Tuesday Obituary: My 20s

Tuesday Obituary: My 20s
Photo by sunshinecity via Wikimedia Commons.

by Sahar Tavakoli

My 20s have died aged 36 in Milan, Italy. Born in 2007 in Sydney, Australia, they ended on September 4, 2023.

My late, beautiful friend, Trevor Pinch once told me that, as they exist in the contemporary social imaginary, what we think of as the 1960s actually took place in the 1970s. I regret now that I didn’t ask him why the '60s couldn’t have existed in both. Limiting a decade to ten years feels like an unfair act of nominative determinism, like suggesting that all locomotives must, by definition, eventually come off their rails. In as much as our 20s are, pace Didion, that period in our lives in which subscription to trope and cliché feel like iconoclasm and novelty, I see no reason to limit them to any particular solar rotation. Empirical research has demonstrated that they usually begin between ages 17 and 33, and last a period of 15-20 years.

In my case, their passing was marked by the removal of my navel ring. For a piece of jewelry threaded through the upper lip of my umbilicus, it was a real pain in the arse. For starters it was crooked. Twice I’d try to have this corrected, once by having it repierced and another time by having a custom crooked bar inserted to feign the illusion of centredness. Nothing would work. Like its host, it leaned pretty far to the left. Agitator that it was, it would itch and, when scratched, it would swell. To be honest, I’m not fully convinced it ever healed.

It left the same way it had arrived: with little if any planning. Standing in the shower on that Monday morning, I did what any self-respecting member of the academe would do: I gazed at my navel. ‘To hell with it,’ I thought, unscrewing the little ball thing that kept it in place. For a moment I thought I was relieved. That feeling would instead turn out to be the receding waterline signaling the feeling of disorientation that was about to crash down on me. I spent the day in a funk.

I hated the 20s I had in my numerical 20s. Their reprisal in my numerical 30s was fine. In any case, we’re through and now it’s time to heal.

My 20s are survived by me and by a small purple scar on my tummy.

Sahar Tavakoli writes The Stopgap’s late news (10 letters). 

Tip Sahar Tavakoli