The new (and final – sob) series of Girls has unsurprisingly brought me a quite ridiculous amount of joy over the past three weeks. Each Monday, as I catch up on the latest from Williamsburg, New York, I have ended up crying with laughter, at times uncontrollably; felt awkward in the face of trying topics and screamed at the screen, which, in truth, is exactly what I’d expected from series 6 since the show has offered up all that and more since I came across it five years ago.
At 27, I am lucky in that I grew up alongside Girls. First airing in 2012, the show found its way to me exactly when I needed it most: post graduation, trying to find work in the fallout of a recession, longing for a writing career, single but also not at all single at the same time and faced with shifting friendship circles. Of course, people of all ages can appreciate the show, but growing up alongside Hannah and the girls has meant that each series has struck a very real chord with me in the way only a girl of their age, living in the now, would understand. I was so scared this final series wouldn’t deliver. That I wouldn’t get that ‘she just gets it!’ moment this time round. But, as Hannah – normally oh so self-assured and sanctimonious – opened her mouth and said something about finally realising she didn’t actually know anything, I realised that she’d done it again. Because the realisation I didn’t know shit has probably been the biggest life lesson learnt in my 20s. In fact, I’d go as far to say it has, quite literally, been the making of me.
My early twenties were filled with lots of doubt. Self, in terms of my capabilities and brain power outside of academia and in the world of work. Doubt about my future – I wanted to be a writer but was this even a thing people did? Doubt about my writing – was it actually rubbish? It’s clear to me now most of my insecurities came from the worry I would fail. That I might make a mistake or not know something. I was so preoccupied with how much I knew, with the prospect of losing and I truly believed my job title was a reflection of who I was as a person (perks of going to a top 10 university where literally everyone heads into graduate schemes the day after they toss their hats in the air and take award photos in gowns with their parents, eh?) that I wasn’t actually living at all.
But my late twenties have been different. A calmness crept over me on my 27th birthday and slowly but surely, over the past year or so, I’ve come to accept I don’t know everything – if anything – at all. I’ve realised my job title is nothing but a mark on a colourful CV. I have accepted I will be learning things about myself, the world, my friends – even my parents – until the day I die. And you know what? It’s refreshing as fuck. To realise people are too preoccupied with themselves to worry about what you’re up to. To know that we don’t know what’s going to happen in two, ten, or twenty years from now. To be able to just go for things despite them having the capacity to go wrong because, god forbid, they might miraculously… go right. To feel okay about prioritising food, fashion, and friendship over everything else because… life’s too short and, as it happens, I don’t have much control over anything at all.
So put your hand up, ask questions, fail, get hurt. Because once you’ve experienced all this, held your hands up to knowing sweet FA and opened yourself up to experiences, education and growth rather than ticking off a checklist of ‘should do’s, should be’s and should know’s’, the more at ease and yourself you’ll feel.
My epiphany happened at 27.
What about you?