The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
It all started when you turned 20.
With a heart full of determination and the world as your oyster, you have been told to seize each moment, each day, and every opportunity that comes across your path. Except, balancing education and friends, work and family, hobbies and relationships, and even quality time for oneself can be quite difficult to achieve. As much as many have tried to balance the important people and responsibilities in life, many are also asking, “What on earth am I supposed to be doing?”
What are we supposed to be doing? At 20, we could get married. We could be going to college or have all four years done, with our framed degree hung on the wall. We could be finding a job, or still be working at the same company for a few years. We could have a whole life plan, have no plan at all, and (dare I say it) we could even have kids. Being 20 can be both exciting and terrifying. So the true question is, how can one simply be in their 20s?
When your stomach growls, you know you are hungry. When your eyes feel heavy, you know you need rest. These are some of the basics to understanding yourself, and yet, there are many who choose to ignore these feelings and push through them by working hard. Unfortunately, I am also one of these people.
It took me many years to learn to prioritize my needs, and not categorize them into “wants”. I would look inside the fridge and think, “You don’t need this food, you just want it”, and go a full day with only a few granola bars. There were times when I pulled all-nighters and studied, assuming that it would help me feel more accomplished and not as “lazy”. But it wasn’t until the past year that I realized that each of these judgmental thoughts towards myself were all complete lies. Upon discovering this, I drove to the store and had a container of mashed potatoes with a pint of ice cream. (Judge me as you wish, but garlic mashed potatoes are a blessing to this Earth.)
When you are hungry, you are hungry. When you feel tired, you are not seen as any less for taking a nap. Though there should be a healthy amount of balance in these things, remember to prioritize your needs and understand what your needs are. You are learning who you are and who you want to be in your 20’s; use this time for yourself!
I remember running to my dad’s bathroom after dinner, only to stand on the scale and see how much I weighed. It became an addiction, without me even realizing how often I would weigh myself. Until one day, I saw my dad peek his head in and give me “the look”.
“You know, I bet if you stopped watching Instagram so much, you wouldn’t be standing here as often.” I remember thinking he was giving me one of those, “You gosh darn kids with your phones, you need to stop looking at them.” But with the smirk on his face, I took it as a challenge. I had him hold me accountable for not checking any social media for two weeks, and he made sure that I kept my promise.
To my absolute shock, it was true. Normally, I would assume that I would still “do as I do”. But I found that when I did not have social media to look at, I did not have as many people to compare my body and lifestyle to. Even when I would see gorgeous women turning heads in the mall every so often, I found myself actually doing more things rather than just observing other people doing them. I spent much more time with my family and friends, and I learned how to spend even more time with myself. That was my first step to loving myself.
So you’re in your 20’s.
Use this time for yourself to validate your feelings, love your body, prioritize your needs, and maybe take a few more naps. You have the world at your fingertips, so remember to relax before your next adventure.