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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Utah chapter.

Growing up, the life I imagined was one of glitz and glamour. In my dreams, I lived somewhere in the Hollywood Hills or on a Napa Valley Winery – enjoying the finer things in life. Life consisted of more pleasure than work and more love than hate. I am not here today.

Hollywood, California photo
Ahmet Yalç?nkaya

Twenty-one years old and I am bricked in a cubicle, pinching pennies, and relying partially on antidepressants and partially on the hope that things will “get better” just to get through the day. Depression and anxiety flow through me, giving me the adequate highs and lows that I need. Anxiety is my upper, kicking me out of the downs of depression. Financially I am trying to be independent, but a 40-hour workweek will never suffice the cost of living, let alone the cost of dreaming. I have traded the sleazy and luxurious life I always dreamed of for the realities of adulthood.


Some may look at the bags under my eyes or the tears dried on my face as pain or grief, but little do they know I could not be more grateful for where I am today. “Nothing worth it is ever easy,” I was told growing up; however, I had never done anything hard, so this phrase meant nothing to me. To nod and say, “Okay!” never solicited any further explanation and I am beginning to see why; there are no words to describe the stress, anger, excitement, and true pride that accomplishment brings. 

Letterboard - "Be proud of how hard you are working"
Photo by Emma Matthews Digital Content Production from Unsplash

Being in the twenty-something demographic is hard. Between school, work, money, relationships, and caring for yourself, this is an age that will permanently alter your life, yet for so many, the most they can do is go through the motions and reminisce on the dreams they once had as they aimlessly stroll through life, not knowing how in the world to achieve all they believed they would. I am here to tell you that it’s okay if you aren’t living the life of your dreams. Sure, there are days I wish I lived a life of luxury, but if I had the opportunity to travel back in time, there is not one thing I would do differently. Knowing the effort I have put towards building the life I have gives me so much faith in myself. Nothing happens overnight, and that can make it difficult to acknowledge progress, but it is so important to see that changes are happening. 


To say five-year-old me would admire where I am in life is a stretch, but five-year-old me also didn’t understand much about the world beyond bows and baby-dolls. What matters most is that today I can recognize the hardships I have overcome, the goals I have accomplished, and the happiness I hold so dearly to my heart. Maybe I have less money and fame than I thought I would have, but I am more in love and full of gratitude for my life than I ever could have dreamed.

Political Science Major Alaskan Forever Mental Health Advocate Engaged to the Best!
Her Campus Utah Chapter Contributor