I was 18 when I listened to Khalid sing about young love. The lyrics were smooth but i did not resonate with any of them then. I did not understand why the opening line was “good luck in the real world, you’re going to need it.”, which was how I wish we had been launched out into the ‘real world’. The luck , I have come to understand , is not as good as the prayers our mothers say for us at 2am, when the world is quiet and the spirits are roaming. Only, at 2am is when you are probably black out drunk in the dirty toilets of a shady bar that you didn’t want to go to in the first place, or in bed , insomnia encouraging you to scroll through a few more weird tiktoks , in the dark . At 2 am you will be arguing at the top of your voice with your boyfriend because he liked a picture of a girl he claimed he didn’t have relations with on Instagram. You will be crying and throwing everything around and he just might , within a flash of a second throw you against the wall for theatrics. The luck we needed wasn’t enough in the real world.
Young, dumb and broke also meant that sometimes at the wee hours of the night, you will be typing away at your laptop, the one you inherited from your older sister , that lags and drags and doesn’t charge at times, trying to make some dollars from filing out surveys or doing tasks online to afford a pair of new shoes. They did prepare you for the sudden emptiness you would feel when your parents cut you off because guess what you are an adult now. Sometimes, you will make money, you will go out and show them who is Boss, you will be balling and get all the girls or you will lose money. You will try again and again until you feel numb to the world and you will isolate. You will lose fiends this way, they will fall into a never ending self hate and criticism blackhole, and some of them will jump ship. Death will start becoming familiar, you will be carrying flowers for fellow young souls and lighting candles. The sadness will sometimes be addressed and sometimes you will cry while taking shots. Remember all the adverts you watched on Tv about how life moves on even after someone has passed. You will live that reality, and wish for more luck, more life, a legendary one.
You might start working out, you might start drinking more water and eating more fruits, but you will vape, and smoke and look at the world in its greyness. You will realize that naivety can only bring back a broken heart, you will slowly stop going to church . You will feel that it has lost its relevance but in the real sense, it is a call for you take a step back and consciously understand who you are and give everything around you meaning and relevance. Most days will be full of indecisiveness, you will be presented with different realities different possibilities , different notions, offline but ,mostly online. You will try a path and fail, others will try a path and succeed. You will log into your socials and see Elsa Majimbo, getting a surprised by Beyoncé and you will think you have failed in life , while your agemates are making big moves. You will sink into consumerism to get flawless skin like influencers, wear trendy outfits to keep up and run your already empty pockets dry visiting overrated hidden gems.
You will want love. You will find cracks of it, a façade of it without knowing the truth of the being that who you are is a reflection of collective life experiences from immediate environments. You will want the telenovel kind if love, only to realize that those are indeed just works of someone’s imagination. You will hop from one promising love to another, you will be broken, and cry and break things, drink until you can’t anymore , until you decide , one day when you step out of the noisy club, that you need some stillness. You will stagger home, crying, your feet hurting, defeated and look up at the sky for the first time in a long time.
You will make one too many mistakes, you will create bonds that heal you with laughter and sleepovers , cook outs, pranks, travel, mischief and dreams. You will comfort each other , you will cross each other, you will lose some, the ones that betray you and teach you hard lessons on boundaries , some will stick by you through all the muck. You will mostly feel nostalgic. You will walk down memory lane to when you thought you were most happy, when you were younger and being told what to or not to do. You will develop a big love for the old . The old songs your mother would play early Sunday morning, the old songs your father loved to play during a trip to shags, old songs that become a high school anthem, old songs that tease out different parts of who you are and you will discover new ones. Songs that are familiar with this new, confused, young, dumb adult that you are. You will make goals and speak them out , you will need more than luck to achieve them, you will want to doubt yourself, but why not take a chance and think yourself well deserving of all good things.
You will slowly come back to yourself, you will slow down, develop new hobbies that will define you as an adult more. You will prefer to day drink and stay indoors more often. You will read self help books, try new things like roller skating, listen to impactful podcasts, slowly detach from the need for validation from toxic lovers, sleep more because your body becomes tired easily. You will start to find yourself. Some days will be a lot harder than others. Some days you will isolate, some days you will be sad and too hard on yourself , some days you will feel as though you are not making progress, some days , slowly, you will start choosing yourself. Your intuition will guide you to a new path, exciting, scary, volatile as it maybe. You will learn and open yourself to learning. All these , I have come to realize are the realities of being young, dumb and broke. The extremes of fun, excitement, sadness, confusion and the whirlwind that is growing up. The process. You will make huge mistakes, you will lose yourself in things , notions and people,but you will also take life with ease and flow, you will let it come from within you, you will be still, and in the moment, you will become wiser or not . I suppose that is really how it all is. Above all, Kendrick said, ” you gon be alright,” and you will, so good luck, I need it too.