take your ideas and passions and dreams and run with them. And don’t ever stop.

Puberty 2 is out now.


About Ayoola

ayoola-photo-2Ayoola Solarin is a part time writer and a full time jazzy sock enthusiast. She has a B.A. in American and English Literature from the University of East Anglia, in which time she did a year abroad in San Francisco. As a result, she now proclaims the Bay Area as her second home, very loudly. Ayoola often dresses like the imaginary friend of a six year old. She gets her thrills from graphic novels, TV shows that get cancelled prematurely and Queer and POC representation. She grew up in South London but has managed the ever so tiring migration to East London where she now lives with her Girlfriend.

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