The very first — and the very last — pages of Michael Heald’s new book of essays have the same four words: “My twenties are ending.” They’re fitting bookends for what’s inside.
Goodbye to the Nervous Apprehension is made up of eleven autobiographical essays. Together, they’re a kind of field guide to Heald’s 20s. In his telling, this is a decade of self-definition and self-discovery — a time that’s both painful and thrilling. He writes about a strained relationship with his older brother and about doomed romantic entanglements. He captures the special place that music holds in those years, and what it means to be five foot four:
Five four is the average height of the American woman. Five four is taller than Paul Simon, Danny DeVito, Prince, and Danzig. Those guys turned out alright.
Above all, Goodbye is about dealing with disappointment, and learning how to embrace a life that doesn’t fit the pattern you’d set for yourself.
Are you recently out of your 20s? What would you like to say goodbye to?