If you’re like me, who has freshly entered their 20s, the main thing on your mind is how you are going to navigate life now that you’re a full-grown adult. It goes without saying that our 20s are supposed to be the most “selfless decade” of one’s life, because so many of us are entering the real world with freedom. Yet, our freedom is also met with responsibility. Family and friends could be pressuring you to further your education or immediately have a job set up before you graduate. You may be having underwhelming thoughts of marriage, children, and maintaining a source of income.
To me, there is still societal pressure around the concept of adulting, which is targeted towards success. The majority of people that you attend school with could be engaged or expecting a kid, while you are not able to meet any of those expectations that were built from societal pressure. Another thing that could be bothering you is witnessing all of your friends getting jobs after graduation, while you may not have a job lined up. Again, the pressure and stress of having nothing figured out can bring a lot of agony in one’s life.
The narrative for 20somethings is simply this: graduate college, get married, have children, and live happily ever after. But, what if this narrative of life may not be something that one would want?
These expectations that have been engraved into our minds for years is not, I repeat not, the key to success. You want to know what the key to success looks like? Mapping out your goals and following it amongst yourself. Figuring out what will be right for you and not rushing to have your life figured out. During this decade of your life, experience is what is going to motivate you. Experimenting with new career options, changing your perspective on success, and connecting with people will help you out in the long run. As people, we weren’t taught this during our younger years, which should’ve been the time in our lives that we needed to hear this the most. Catering your mindset to the “unrealistic expectations” will have you feeling lost, confused, and most of all terrified.
Personally, I have been bombarded by questions like “when are you going to be married?”, “are you planning to go to grad school?”, and “do you plan to retire one day?”. I’m in my second year of college, and topics like marriage and retirement are far from my mind. Yes, finding a job is something that will never leave my mind, but knowing the steps on how to prepare myself for said dream job will navigate me in the right direction. Avoiding societal pressure and making my own rules allow me to find new passion in all aspects of my life. Your persona shouldn’t be based on statistics related to marriage, children, and job growth. Instead, listen to your heart and know that not everything has to be figured out right away. As humans, we are going to come across many things that will either change our minds or encourage us to make a difference. If you’re someone who is struggling with meeting certain expectations, don’t feel ashamed. Trust me, you are not the only person in the world to not have a set plan.
It could take months to reach your goals. In most cases, years. But, having a level of self-awareness and self-worth will inspire you to be your own person and not to have to follow in anyone else’s footsteps.