Meet Taylor Cotter. I mean, just pretend she's here or something. Taylor is a 22-year-old graduate of Northeastern Journalism School. She has a job, a car, and an apartment. So what is Taylor's big problem? Her big problem is that she's too successful to be living "that 10-cents-a-word life that I always wanted." Crumbs! Can we help this poor young go-getter, somehow?
In a hearbreaking and perfectly titled and presumably unpaid-for Huffington Post post, "A Struggle of Not Struggling," Taylor reveals, in true Lifetime Movie fashion, that her seemingly perfect life has a dark underbelly that threatens to eat her alive.
Now, two months after graduation, I seem to be one of just a handful of people that's been able to get themselves on their feet, pay their own bills and actually put together some semblance of an adult life with minimal parental assistance. I bought a car, found an apartment and set up a 401k, just six months after turning 22. I came down on the 'right' side of every statistic — I found a job in my field that actually pays well, I'm living on my own, and seem to have everything that these other college graduates are dying to have.
But what about that 10-cents-a-word life that I always wanted? What about New York City? What about freelancing, penning newspaper columns and urban adventures? What about the struggles that I see on Girls and the tales of credit card debt and ramen noodle dinners? Aren't these the things that really make you 22?
The things that really make you 22 are A) modeling your own life after the characters on Girls in exactly the same way that a previous generation did on characters from Sex and the City, while simultaneously harboring the belief that the depth of your worldview and artistic nature makes you vastly superior to that of anyone who would model themselves on something so gauche as a TV show character, and B) writing first-person essays on the internet that you will look back on with disgust. So rest easy, Taylor Cotter: you are 22.
But now that Taylor has settled into her dream job as an editorial assistant at StudentAdvisor.com, she might as well be 82. What the hell is the dif?
Anne Marie Slaughter's article for The Atlantic, "Why Women Still Can't Have It All" has been quoted and criticized ad nauseam. However, all that's run through my head is that, at 22, I've already had to make life-defining decisions. I chose the path of a full-time job and an adult life. I gave up on the adventures, on freedom, on youth. Forget about career versus motherhood — I can't even have it all now.
I suppose that I'm grateful that I can make all my car payments and start saving for retirement while most of my friends are living at home and working part-time jobs — but I often find myself lamenting the fact that I'm not living at home and not working a part-time job. From my perspective, these are just some of the life-changing, character-building experiences that I may never have.
At 22, Taylor Cotter has had to make life-defining decisions, such as whether to accept a position as editorial assistant at StudentAdvisor.com. Her fate is sealed. From now on, she's just "that editorial assistant at StudentAdvisor.com," rather than "that insouciant unemployed 22-year-old who is stealing beer from bodega, and yes the police have been called, my friend." Taylor often laments the fact that she has a full-time job and an apartment and then, while lamenting these things, types on her essay draft that she later submits to the HuffingtonPost.com these words: "From my perspective, these are just some of the life-changing, character-building experiences that I may never have."
From who else's perspective would you be writing, Taylor? Fanciful girl! From everyone else's perspective, you can still look forward to the character-building experience of having something you wrote widely ridiculed on the internet. And I can tell you from experience, Taylor: the worst part is when you realize that you weren't even paid for it. Never underestimate the character-building situations that you can get yourself in, just by being a 22-year-old who is complaining about having a stable income during the worst recession in living memory.
Do not be too harsh on Taylor, gentle reader. Though she has a steady income, an apartment, a car, and a healthy sense of entitlement, she is right to mourn her predicament: she lives in Boston. Even Lena Fucking Dunham worship is preferable to that cruel fate.