I used to think I’d have everything sorted out by now. You know how that goes; dream job, fancy car, awesome partner and life to be jealous of. Whoever said people in their 20s are grown ups must have tricked us a good one. And it’s not just me.
Being in your 20s has never been more difficult to navigate. The world has become smaller and the pressures of society have grown exponentially. These days you head to college immediately after high school, meaning you get to graduate in your early 20s and begin the journey of post-graduate expectations.
Life becomes so fast paced it’s hard to even get a breather. In my opinion, it’s even harder when you’re a guy. Most of us have to make big with so little and it’s becomes really hard to keep up. Despite the “openness” of social media, we find ourselves living “closed” lives. You have one life on the timeline and another in real time. If not checked, I believe, we are bound to lose a generation of young men and women trying to keep up with everything that’s required of them from society.
It’s going to be tough – surviving through this crisis and I think there are some things we need to realize as 20 year-olds that we should be okay with. Here’s a few from me.
1. Pursuing your dreams/happiness
One of the things that we are told after graduation is to get a job and start settling down. Most of the time, we didn’t even like what we pursued in campus and, despite having other interests, we find ourselves settling for jobs that make us miserable.
Deep down you might want to be an artist, musician, photographer or anything you want. But it seems our 20s have become the new graveyard for unfulfilled potential and broken dreams.
So here’s what I want to say. Do whatever makes you happy. (Hoping I will also follow my own advice and finally write that anthology of poetry and short stories).
2. Being broke
Financial pressure is one of the main things driving people in my generation over the edge. Especially coupled with pressure to keep up with a certain lifestyle.
You’ll find yourself interacting with, or even competing with, people in their 30s or older who’ve already had the time and experience to figure things out. Don’t! Go at your own pace. It’s okay to be broke.
Being broke doesn’t mean you’ll go hungry or won’t save and have a firm financial plan. It just means that most of the time you won’t have money to do whatever you want. You’ll probably save part of your income or invest in something like school or getting your own camera to build on that photography dream.
Be fine with that. Be fine with not having a million in the bank or a couple of hundred thousands to spoil yourself. Be fine with having just a hundred bob to get you through the day.
3. Trying new things
This is the time to try new things and get to know yourself better. Write, sing, perform, travel and do something out of your comfort zone. You never know where these paths might lead you but if you don’t take the first step then you won’t have a journey to these unexplored horizons.
4. Saying No
It’s okay to say NO.
Say no to whatever doesn’t make you happy. Say no to whatever you feel is wrong for you. Say no to bad friends and destructive relationships.
Learn and be okay with saying NO.
5. Your own company
I don’t know why but one of the scariest things in your 20s seems to be your own company. Your expected to always live an extrovert lifestyle and have a great social life.
If you’re to get through these years you have to learn to be okay with your own company. It’s okay to be alone. Your own company doesn’t translate to being lonely or being anti-social.
So take some time on your own. Listen your favorite album. (I’ll recommend Mumford and Sons “Babel” for now). Read a book. Or just watch a movie or series. It’s fine.
6. Being heartbroken
Life is full of ups and downs. It’s not just relationships that will break your heart but even realizing your own limitations might leave your broken and down-trodden. A failed venture can hurt like a failed relationships. But that’s okay. The beauty about the downs is it leaves you open to moving up. People will come and go and you’ll meet new and amazing people in the process.
7. Not being okay
It’s okay not to be okay. It’s okay to struggle. Whether you’re struggling with mental illness or just struggling to get by. There’s beauty in the struggle.
I say these not just for you but for myself. Keep your head up.
And remember the immortal words of one J.Cole – LOVE YOURZ