Do you ever feel like you’re 22 going on 35, yet you’re nowhere near “having it all”? Well, that’s pretty much been the summary of my existence for the last five years. I’m not sure where this originated, but I’ve always thought that women in their 30s were the most beautiful, most pulled-together women I knew. They are confident, successful, still growing, and know what they want out of life. The problem is that to get to your 30s, you have to go through your 20s. Well, how does it happen? How do we become who we want to be?
What I think (hopefully I’m right) is that your 20s are for growing out of the expectations of life that you developed in your teenage years. You expect life to be grand, to be fulfilling and revelatory… to matter. And yes, they can and will be all of these things. But just not in the way you expect them to be. To be able to see that, to truly see the beautiful life set before you, you will have to overcome the fears built by your expectations. So I’ve come up with a list of these fears, the ones I’ve felt made the most impact in my own experience. It’s something I continue to revisit because I’m constantly battling in a struggle to overcome them. Hopefully they’ll resonate with you as well.
This will be the decade of the most notable change, mostly emotional. Naturally we all want to hold onto the things that we know best, but this can hinder us from envisioning better futures for ourselves. Change is inevitable and the only solution is to embrace it, to allow it to carry you like a wave under a surfboard. Ride that wave.
It’s scary as shit to uproot your life and move to a new city or start a new job. Part of becoming an adult is knowing that you can jump, fall, and it’ll be okay. Actually, we learned this as children but somewhere in our adolescence we re-learn the fear of falling, metaphorically that is, and it keeps us from going after the things we really want. Don’t let this happen! Jump. And don’t look back.
In college, when everyone goes out, you go out too! In this social media driven world, we are feeling more pressure than ever to be a part of things. If not, then we’ll see it on Instagram or Facebook and feel like we’ve missed out on a great time or that our relationships will suffer because of it. But it’s not true. Missing out on random social outings can be a good thing. It means you’re prioritizing, figuring out what and who is most important and most valuable to you. Make all your moments count and only give mind and time to the people who really matter to you.
You go through school being taught that you need to listen and follow rules to get ahead. The professional world is quite a different place. Confidence plays a huge role in getting what you want. If you aren’t able to voice your opinion or stand behind your decisions, it comes off as wishy washy, indecisive, and immature. You need to know why you do the things you do and you need to be ready to defend yourself and your worth. Allow yourself to be strong. It’s not bitchy, it’s not delusional. Believe in yourself and give yourself the respect you deserve.
You are not old and you are nowhere near getting there. Most of our fear comes from the fact that we’ve never even thought about it before – our own mortality, that is. But in your 20s, the impact of family members passing away begins to weigh heavier on your heart and your mind. Seeing your parents age before your eyes is terrifying and then you start wondering, well when am I next? Don’t let this turn into fear though. Use this shift in perspective to enjoy life more than ever before.
ending up alone
It might seem hypocritical for me to dote on this since I have such a loving boyfriend, but I know myself well enough to know that if I were single, I’d need someone – anyone – to tell me not to be freaking out over this. Being alone is great; you’re able to focus on yourself and your goals with true clarity. And while you may still experience pangs of loneliness, you’ll start to realize that your favorite person to be with, is you. The more self-love you cultivate, the more likely it is you’ll end up with a partner who is a true match for you.
Have you ever seen that Amy Schumer skit where the girls all compliment each other and then put themselves down? It’s hilarious and so true [watch here]. We grow up in a culture where women are peer-pressured into self-doubt and now that you’re in your 20s, it’s time to reverse the shame cycle. Know your worth and love yourself.
If you ask anyone age 22 to 29 if they are where they want to be in life, there will be very few who will answer yes. Probably due to one of the issues listed above. The girl with the perfect job is going to be lamenting over her absent love life and the married girl will be freaking out because she’s still working as an unpaid intern. No one has it all together. Feeling like a failure will be part of your growth process, not a means to an end. Failing in your 20s is pretty dang awesome, because you have plenty of time to get back up and start over. No one will judge you for it and if they do, I promise you they are probably lying to themselves about their own fears. Knowing your life goals in your 20s is pretty rare and actually achieving them is even rarer. Give yourself some credit and give yourself some time. Nothing worth having is achieved easily.
[ image via tkow ]