To the Twenty-Something Year Olds Who Need to Hear This...

To be frank, most of the time I have no idea what I’m doing. Life can be overwhelming and as a young person emerging into this world, I’m still trying to figure out how this “adulting” thing works. Quite frequently, I have moments where everything seems to not be enough — not my accomplishments, not my timing, not my job or grades. It’s all too easy to compare ourselves and our lives to others and the actuality is, we’ve all been there (No? Just me? Cool). In all seriousness though, given the concept of social media, where there are model-esque bikini pictures on glamourous vacations and celebratory graduation or engagement photos, it’s natural to neglect the fact that no one is posting about their failures and heartbreaks.

It’s obviously spectacular and warming to see friends and family be granted with hard earned accomplishments or finding love, but it’s also okay to admit if it makes you a teeny bit jealous. For me, there were times where I’d feel like I was stuck running in place while everyone was breezing past me. These moments made me feel inadequate and immature, and honestly sometimes still do. I’d question why no one else seemed to have a hard time growing up, or why everyone seemed so good at living life effortlessly. The reality is, we all have our strengths and weaknesses. Where someone may succeed, you may fail. But, where you succeed, someone else may fail. 

We all hear, “life is short,” but it’s literally the longest thing we'll ever do. When you start feeling like you’re running out of time or that you’re way behind your peers—take a deep breath. Remember, you have plenty of time. No matter how much these institutions want to engrain socially constructed ideas into us, there is no rulebook or timeline to follow. Your life is yours and yours alone. Taking your time is not a weakness, not feeling ready is not a weakness and feeling clueless or stuck isn’t either. Especially within the general age range of young adults, it’s only natural to feel that way. You aren’t alone in that, despite how empty those dark corners may feel. Acknowledging your efforts, accomplishments and what makes you feel happy and at your best, makes it easier to accept your life’s path. Comparison truly can be a thief of joy, so separate yourself from others and reaffirm to yourself that others’ accomplishments are not your failures. 

One day you’ll get that job, or get into that school or find the love of your life. Once we realize that none of us know everything, it’s easier to admit that you may need help or guidance. Celebrate and empower one another, explore ideas and interests, try hard, make mistakes, make more mistakes and learn from it all. Life isn’t a competition, and understanding that you don’t have to follow anyone else’s ideas, rules or norms will feel like a breath of fresh air.