Raven Smith’s guide to smashing the ’20s

Words: Raven Smith  Illustrations: Christopher Harrison @HaveYouLostMe

Looks like we made it. A sparkling new decade stretching before us like the yellow brick road but with fewer munchkins and more podcasts. I can’t really remember 2010 and there’s no Instagram to scroll back through as a memory jogger. If anyone asks, I looked like Brad Pitt in ‘Interview with the Vampire’, with flawless skin, expensive-looking clothes and a string of celebrity boyfriends who I still occasionally text. I’m lugging considerably more eye luggage with me into the roaring 2020s, but I’m ready for a decade of less negativity and more tailored clothing. You don’t necessarily need masses of grit or steely determination to survive the next 10 years, but these simple suggestions should help ease proceedings.

Tip #1: Have your cake and eat it

Your body is a temple, or if not a temple, one of the tiny chapels they have in hospitals. Either way, this new decade is all about body maintenance. The end goal used to be so simple: Madonna’s arms with boyband abs. But because of evolving beauty trends, the new dream body is lenticular – Saint Laurent from one angle, and sexily Kardashian from another. Detoxing is an option – but remember: drinking apple cider vinegar isn’t a personality. I’d rather hear my own obituary than your calorie intake. And wasn’t it Kate Moss who said: “Nothing tastes as good as cake tastes”?

Tip #2: Just remember Beyoncé

I can’t remember if sheet masks are still problematic, but it’s impossible to feel anxious when you’re smashing a skin regime and listening to Beyoncé’s ‘Upgrade U’ on repeat. I have it on good authority that in the 2020s they’ll develop a portal like the Stargate SG-1, which you can stick your head in and it lets you see the real Beyoncé. This suggestion for surviving this decade has lost its way a little, but maybe just remember that Beyoncé exists and is thriving. That should be enough to get you all the way to 2025.

Tip #3. Hydrate and Heimlich

Every time I get depressed about our current political hell, I picture Mike Skinner in Calvin Kleins. You can adopt a similar fantasy to take the edge off. Physically burying your head in the sand like an ostrich could work, too, but doesn’t gel well with a desk job. Bear Grylls survives everything by stripping off and drinking his own urine, which I do not suggest. I Googled survival skills and the number one is drinking water, so y’all should be hydrating to the point your pee runs clear. I also read that fake laughing releases the same happy endorphins as real laughing, so maybe watch the news and Heimlich up a sad belly laugh like Joaquin Phoenix in ‘Joker’. You will eventually feel content.

Tip #4. Master the art of reinvention

A new decade presents the perfect opportunity to reinvent oneself like a high-school girl in glasses at the end of a teen movie. Shrug off the pious wellness of the 2010s; smash that pot you wheeled at night class and eat all the avocados in a spiked guac on New Year’s Eve. Simple pleasures will punctuate the decade. The smell of sliced white bread. The sweet symphony of your finger tapping on Tinder. A full-body cleanse. Reinvent your home, too. Brazenly tear out the original features and chrome every surface like the Flight of the Navigator spaceship. The future is now.

Tip #5. Keep the friend thread going

In all honesty, to survive the next 10 years you need mates, congregated in a WhatsApp group that’s knowingly snarky in the way only close friendships can be. You get them, and they get you. You have little in-jokes and screengrab good clothes they should buy. They don’t mind when you haven’t texted in a while because great friendship doesn’t dilute between chats. Find your people and hunker down for the foreseeable. Friendship never ends.

Raven Smith has written for publications including The Times, British Vogue and The Face. His upcoming book, ‘Raven Smith’s Trivial Pursuits’, is released on 2 April.