As the Gen Z-ers Say, I've Entered “My Delulu Era”

Here’s a TikTok trend I can get behind

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Lately Gen Z-ers everywhere (or at least on TikTok) are proclaiming that they’re in their ‘delulu era’—and they might be onto something. Let’s backpedal for a moment though because I’m realizing that without any context, this may sound like gibberish to you. 

Delulu’ is short for delusional, and it’s a term that first emerged in 2014 to describe obsessive K-Pop fans who believed they could end up with their favorite stars (i.e., Jungkook from BTS). Since then, the term has been co-opted by TikTokers and is used to encourage a little delusion in all aspects of your life. 

So much has happened (and continues to happen) in the world and the silly word is a simple reminder to not take life too seriously sometimes. Moreover, it nudges us to manifest our own paths forward. 

See, over the last three years, it was easy for me to be a homebody and let the outside world figure itself out. But when my best friend of 17 years told me she was pregnant, reality hit me hard. I was overjoyed for her, of course, but I bawled my eyes out as soon as I hung up the phone. Yes, everyone is on their own timeline, but this made me question what I was doing with my own life. And so began ‘my delulu era,’ as an almost 30-year-old. 

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My Delulu Era Started with Saying Yes to Everything.

My first taste of the delulu lifestyle started by saying yes to every event I was invited to and making each one the best event I had ever attended. I used to question why I was even invited to events or whether I was important enough to be there. Imposter syndrome often made me second guess myself, and I was quick to say no to invitations because I didn’t want to go to these events alone and feel out of place.

I began going to two, sometimes three events a week, and I even started taking classes that interested me like mozzarella making or salsa dancing. I began meeting many different people and stepping out of my comfort zone. Whether it was asking more questions or giving compliments to strangers, I stopped being afraid to geek out and just be myself around new people. In spaces I didn’t think I'd ever be in, I started to tell myself “Hey, I belong here, too.” 

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I Also Started Feeling More Comfortable with Myself.

I’ve always had a complicated relationship with confidence, but my new commitment to being more ‘delulu’ helped me shut down the negative self-talk and I started to embrace a more positive mindset. I began spending less time comparing myself to others and appreciating where my life is at the moment. Now, I wouldn’t say all my insecurities went away completely—I am human after all, but I definitely saw a shift.

For example, I decided to wear a bold smokey eye, which I haven’t done since attempting the look in high school. I paired it with a revealing bodysuit and an animal-print wrap skirt that screamed “look at me” during a New York Fashion Week event. Surrounded by women who looked like they stepped straight out of a magazine, I didn’t put myself down or go through the usual rabbit hole of asking why I didn’t wear this or didn’t look like that. Instead, I held my head high and spent the night having a good time. This experience pushed me to become more comfortable in my own skin. 

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I Started Becoming OK with the Unknown.

I’m a planner by nature, which is never going to change, but I’m also learning to let things happen and just allow myself to get excited for what might come next. I tend to feel anxious about whether I’ll ever find love or have kids or simply be happy. But being in my ‘delulu era’ gives me hope and has given me an excuse to act on my aspirations. It has helped me build more confidence and get comfortable with being present, while staying open to the future. 

It may seem like I’m putting on rose-tinted glasses and I’m pushing away any problems, but that’s far from the truth. Instead, being ‘delulu’ just gives me the push to not think so hard or worry all the time. It’s given me the permission to visualize what I want in life and actually try things out—whether they go my way or not. With a few months of my 20s left, I’m prepared to be unapologetically silly, more optimistic and maybe even a little delusional as I head into my 30s. (And if that includes thinking I could end up marrying Taylor Zakhar Perez, then let me be.)

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Associate Editor, Ultimate Fangirl, Aspiring Beauty Guru

Chelsea Candelario is an Associate Editor at PureWow. She has been covering beauty, culture, fashion and entertainment for over a decade. You'll find her searching the internet...