No one prepared me for how it would feel to be in my 20s. Growing up, I thought my 20s, early 20s especially, were going to be magical. I grew up watching coming-of-age films and young adult romances. As well as reading a lot of books of the same genres.
In those books and movies, there was perhaps an awkward stage or embarrassing moment or two, but it typically was transformed. And in a way that felt aesthetically pleasing.
In the end, they almost always had a wonderful boyfriend, supportive friends, including an active social life, and had prospects for some prestigious college or job. They were also almost always very pretty.
Maybe this isn't true for everyone, but for me and most 20-somethings I know, the reality is a good bit harder. If I had to condense it, I would say being in your early 20s is like having one existential crisis after another while feeling like you have the brain capacity of a toddler.
Either you’re on your own and have no idea what the fuck you’re doing, or you’re still with your parents while desperately craving space and independence.
I never know what I’m supposed to be doing! You’re telling me I wake up every day and completely curate my own schedule? Most of us have a job or class to go to at a certain time, but you still have to get yourself there and decide everything you do apart from that!
Then, if you work from home like me, there is this giant fat open space every day of being awake that I'm supposed to divvy up into responsibilities, fun, self-care, and so on?
Don't get me wrong, I am extremely grateful for the flexibility and comfort that I am granted when it comes to working from home. But as a 23-year-old indecisive libra with no self-discipline, procrastination issues, and ADHD… well, you can imagine I struggle with this a bit.
When you’re little, life is what it is. It is decided for you. Where you live, sleep, learn. What you eat and do. You are given guidelines for this. And your parents or guardians of any kind have their way of doing things. Or maybe they don't, and you grew up in an unpredictable home. Either you struggle with trying to figure out the way YOU want to do things, which is often quite different from how things were done when you were growing up. Or, if you grew up with no structure, what the hell is structure?
Either way, what the hell am I supposed to be doing with my time? Is what I’m doing with my time a good use of it? Why am I barely of drinking age but still feel 16 and so close to dying at the same time?
And growing up in the society we have, we are in more need than ever for self-care and love and less equipped than ever to make time and give that to ourselves.
I would love to open up an honest conversation so we feel less alone and so the upcoming 20-somethings know what to expect.
Because the fact of the matter is, it's okay that we don't know what's going on. It’s perfectly natural, given the circumstances. So I would like to make peace with it.