20’s Angst is Real and it’s Awful

Am I old now?

Elliot Adams

More stories from Elliot Adams

The Tator
May 9, 2023

Photo by Oludare Obadiya

The author contemplating if he should change his diet habits or keep buying Tums.

I’m at the stage in my college career where incoming first-year students are closer in age to my sisters than they are to me. 

I want to think I’m young, hip and in the know, so to speak. 

I don’t know if that’s the case anymore though, and that brings me to the subject of my title; 20’s angst. 

Incoming first-year students are too young to truly appreciate Chance the Rapper’s “Acid Rap” and “Coloring Book” and they’ll never appreciate Kendrick Lamar’s “To Pimp a Butterfly” in the context of when it was released.  

They’ll also never ever know what it’s like to stay up till 4 a.m. staying at a friend’s house on a hot summer night playing GTA V because your own parents are way too strict to let you buy such a morally bankrupt game. 

Guess what mom and dad, I played a lot of GTA V and I don’t steal cars, deal drugs or regularly frequent strip clubs. 

Anyways, recently one of my friends released an EP that is amazing and I finally put a label on what I’m feeling. 

My friend Emily Annis released an EP titled “Feeling Without Remorse.” It is honestly phenomenal. 

When I was visiting my family in far-away Atchison, Kansas, I realized that I should absolutely suggest it to my high school-aged siblings. 

The text exchange with my sister went as follows: 

“If you and Macie need new music, this is an EP one of my friends released and it’s really good,” I said. “It’s like Norah Jones acoustic but with Phoebe Bridgers depressing lyrics.” 

I mean come on, I want to be the cool older brother who suggests dope music that is absolutely relatable and can make my younger siblings seem cool because they listen to local music from a town that’s an eight-hour drive away. 

Anyways the problem began when my sister texted her reaction to me. We had completely different favorite songs off the EP. 

Her’s was the positive and upbeat one and mine was the angsty one. 

Then I realized, she has no reason to relate to the angsty song at all. 

She doesn’t live down the street from a vape shop, smoke like twice a week or forget when the last time she was wasted and didn’t bring someone home. 


That’s when I realized the feelings I had towards that song, while angsty, only related to twenty-somethings struggling with young adulthood.

Then, in the following text, I coined “20s angst.” The term just sticks. 

I remember when “The Life of Pablo” was a cultural event, when Stephen Curry was part of a scrappy young Warriors team going against the unstoppable LeBron James and when people actually listened to Macklemore.

It’s not the same anymore. 

Kanye turned to Jesus, GTA V is viewed as nostalgic and Chance the Rapper never matched “Coloring Book.” 

I mean jeez, are Mac Miller songs even the anthem of white people anymore? 

Sooner or later my siblings are gonna bully me by saying, “Hey Elliot it’s time to take your medication,” whenever I go on a rant about culturally significant events of the 2010s. 

As much as I abhor when Nike Elite socks were the pinnacle of fashion for dudes, I’m scared the 2020s will leave me behind as out of touch and unaware as to what passes for fashion these days. 

Do I deserve to be put out to pasture? How did millennials deal with becoming old? These are the questions that swirl in my mind. I don’t want to be considered old yet. 

As much as I like to flirt with my mortality, I find myself making the safer choice more often now. I only drive five miles over the speed limit at most, I pay for health insurance and regularly take Tums whenever I know I’m going to need it. 

I might be old now and acceptance is the first step. 

Adams can be reached at [email protected]