When I was a teenager, I thought my 20s were going to be the best time of my life. I know I’m not the only one wondering why no one told us that our 20s were going to be like this. I’m pretty sure most of you know what I mean when I say “like this.” It’s not completely miserable, but it’s not all that great either. I’m only 22, so. I’m not very deep into my 20s yet, so who knows. My 20s may turn out to be the best time of my life. As of right now, it’s a hell no. Here are just a few notable aspects of the 20something years that either my friends or I, myself, have experienced.
1. Freedom, Kind of.
So when you turn 18 in America, you’re legally an adult. Let’s be honest, most of us were nowhere near adulthood when we turned 18. Most of us were still seniors in high school living with our parents. We didn’t really make many decisions for ourselves aside from deciding how to waste our money. I had a little more freedom after graduation and during my first year of college, but I didn’t really have to do anything with that freedom. My parents couldn’t dictate my every move, but I didn’t really do anything drastic. When I entered my 20s, shit got real. I had to pay rent, big girl bills. I had to start making all these decisions for my future all at once. In your 20s, the world opens up in front of you. There are so many options. You can get a degree, go to the military, move to a new place, literally anything under the sun. Sure people can give their opinions about shit, but at the end of the day, you can do what you want. So then you’re just like what do I do? What happens if I do this? Will this one little decision make or break my well-being for the rest of my life? It sounds so simple but it’s really not. It just opens the door for so much uncertainty. I began questioning everything in me life because I realized that things no longer had to be the way that they were/are. I realized I had the freedom to dictate the way the rest of my life ends up and that is fucking scary. So you’re free, but do you really allow yourself to be free or do you allow your fear to dictate your decisions?
2. Self Exploration
Let’s be honest, most of us didn’t really know who we were in our teenage years. We still cared about what people thought of us back then. Your 20s gives you the space to further discover who you are, what you like, and what your place is in the world. The self exploration journey is not always an easy one. You literally thought you knew yourself, then one day, you start realizing you have no idea who you are. If you don’t know who you are, how can anyone else? What the hell are you doing wrong? Why don’t you know yourself ? So you could have been super confident your entire life and then you reach a point where your confidence is shot because you don’t know who you are anymore. When this started happening to me, I thought something was wrong with me. I take all these psychology and sociology classes so I was trying to apply what I’ve learned to try to figure out what went wrong in my life causing me to reach this point. I didn’t realize that this was normal at first. Now I know people just don’t go around announcing this stage of life to the world. So now, while you’re learning who you are, you have to learn to love yourself along the way. On top of that, you have to worry about your sanity and happiness because all of a sudden you don’t know who you are and you don’t even love yourself. How can you be happy when your world has been completely shaken? Of course this process will make your life better in the end, but in the moment, shit’s hard.
3. Relationships Change
Once you get in your 20s, everyone starts to have their own life. You really have to make an effort to be friends with people. I don’t mean effort in a draining kind of way. I just mean you don’t have the time to be with these people 24/7 anymore so you have to actively make the decision to contact them and see them. Also, people start growing in different directions. Not everyone grows at the same pace either. This causes people to grow more distant or grow closer just depending on the person. People are discovering who they are and changing. Your friend is no longer the same person they were when you met them.
I didn’t really want to talk about romantic relationships, but those play a big role in your 20s. Isn’t this when you’re supposed to meet your future spouse? In your 20s, relationships start changing and getting a little more serious, or at least they’re supposed to. I think. In your teenage years, relationships come and go. One day you like someone, the next day you’re crying over them, and basically the next day it’s like whatever. Okay that may have been a little oversimplified, but what I’m trying to say is that it was so much simpler back then. We got over people and moved on super fast. Now, its harder to get over people because the feelings are deeper, the bonds are tighter, and if you’re like me, you’ve imagined a future for the two of you. So when something goes wrong, you don’t just lose that person, you lose a part of your future. Here we go again with the whole uncertainty thing. So now you have to look at some of your peers getting married and/or having babies, meanwhile, you don’t even have a significant other. Of course we know and understand that everyone has their own path and life is not a race, but in the moment, you still feel behind or like you’re lacking in some way. A disconnect also happens when one person thinks in the way that I just described and the other doesn’t take their relationships as seriously. That plays back on the fact that people grow at different rates. It’s just a mess really.
4. Life Becomes R E A L.
Bills. Responsibilities. Enough said.
5. Time Starts to Fly
I can’t be the only one realizing that time feels like it’s passing faster and faster. I feel like we just started college and now we are graduating. Everything is happening so fast and adult life is starting to hit harder and harder. Anxiety? ABSOLUTELY.
Have you noticed anything else that happens in your 20something years? Feel free to comment with your experiences. I want to know what you all have experienced.