Why you SHOULDN'T have it all figured out by the age of 20

Ahh, we’ve finally made it to our 20’s. Officially out of our teen years, over halfway through college, and quickly approaching the dreaded real world.  Hopefully you have the perfect summer internship picked out, are getting straight A’s, taking on an active role least three clubs, volunteering on the weekends, AND are working a part-time job. Easy right? NOT.

If you’re looking to get a reasonable job these days, going to college seems to be the only route to get there. We’re told we need a degree to get a job, and on top of that we need to have experience and a juicy resume before we can get that job. So, while taking classes, we’re supposed to be doing all these extracurriculars, working, doing daily searches on Linkedin, and everything in between. All this so that when we graduate, we can get right into the work force and make money to pay off the school we just attended, be able to afford a car to commute to that job… you get the picture. Our society has placed an absurd amount of pressures on us and gives us the idea that we must be constantly progressing towards a goal.  It’s no wonder that so many people our age feel stressed, have anxiety, are overwhelmed, and feel lost all the time.

 

But what if we all just really took a moment to process the idea that we are only 20 years old. We should not have it all figured out. It’s okay not to have a clue what you want to do with your life. It’s okay to feel like your life is a mess, because EVERYONE’S IS.

Take a step back and think “Is what I’m doing right now something I want to be doing, or is it because I feel like I need to.” Obviously we all have to do things we don’t want like homework, working, etc, but I mean the extra stuff.  The stuff that we feel like we HAVE to be doing because society makes us feel that way. Life goes by way too quick and for what? What is all of this anxiety and stress for?

The best advice I’ve received in my life is from my mom, and it’s so simple: Take it day by day.

When I get overwhelmed with schoolwork, relationships, friendships, etc., my mom always reminds me of that simple phrase. She tells me to focus on what I need out of today, and to stop worrying about what will happen tomorrow since tomorrow is never guaranteed. And instead of getting wrapped up in the constant feeling of, “I have so much to do in x amount of time,” or worrying about the bigger picture, think about what’s a realistic amount I can get done today, and relax.

Our 20’s are our learning years. These are the years we need to focus on ourselves and figure out what really lights a spark inside of us. What do you really enjoy doing? And whatever the answer is to that, do more of it. Spend more time focusing on what brings you happiness on a daily basis, not what will bring you “happiness” 5 years from now. We’re all working so hard right now to be okay when we’re older. But what if we focused on the now, and being happy with where we are now.

Everything works out in the end, and it is okay to let go and feel like you’re not in control. At the end of your life, you don’t want to look back and have regrets. You’re not going to tell your kids stories about the nights you stayed in doing homework, or the summers you spent inside all day working an awful unpaid internship just so you could get a job you didn’t even like. So make more of an effort to do more things that light you up. Get done what needs to be done, but also make time to really be 20.  

Nothing is stopping us from ourselves. We as a generation might not be able to change our societal norms, but we can change our perspective on them. 

 

Images: 1,2,3