Lena Dunham may be a divisive figure herself but her award-winning series GIRLS has provided many nuggets of wisdom that will help us 20-somethings feel more united. Or maybe just slightly less like the f*ck ups that we are. Anyway, here are the best pick of the bunch...
Self - Doubt/Insecurity
“No one could ever hate me as much as I hate myself, okay? So any mean thing someone’s gonna think of to say about me, I've already said to me, about me, probably in the last half hour.”
People says that your "awkward teen years" are the worst. And they do suck; overly long limbs, shitty skin and rubber bands on your teeth. But being 22 isn't much easier. Everyone seems to live on their daily Instagram shot of Kale juice whilst celebrating with their gorgeous other halves/thigh gap/Masters in Bio-Medical Medicine. It puts lots of pressure on us and we end up crawling back under our mountain of Dominoes boxes and feeling like sh*t. We need to stop being so hard on ourselves. Our early 20s are meant to be our prime so enjoy it!
The "Journey" We Tell Ourselves We're On
“I’m fine. I’m really good actually and sometimes feeling really good all the time feels really bad. But I’m on journey. It’s my journey and I’m OK. So please don’t pity me.”
Some people have it all figured out at 17. Others don't. And it's okay if you're 24 and still haven't a clue what you wanna be doing at 40. Or who. Sometimes you gotta just slog through it and make those mistakes and bad decisions and rhyme off those cliches to make yourself feel better. Your Mam is right, 'what's for you won't pass you.'
"I don’t even want a boyfriend. I just want someone who wants to hang out all the time and thinks I’m the best person in the world and wants to have sex with only me."
Oh, the shite we tell ourselves. Sometimes, yeah, we just want a bit of casual fun. But sometimes we want exactly what Hannah Horvath does. Dating in your early 20s is like a minefield of rules and games. Who'd have thought you'd wish for the days of a dodgy looking lad coming over and asking your friend, 'Can I shift your mate?' Then again, Coppers at 2am is pretty much the same.
"I really care about you and I don’t want to anymore because it feels too shitty for me."
I had to include both quotes because, let's face it, the majority of early 20-somethings have sadly succumbed to The F*ckboy. To this specimen you will eternally be a third or fourth option. Yet at 3am with a naggin of vodka in us we end up getting a 20-quid taxi to his place to have usually mediocre sex with the bonus of a good knock to the already-fragile self-esteem. You will one day be laughing at what a complete loser he was. One day.
Feeling Totally Lost
"I just wish someone would tell me, like, “This is how the rest of your life should look.”
This one hits home the hardest. It sums up how alone most of us feel. School and college have given us a structure since forever and what lies beyond that is terrifying. Are we actually meant to be someone now, and do proper things? In reality, your early 20s IS a period of instability and that can kinda be more fun. Most people plow through tons of internships and crappy jobs til they find out what works for them. Embrace the unknown.
The Real World
"You know what the weirdest part about having a job is? You have to be there every day, even on the days you don’t feel like it."
When you do find an area or job that you love, reality will quickly set in. You gotta be there, every day. And actually do work. And the days of worrying about whether you can get away with skipping another Victorian Lit tutorial to get drunk in the student bar seem like a distant memory, so make the most of it while you're still 20.
“I just think women get stuck in this vortex of guilt and jealousy with each other that keeps them from seeing situations clearly.”
Female friendships are notoriously tricky. When you're 12, your BFF doesn't invite you to a group sleepover and it's the end of the world. When you're 22, your BFF tells your mutual acquaintance Katie that she thinks you've gotten too skinny since you started sleeping with that d*ckhead Cian and BFF denies it at first and then it all comes out in the smoking area at 2am that Cian is actually seeing his ex and no-one wanted to tell you. Yep, much trickier.
"Don’t waste time on guilt, Hannah. Holding on to toxic relationships is what keeps us from growing."
By the time we reach our early 20s, we've shed some mates and definitely some romantic interests. And if you haven't, you should. Because that means that you are growing as a person. And that is always a good sign.
“I realise I’m not different. I want what everyone wants. I want what they all want. I want all the things. I just want to be happy.”
In the end, that's all any of us really wants. Your 20s is the time to try stuff on for size - jobs, men - and then start over if it doesn't quite fit. No one is perfect, no matter how amazing their life appears to be on Instagram. So just focus on you. Everyone else is too busy worrying about themselves to notice anyway.