You can stop whining about how hard it is to be young now.

More and more often, I’ve been seeing articles bemoaning being in your twenties (in particular, Thought Catalog and the HuffPost Blog love making lists on this topic). I wrote a goofy version (at least I like to think so) myself–far less, well, serious and doom-y. But I’m really, really, REALLY getting tired of people bitching and moaning about being twenty-whatever in combination with one of the following:

A. Not having a job. I get that this is frustrating. I do. Having a degree that you worked hard for and that you can seemingly wipe your ass with sucks. However, there is not some sort of cosmic significance to your lack of employment. We have a shitty economy. We are, realistically, in a rec(depr)ession, and you’re pretty much at the bottom of the ladder. It is, yes, adversity that you have to work through, but plenty of other people have worked through it before you. It is not something special for our generation, it does not make you better/unique/more self-aware. You’re also the one who refuses to do menial labor because you’ve been fore fed some bullshit about it being below you for the last two decades. You annoy me. Shut the hell up already.

B. Being single. And drunk. And single. Okay, I get it. You’re lonely. And you’re verging on being a full-blown alcoholic. This has nothing to do with being in your twenties. Being drunk and lonely is not a profound experience, nor is it the special property of the young.

C. Feeling directionless and using your blog to whine about it. Blogging always straddles that strange line between making your point and getting whiny in order to elicit sympathy from total strangers. One thing that is true about many people in their twenties (but also true of many teens and even a boatload of baby boomers) is a need for constant reassurance/confirmation from their social circle. Why else would social media be so addictive and so conducive to the humblebrag?

D. Being too far or too little self-aware. It depends on who you ask on this one, but for all the time you, author of blogpost/article, are spending reflecting on being in your twenties (instead of oh, I don’t know, living them) I sure hope you’re erring on the “too much” side of this equation. Honestly, quit taking yourself so seriously. Chances are, by the time you hit your mid twenties, you’ll experience something that will change the way you see the world or yourself. That’s healthy and appropriate. Whether that’s losing a beloved grandparent, having to break off a long-term relationship, or even getting a first phone call from a collections department, all of these things can force you to crawl out of your (supposed) vodka-induced coma from part B of this list and re-evaluate your shit. It’s called life, and it is not special or particular to being a young adult.

E. Whining about being broke. Your parents are paying (or stopped paying) your rent/grocery bill/phone bill/bar bill/healthcare bills (think Lena Dunham à la Girls). You live in New York/L.A./Miami/Chicago. Um. What did you think was going to happen if you moved to a HUGE metropolis and had, if we refer to part A, NO JOB? Shit is expensive! I hope your parents have already paid off the house they have in Happytown, USA because even a shitty studio apartment in some of those places is probably going to have them forking over twice as much as they did for their mortgage. Give me a break. Stop acting like they’re obliged to be paying for your dumb ass to live the high life while remaining totally oblivious to all of the benefits you do have, like parents who are not only willing but able to help you with your rent.

F. Jerking off to your own perceived intellectual, social, and cultural superiority. We get it. You have clever Tweets. Who knew so much wit could be packed into a mere 140 characters? Your Instagram photos each have the perfectly selected filter for the five hundredth picture of your cat, or the one where you’re holding up a half-drunken PBR at some skeevy neighborhood bar you like because it’s “pure” (that is, you’re the only person under forty inside of it). Your Tumblr is both thought provoking and delightfully cheeky in the 21st century intarwebs sort of way. You’ve read (and get) Derrida and Naked Lunch. You need to remind your Facebook friends how brilliant and unique and clever and unique and underground and unique and unique and unique you are. Did I mention you’re unique? And your blog, OH! Your BLOG. It is so deep and meaningful and there’s just so many feelings you need to discuss.

The biggest problem is that there’s a good chunk of “twenty-somethings” who aren’t anywhere near this obnoxious, self-righteous, self-absorbed, and arrogant.

We live on our own. We have jobs. We pay our own bills. We might have put ourselves through college. We aren’t stressing that we don’t have the newest version of the iPhone. We still don’t really “get” Twitter. We’ve (self-consciously) learned how to resist the humblebrag. We take care of our parents, financially, physically, or emotionally. We appreciate cheeky internet humor as much as the next guy, but don’t feel compelled to base our entire self-worth on it. We, too, sometimes drink to much, have a crisis of conscience and confidence, and really–really–enjoy watching Girls. We just don’t take to the virtual streets and feel it’s necessary to tell the world each passing detail of our lives, or record them in photographs, preferring to experience them without a camera lens in our face or our fingers racing across the touch screen of our phone to check-in on Facebook 24/7. And quite frankly, we’re sick and tired of getting lumped in with people who do act those ways and do those things. I’m looking at you, New York Times.

So, let’s be real. Being in your twenties, like being in any other conveniently-named age range, has its ups and downs. Sitting around pampering your bruised ego on the internet or looking for affirmation of your feelings and your self-worth from your peers, known or unknown, is a (bad) choice, not a feature of an age group. It’s okay to feel pissed off because you’re unemployed or because you can’t find a boyfriend; it really is. But it has nothing to do with your age.

Beer Pong and Botox, or Why It’s Okay to Age

There’s always been those people who deny the fact that they’re getting older. Whether that meant patting their wrinkly, old faces with lead-based powder in the 1700’s (and ironically making their appearance go downhill faster–lead does *wonders* for your skin) or injecting botox and getting face lifts and tummy tucks at the dawn of the 21st century, there have always been those who fear aging. Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t really understand the insatiable desire to stay 18 forever (or 20, or 25, or what-have-you). Sure, everyone wants to be “young and beautiful,” and often what is called beauty is really just youth, but I don’t think I would inject my face with botulism or let someone stretch my skin tighter over my skull in order to make people think I’m younger (and/or made of plastic).

What is it about age, other than pure vanity, that scares everyone so much? We value the wisdom and experience we gain as we age, but it seems to be those pesky wrinkles and grey hairs that throw us for a loop. But really, it’s just aesthetics. You are more than how you look, and the sooner we all realize that, the better off we’ll be. All I’m saying is that cutting/poking/prodding/and spending, spending, spending hasn’t gotten anyone very far when it comes to looking younger. However, we do have a lot more women walking around looking like life-size, discarded barbie dolls.

But maybe it’s more than just looks. Maybe everyone’s trying to get back to looking young because they want to go back to being young; perhaps it’s less about aesthetics than it is about a living memory of being 18, or 20, or 25, and being “carefree” and “innocent” and all the cliche terms associated with youth. But why don’t we value our later years? Is pursuing your career, having a family, finding a partner, travelling, learning, and living as an adult really that lamentable? Sure, getting blitzed on Tuesday nights and having no responsibilities and no job (for some of us) and getting with all the hotties (like I said, for some of us) can be great, but I wouldn’t want that to last forever. What about other interests? What about being productive (or reproductive for more eager folks)? What about establishing a life and relationships outside of party buddies?

I’m just saying, maybe we should stop looking at 18-22 or 16-22 or whatever combination/range of years as “the best time” of our lives. Why not assume the best is yet to come and relish in the moment? Find good in being 25, 35, 45, 55, 65, and 95, and all the ages in between. I mean, just think of it this way: if you stayed 18 forever, beer pong would still be the preeminent subject of conversation, along with awkward teenage sex jokes and petty high school arguments of who-did-what-to-whom-and-don’t-you-think-that’s-just-awful??!!.

Consider this a friendly PSA to stop living in the past and embrace your present.