My friends made fun of me for meeting a nice girl and deciding to be an adult all at once, but what actually happened was I met a 7-year-old who judged me as only a child can on the mess, and I decided all at once I was done. I want kids. Kids are hard. You need to be emotionally together and have money and be trustworthy, because they notice in a way adults just don't care about. I also finally got a job that paid Grown Up Money. It took years. There weren't any jobs I knew how to get, no-one cared how I did at work, there just wasn't anything out there at all in my field. So I changed my field. I'm so glad I'm not going to be twentysomething soon, because I was so, so, so bad at Being Young.
This is amazing timing. I am interviewing for a promotion at work in about two hours. I've been kind of terrified, because while it's mostly all good, it means a bit of growing up. More responsibility, more visibility, better outfits and not being 15 minutes late every day. It's been scary, probably more scary than it should be. But I'm beginning to be okay with it and this helped! Most of my friends are living paycheck to paycheck or unemployed. It's frustrating at this point, our late 20's/early 30's, because I want to do big things. I want to go on group vacations or travel abroad together. But my friends can never go because they aren't making any money and what they do make gets spent on dining out and massages. Sigh.
All right, I'm finally getting around to registering for an account here to first of all mention that I'm REALLY liking the Billfold so far, so much more than I expected, considering that usually when the subject of personal finance comes up I tend to take a little nap. This feels like the first site talking about money that doesn't assume that the entire readership makes buckets of money and understands how retirement accounts work. Second of all, this post is a beautiful thing. I've managed to be almost semi-responsible throughout my newly concluded 20s in that I've always had a salary of some sort and never plunged into credit card debt or became an alcoholic or anything, but there have definitely been a few "hot mess" issues to sort out. Then at some point during my 28th year, AN EPIPHANY STRUCK. There are people out there with real problems: dire poverty, homelessness, fatal disease, etc. And I realized that compared to people who have REAL problems, I'm very fortunate to be young and able-bodied and living in a first-world country with a steady paycheck and health insurance. And so it was time to call off the pity party and GET IT TOGETHER. And do you know how much happier and more sane I've felt ever since finally having that belated realization? SO MUCH HAPPIER. SO MUCH SANER. Anyway, thanks for a great post!
Thanks for writing this. I really have nothing insightful to add, as the article and comments have pretty much covered my every thought on this, but also - wanted to say the Billfold is fantastic. Such great perspectives from both ends of the spectrum - this site has become one of my favorites!
By Trilby on Girls and the Hot Mess
As an older person (maybe the oldest here!) I commend you for this epiphany. Just want to throw in that, back in the day, young people would sort of prematurely take on the trappings of adulthood and responsibility, ready or not. Now things have swung the other way and adolescence is extended almost indefinitely. You are right that a hot mess is cute to no one. At a certain point, one must get one's act together and become an adult, or play one until it sticks.
I, too, am more the take-care-of-business type than hot-mess type, but I sometimes embrace the hot mess thing just to give myself a break for messing up and doing stupid things that are part of growing up (getting ripped off by cab drivers, losing things, missing planes, failing an exam, not calling my grandma enough, etc.). And just for the record, to echo some of what's already been expressed, pretty much all the hot messes I know are actually miserable on the inside. As a very wise person once told me: be careful when comparing your insides ("I'M A FAILURE AND I MESS EVERYTHING UP AND WHY CAN'T I BE PERFECT!") with someone else's outsides ("I'M EFFORTLESSLY ADORABLE AND PARTY ALL THE TIME AND HAVE NO RESPONSIBILITIES AND THEREFORE NO PROBLEMS!").
By Leslie on Girls and the Hot Mess
@Leslie aaannddd I really want to fix the typos in my previous post, but I can't figure out how to delete or edit. Settle for my apologies?
Here’s me choosing to go out drinking, instead of writing and getting better at what I really want to do. A-effing-MEN. I found this whole post to be incredibly insightful. I am actually not a financial mess whatsoever, but I'm a mess in other ways. Even though I don't waste money, I waste... my time, I guess? My motivation? Whatever it is, I identify with these issues you've brought up. I'm just bopping around and not actually moving my life forward in any meaningful way. And while I've had fun, it gets less so with each passing year. Or month, really.
Oh, lady, you got it. The Hot Mess is always pushed on us as being photogenic and cute and somehow loyal to our generation. I'm in my twenties, married, financially responsible, and free of debt. But since I missed out on it, I long for that illusory life where I can drink and spend and slack as much as I want, even though I know that the myth is shit and that the lifestyle would make me miserable. Then, there's the Actual Hot Mess (not charming) and the Hot Mess as Acted Out By Actually Together People (cripplingly charming). Many of the blog-ladies on the internet seem to fall into the latter category.
I've recently started to realize just how much I allow the glorification of messiness to absolve my own laziness. I too blame Reality Bites.