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Your 20s

“Your life starts in your 20’s.” “What you do now determines the rest of your life.” “If you don’t have things figured out now, then when?!”

Now there is nothing that I can tell you about your 20s that is gospel, particularly because I myself have only since this year turned 20 so I lack quite a significant amount of experience on the matter. I am however, very experienced in being anxious and the feeling of being overwhelmed that accompanies it. In this regard, the idea of the formidable 20’s is just the same. There is a level of uncertainty and urgency all at once that honestly scares me; a notion that things have to be done now and an enormous amount of expectation as to what should be. I mean of course you could be anti-me and have it all figured out with your 10 year plan or you could be just like me (and I pray you’re not). And even then, if you are it’s absolutely fine as long as you’re not willing to give up on a whim.

It’s often described as the years where you work your ass off to lay the foundation for your future life. We want to be well rounded, emotionally stable, financially well off (or on the way to be), good at adulting individuals. I mean why not, the economy is an absolute mess and setting things straight in your 20s would no doubt give you an upper hand in the long run. And with that expectation- justifiable in the least- comes the pressure. When I think of the 20s it’s normally as it relates to three (3) areas; job/career, relationships and personal growth so I’ll just babble a bit on what I think of all 3.

JOB/CAREER

At the forefront of every person in their 20s is trying as much as possible to build the life you want and a job/ career is important in this feat. However, it is a known fact that you might not land that dream right off the bat or even settle in the career that you had intended. For one, the current job market is what I think as unforgiving in providing opportunities and secondly, what you studied in university may not afford you that career you thought you would love. But that’s what your 20s are for, being flexible and making changes. Your 20s are for figuring out what you really like and what will make you happy in the end. Your 20s should be a stepping stone to your dream job or career and that might be a few odd jobs here and there but that in no way means that you should stick around in a lousy job that makes you unhappy (of course if you can make the sacrifice then fine). What it does mean is that you identify the opportunities that are worthwhile and that you take risks. I suppose that it’s much better to make career based mistakes in your 20s than in your 30s or later on because by then it might be a bit more difficult to amend. And what’s more is that there is a general belief that ‘failure isn’t an option’ when really it is and a likely one at that. I am yet to meet one person who hasn’t experienced a setback of some kind in their 20s or even ever but what they did was to learn from it as best as possible and use it as motivation for their future endeavors. They have also said that it’s a humbling experience that if nothing else forces things into perspective.

RELATIONSHIPS

As it stands, your 20s are also characterized as your experimental years and the only time when you can be truly selfish because really you just want to achieve all you can and anything else would be a distraction. In actuality there are conflicting discussions in whether or not to have serious relationships during this time. On one hand there is the idea that you simply don’t have the time for one and you’re obliges to be selfish , on the other hand, there is the usual discourse that it’s the perfect time. Personally, I don’t see any reason to not have healthy serious relationships. What I do think is that some persons lose themselves completely in relationships and having already thought that 20s will be a difficult time really aren’t up to the task of maintaining a relationship … and that’s fine. If you feel that your 20s are too much of an important time to share with anyone much less to focus on,  that’s your thing and I can’t blame you. After all humans are fickle beings. However, I am all for maintaining healthy, supportive relationships with someone who is willing to build and grow with you while also being patient with themselves and you. What I am not for is losing your identity of self in the process because that can be detrimental to your personal growth and set goals.

PERSONAL GROWTH

Besides your career goals and relationships what else did you plan? How are you trying to improve as a person? I know we are familiar with the ‘mid-life crisis’ to be experienced when you’re 40+ maybe married with kids but there is also the ‘quarter life crisis’ that many of us are experiencing right now or will when we are about 25. It is characterized by hardships in your own identity. I mean here you are relishing in the days of your youth with the doom of pending adulthood on the horizon. And really who could blame you, there is so much uncertainty that it’s suffocating and the anxiety that comes with adulting really doesn’t help. It’s also regarded as a period when you might experience bouts of unhappiness and depression as the existential dread sets in. To overcome this I feel as if it’s necessary to create various coping strategies to not only help you deal with the series of emotions that you will experience but to also act as an outlet for expressing yourself. I think it is and will be crucial to be patient with yourself and to indulge in things that make you happy and don’t be hesitant to get rid of those that don’t.  Be consistent in your efforts. Embrace the flurry of emotions that you will experience and never disregard feelings of unhappiness and anger- understand that there is nothing wrong in feeling how you do and deal with it accordingly. Be confident and if you aren’t invest in activities that will help you to reach that point. Be absolutely unapologetic in who you are.

 
 
 

So yes, in conclusion I hope that just like everyone else I’ll be putting in work towards building a foundation to my future life. I pray I have the courage to make the necessary sacrifices needed but one thing I hope not to do is sacrifice my life. I don’t intend to nor do I think it is necessary to just be drudging through what really are the alleged most important years of my life being a drab. And all the same while I am very much in support of the ‘you only live once’ slogan, I really do implore you all to go about it responsibly. But in any case please don’t let me, Buzzfeed, Cosmopolitian or your aunt who has gone through the world tell you how to live go about your 20s. I’m really just giving my 2 cents and a general friendly reminder to be patient with yourself, go at your own pace, be careful in making your decisions (and sometimes to throw in a few crazy ones), make informed choices and to really just enjoy your 20s as much as possible.

  1. Please feel free to leave comments on your own expectations of your 20s and if you’ve already passed that phase , share how it was for you.

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