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Messy eras: Do they add to your personal narrative?

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at MSU chapter.

My best friend and I were catching up after our separate spring breaks, and we immediately told each other the most scandalous and messy things that happened over the one week we were gone, whether that was our latest going out story or the weirdest conversation we had with someone from home. We went on to talk about how these stories related to the memories we had created with one another, looking towards the last party we had been at or the last piece of juicy gossip we chatted about. This sparked a conversation: if we were to write each other’s memoirs, what would we put in it?

We settled on the messiest parts of our lives. The real moments where the worst of us were depicted to the rest of the world, but the times that we will remember forever. Times like when you peed in an alley because there were no public restrooms or where you were at a party longer than you should have been, but it ended up being a story for a lifetime. By the end of the conversation, we promised ourselves that hopefully soon (more like ASAP), we would reenter what we call our “messy era.” 

Now what is a “messy era?” A messy era is when you do anything and everything that someone else may tell you is a risky move. It’s an era where the judgment from your peers doesn’t matter as long as you have a good time making questionable decisions and your friends laugh along with you. Your messy era is when you decide your own fate, and even if none of the decisions stick with you, they make for extra flavoring in your life. These are the times you’ll look back on with rose-colored glasses and think about how careless you were. 

Your college years are an exceptionally potent time for your messy era. You can’t stay out until 4 a.m. at your local Taco Bell when you have a 9-5 to get to in your late twenties or a family to provide for in your thirties. However, you can do it when you know your 10:20 a.m. lecture is being moved to Zoom and you can take the class from your bed. I may graduate a year early from MSU, and that scares the crap out of me. So, making rash decisions has a time limit to it, and with this conversation, I knew that I had to make as many memories as possible before my early adolescent years reach midnight and I have to leave the ball early, leaving my shoe behind as well, of course, because that adds to the messiness. 

If I were to write some type of manifesto, it would definitely be on the subject of making sure your college years are times of trials and tribulations, crying in the bathroom, and laughing with your friends when they come to wipe your tears. I believe entering a messy era is necessary to understanding who you are as a person and testing your problem solving skills before the problems turn from who to match with on Tinder to who you are going to marry. A messy era can teach you what social situations fulfill you and which ones drain you, figuring out where to channel your messiness. Your messy era is about messing up before you need to settle down and figure yourself out. 

The moral of this uniquely Gen Z story is that life is so terrifyingly short, and if you aren’t taking advantage of every moment to make yourself happy and try new things, these moments may pass you by. The messy era isn’t about how messed up you can make your life; it is about how much being carefree can shape how you view your life. Being messy is not a bad thing; it is a testament to growth. Go out on a Friday night, have a fling, be yourself, wear your craziest outfit, and most importantly, make memories with those that fuel your messiness and tell you that no idea is a bad idea. Love yourself and all your decisions. Never have regrets before a guilty conscience – that develops with your frontal lobe – catches up with you. 

Your messy era will not define you, but it will define how you deal with the messy parts of your life. I will always be the friend that tells you to go for it and say, “how bad could anything possibly be when you are 19 years old?” In short, love your messy attributes, and find what makes you smile when you think of the past in five short years.

I am a freshman at Michigan State University. I am majoring in Journalism and Political Science. I hope to work as a political analyst or speech writer for politicians in the future. My passion is politics and being an advocate for women's rights. I also love to speak out about mental and women's health. I also love creative writing such as poetry and stand-up comedy.