We’ve been fed this notion that by 20-something, we should have our lives figured out, or at least we should know where we’re bound to go: getting a solid career, settling down on a particular age, and basically having the time of our lives travelling and well, creating memories. Ah, the most coveted work-life balance. A life portrayed on many feel-good music videos. But in reality, not everything goes according to plan. And when things don’t go as planned, we tend to feel lost and disoriented. Well, there’s something I have to tell you: I take it one day at a time, and I’m fine with that.
“Adulting” is hard
Living life in your twenties is hard. You’re considered an adult, but not really. You finally have the time to discover who you are aside from the student you have been for the past two decades, but then you now have responsibilities on your shoulders. One minute you’re singing “eenie meenie miney moe” to guess the answer to a test question you haven’t reviewed about, then the next, you have to set up your bank accounts, income tax returns, and we’re like: how did it become so serious all of a sudden? Is there an orientation or a boot camp I could sign up for so I’d have an idea on how to be an adult?
Being thrown in front of the classroom to talk about something you’re not ready for is one thing for an introvert like me, but being thrown in the adult world is a whole other thing. Include the ruthless world of dating and you’re doomed. Heh.
Take Time Getting To Know Your 20-something self
As a 20-something year old introverted weirdo, I’ve always had this unshakable feeling that there is something out there for me. If only I could figure out what that something is. And that’s exactly what I have been doing for the past years: figuring it out. Turns out, that something, or rather someone I have to figure out is myself.
I just met myself recently.
All these years I haven’t really thought about my preferences until after I finished studying. I didn’t have that many friends when I was young to experience signing slam books and actually think about my favorite food (M2M = many to mention), my favorite movie (I’m more of a series person), or even my favorite color (black) for crying out loud. I also wondered why I was so shy and wished I could be like my classmates who seem natural in making friends with everybody. As I grew up, though, I learned about my personality, eccentricities, and preferences. I discovered my passion, and what big a difference it would be had I not acknowledge it. I began to embrace my quirks and the feelings I’ve felt in different situations. I learned how to say no.
I’m not telling you to go buy a slam book and answer the heck out of the notebook or answer tons of personality quizzes on Facebook to find out which Harry Potter character you are. What I’m saying is to try getting in touch with who you really are. Ask your 20-something self questions that matter. Try things before passing judgment. I wouldn’t have known I’m into counterculture had I stereotyped way back and stuck to what’s mainstream. I’m not going Gandhi on you guys, but once you know what you want, it’ll cut a big load of thoughts out of that messy head of yours. Let me stress though that getting to know your self isn’t a destination, but a lifetime process. You’re going to meet a lot of versions of yourself in the future. Be sure to get to know him/her.
Going Against the Current
I know a lot of people being weighed down by other peoples’ expectations on them that they forget to stop for a minute and ask themselves if that’s what they really want for themselves. I get it. I really do. I have been like that. It feels good meeting the expectations of people who matter, but at the end of the day, you crave for self-fulfillment.
“Is this really what I want?”
If you want something nobody wants or agrees on, go ahead and want it. It may be that they haven’t opened their eyes fully yet because they haven’t seen anyone do it. Work hard to prove them wrong. Revolutionaries and visionaries didn’t stop when one person rejected their ideas, did they? What was once an insane idea could be something life-changing.
If you’ve had a change of heart, go do what it is you think will make you happy. Just make sure you don’t step on anyone in the process. Or if you unintentionally did, make sure you did all you could to avoid it. Inevitably, you might lose people, get judged, make tons of mistakes. You’ll hurt and get hurt a lot. Forgive yourself for being human, move on, and then let go. If your 20-something self has no idea what to do, that’s also okay. Let’s get lost together.
“Whatever you think, be sure it is what you think; whatever you want, be sure that is what you want; whatever you feel, be sure that is what you feel.” —T.S. Eliot
Stuck between YOLO and ‘Netflix and Chill’
I’m a firm believer that we have different plans laid out for each one of us, and that everything will fall into its place in due time. Just do what makes you happy. You’ll figure the rest out, I know.
P.S. I didn’t write this blog post like a know-it-all adult because I’m as lost as you. This is more of a note to self and reflection, you guys. I realized how lucky I was to discover how lost I was at the early age of 20. It’s a sad reality that some people never do. Some people wait their whole lives aimlessly floating through life only to realize at the end that what they did their whole lives weren’t what they really wanted. And I hope that doesn’t happen to us.
Let’s talk in the Comments section. I’d like to know what you think. I hope we all find ourselves. <3