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The Toughest Pills to Swallow In Your 20s

toughest pills to swallow

Unlike the sugar coated pain killers we take for hangovers and period pains, there are the some pills that stick to the roof of your mouth, and stubbornly refuse to slide into your system. They linger long after we’ve forced them down our throats, and we almost avoid taking a second course. 

The truths of life are particularly hard to accept. We refuse to let them enter into our bloodstream. Instead, we avoid them with careless ease and we deliberately distract ourselves from the truths that we so desperately want to make myths.

The Party Pill

Suddenly, you’re nearing your mid-twenties and you have realized that staying at home in ugly pyjamas is preferable to a night with glitter smeared all over your face. When did this happen? I can’t even remember the last time I fell down because of alcohol, and that is definite progress, but also a terrifying realization.

We have realized that although we might enjoy the culture of binge drinking and bad decisions, they are now limited – and they have to be, especially with social media and the unrelenting hunt for employment. 

The demons of parties past have stalked us, and they have followed us home. They return one smoky memory at a time.

The memory of isolated kaleidoscopic nights and easy laughter are too powerful to let go. We remember how simple it used to be, even with glassy eyes and knotted hair tangled with last night’s regret.

Sometimes we miss the thrill of it all but then we remember, nothing good ever happens after 2 am, when everybody else goes home, and we lose our phone, keys and our new pink lipstick. 

We enjoyed the rite of passage of university culture, and the energetic pursuit of a good time, fuelled by youth and whatever cheap beer we could find. Now we just want to enjoy our Netflix queue in peace.

The Budget Pill

It was far too easy to live like a socialite when we had no cars to pay for, no student loans, and disposable income. But the days of drinking fizzy peach cocktails and weekly trips to Topshop have diminished into forbidden daydreams. No, you can’t have pizza today, tomorrow or this week. You can’t buy those new boots either, I’m sorry.

The Unfriendly Pill

Unfortunately, during our twenties even the longest of friendships can meet their ending. We might figure out that some of our friends are not the same as they were 10 years ago, and we wonder when they became the person they are today. They became that person when you became the one that you are, but you both grew alone. The friendship pill teaches us that even the closest of bonds can be severed, and sometimes goodbye is okay.

The “It Might Not Ever Happen” Pill

This is by far the hardest thing for us to accept, or to even toy with. Here is the truth: everything we ever wanted, and everything we ever worked for may not ever happen. It might have been for nothing.

This pill is forced down by the wallow of the temporary jobs we work to pay the bills. We are unchallenged, and underpaid. We start to wonder if this is all there is. We almost get caught up in a bored existence, and we fear that we are quietly sedated through life. We swallow this pill because we have to, we realize that nobody is going to tell us to get it together – we have to tell ourselves.

Not everybody can get what they want, and we might be the somebody that has to take a turn down another road. But we might be the somebody who strikes it lucky, and we might be the somebody who makes it, just before they reach the point of no return. The world is ruthless, and reality is cruel. But just because we have to accept that it might not happen, does not mean we have to succumb to the firm grip of mediocrity.

Be a realist, but don’t let go of the dream that shaped your character. 

The Bitter Pill

Somewhere along the way, we became bitter. We got cold. We can’t quite figure out when it happened, or how we let it happen to us. But we do know that we envy those with a silver lining stitched into their spirit.

Eventually, you’ll push people away if you refuse to let anyone in or accept any glass half full. You’ll do nothing but hum bittersweet melodies, and you’ll feel far too at ease with the act of wallowing alone. It’s no way to live through your twenties, or your life. We are too young to be so far removed from hope.

The Antidote 

We are the antidote. We can swallow the misfortune and the realities of the world today, but we can also salvage it. First we must accept the truths, but then we rid ourselves of the aftertaste. Someone else’s truth does not have to mirror our own. Wash your mouth out of the bitterness, and start again.

We have the medicine to remedy our situations. We could try a little experimental treatment, but sometimes, the placebo effect is all we need. We need to believe that our own self remedies will work, and that they will cause us no harm. We need to believe that we hold the answers and that we can help ourselves, because nobody else can.

About the Author

Shelley Phillips

Shelley holds a B.A. in Media Studies from Swansea University, Wales. She enjoys keeping up with a critiquing TV shows, blogging, American politics, and baking snicker doodles. She hopes to one day work as a journalist.