By Jessica Chalas
1. The Sci-Fi Phase
In some dark, dusted corner of your abode, hidden but never thrown away, there is a rolled-up poster (or 10) with fringed edges and faded coloring. When the longing becomes too much too bear, don’t be shy; dig through the closet and rediscover the movie/television series that consumed entire weeks of your summer (and other seasons). Who will you find when you unfurl the crinkly wall decoration? William Shatner making googly eyes at the early Spock? E.T.? R2D2? Whether it was “Back to the Future’s” Michael J. Fox who stole your heart or your tastes were more modernly geared toward the Legolas-meets-Dr. Who variety, all are worthy contributors to the sci-fi obsession that dominated your early twenties.
2. The Memes Phase
Babies, presidents, politicians, athletes, actors, superheroes, comedians, caricatures, lions, tigers, and bears (and CATS), oh my! Memes make you laugh. They make you cry. They make clear the confusing time when you’re still months away from legal drinking, yet desperately in need of a pick-me-up (every day). On Valentines Day, you can count on a stern look from Dwight Schrute and a dose of honesty: “Money can’t buy love. False. Money bought me a puppy.” When you’re feeling stupid, look to Obama: “Haven’t been in a war in a while. Let’s jump into this one.” If you want food, let Dr. Phil help resist the urge: “You’re fat. Don’t sugarcoat it cause you’ll eat that too.” Memes speak the truth of every 20-year-old’s story.
3. The Bad Humor Phase
Face it–you’re not funny, never were and never will be. It just takes a whole year for people to figure that out after trying and failing to make every phase a comedic event. It doesn’t matter how bland the subject matter or how inappropriate the timing. It doesn’t matter that 10 seconds have passed since you said “I’m so hungry,” you can’t resist the urge to add, “I could eat Barbara Snyder.” Umm, no. Regret sinks in almost as soon as you speak, but learn you do not. Half an hour later, you determine that your video game is as good as a McDonald’s breakfast burrito and that your brain is a big as the Eiffel Tower. Really, because everything you say is pure idiocy. Be smart: shut your mouth and pray for your 21st birthday to come quickly.
4. The “Twilight” Phase
If you haven’t read “Twilight”–whether it was after six months of high-pitched whining from a die-hard Stephanie Meyer enthusiast or after thousands of reviews just too negative to not incite interest–you’ve surely watched the equally pitiful movies. For those who gave the saga a five-star rating, stop reading now. For those with at least a portion of their sense still intact, you can’t deny that Edward, Bella and Jacob each claim some special place in your heart. You’ve eyed the grossly prominent abs of Taylor Lautner; cringed during Kristen Stewart’s horribly awful not-acting; and contemplated Robert Pattinson’s expressions that from a medical perspective suggest severe GI tract problems. Though the buzz has quieted, the love triangle will never die. They’re vampires after all.
5. The “My Life is Over” Phase
When are you more vulnerable than at the fragile age of 20? As a freshman, you still see things through rose-colored glasses, excited to be free of parental instigation, food restrictions, high-school naivety and social incompetence. You have hope for the future, your career, your goals in life. It’s bliss. As a senior, you’ve learned that the world is an ugly place, cold and cruel, and that you have no control over the present, let alone the future. But in the middle, trapped within a nightmare of senselessly perpetual contemplation that only leads to more doubt… There’s not one 20-year-old who hasn’t thought, “Screw it, this is too hard.” Sad but true.