Okay, you've made it! You're twenty-something! College is probably almost wrapped up, there's that job you've got lined up that's a stepping stone for a stepping stone towards the job you dreamed of since you were 11, you can most likely legally enter a bar and grab some happy hour deals, maybe grad school is underway, your wedding venue is just about booked, or you finally got around to tossing out those old shoes you wore to your high school graduation. You realized recently that "Upside Down" by The Story So Far is hitting a little too close to home and you're beginning to feel outgrown of half of your life and brand new in the rest of it. Everyone seems to be on in different chapters of their lives and going about a million miles an hour. Whatever the case may be, I've come to realize the overall experience of your 20's can be a bit.... well, odd. Let's take a second and break down why.
The Living Situation
Everybody's got a different gig and everyone's got a lot of feelings about it. You have your friends that moved back in with their parents again post-college, that coworker with the studio apartment, the guy you've been dating who has four roommates, and maybe you're still rocking the glow in the dark stars on the ceiling of your childhood bedroom. You're dying to move out on your own while your pals with rent to pay might sometimes secretly wish they'd lived at home just a little longer.
Try not to worry too much about whatever scenario you're currently living in--that may be way easier said than done, but housing predicaments are always tough, and do not make you a loser one way or the other. A helpful tool for whatever category you fall into would be to take advantage of some of those budgeting apps to keep your bills and expenses and all that fun stuff in order so you can really see what moves you can make and how to make them even better. Just get your credit score up and make your bed.
The Whole Job Thing
As Blink-182 so simply put it: work sucks, I know. That is, except for your roommate who cannot stop raving about her super cool job that pays really well and has all of the best coworkers that are suddenly 17 of her new best friends. You've got the assistants, the nannies, the baristas, the reps, the counselors, the bloggers, the unemployed, and everything in between that sometimes sounds a whole hell of a lot better than whatever it is your doing. That may seem true in the moment, but it's all part of the process. The jobs you have now aren't always meant to be forever, but more so a piece of the puzzle that makes up the career you've worked so hard to start building.
That desk jockey job you nailed down after spending an inordinate amount of time on Indeed may be your dream come true or your absolute worst nightmare. Don't let either feeling eat you up too much though--society has a really funny way of making it seem like your job is the only thing that defines you. No shame in whatever it is you're doing right now; just remember to keep your head up, do a good job, and collect that coin.
Keeping Up With the Kar... No, Just Staying in Touch With You Friends
In the mix of it all, you realize you haven't seen your best friend in weeks. You're both exhausted everyday from work, everyone at the bar you two used to love is suddenly younger than you, and the two of you have been totally content DM'ing each other memes as a form of communication. Humans are social beings at the core, so some of that weird and distant feeling you may have creeping in just might need a little contact with another living person outside of work.
Adulthood may have taken over almost every inch of your life, but that doesn't mean grabbing dinner with your friends from time to time is totally out of the question. The older we get, the harder it is to hold on to friendships, so keep those you love close and don't let them fall through the cracks of getting older. When you're both old and gray together, you'll be happy for the times you got together and split apps at Applebee's while whining about work and that guy you met last weekend.
Treat Yoself Is Not Always Self Care
Unfortunately, a face mask and a glass of wine does not always fix everything. The two rabbit holes us twenty-somethings tend to fall into is the I-haven't-done-a-damn-thing-for-myself-in-an-eternity-and-I-basically-forget-who-I-am, and the At-every-minor-inconvenience-I-have-to-get-myself-a-latte-but-now-my-bank-account-is-empty-and-none-of-my-jeans-fit. There's a desperate need for the healthy middle ground between these two--as in PLEASE remember you are your own best friend and sometimes you might just need a moment spent on you, while also remembering to limit yourself in an effort to not create a weird need for constant instant gratification. Your mental health is of utmost importance, especially in day's day and age filled with anxiety-inducing storms around pretty much every corner.
There are a million little and big ways you can properly take care of yourself in your twenties when everything has you stretched so thin. Some little and big things, in no particular order, could be see a movie by yourself, eat your favorite food after a bad day, get back in the gym and set some goals, pick up a book you know nothing about, look into a therapist so you can finally talk about all those things you don't feel like talking about, and by all means, I have nothing against the latte. Grab the damn latte if that's that quick pick-me-up that feels right.
The Love Life
Don't barf just yet! Or at least, don't do it without me. The dating scene in your twenties, I've come to realize, is actually just a dumpster fire full of ghosting, moving in together, really late night "u up?" texts, "I love you"'s, free drinks, broken hearts, and all of it looping back around when that person you thought you'd never see again is back and better than ever. I think this can be the murkiest place of all out of all the gray areas of being in your twenties. Every time you head to social media you see someone else dating around, in a new relationship, getting engaged, getting married, having babies, the whole lot of it. It can sometimes be tricky to get out there and do the same, and it's almost never easy once you do.
It's really easy to feel like you're drowning in other people's life events and things coming together for them. Don't let the dating apps and another picture of a happy couple get you down. Anytime is the perfect time to make that change too--try to go out on a few dates with new people, work on your current relationship, or get out of that one that isn't right anymore. These are the years to try it all, and the perfect time to figure out just exactly what and who it is you like. But most importantly, the whole love life thing does not define you. You're gonna be good, I promise.
Of course, I'm no expert on anything listed above. I'm just a 24 year old trying to get by in all the same ways. Honestly, I could really go on forever about all of it since talking about it aimlessly somehow makes it all feel a little better, but I know everyone's just trying to get by in the same ways too. It's definitely a struggle, but it's important to remember that all of it is part of the growing process of you as a person. During these extremely transformative years, everyone is going at their own pace, and that totally doesn't mean someone is doing it better than you.
Despite the hype and popular belief, there is no set way or order you're supposed to get through any of it, so whatever way your chips fall isn't a crime or makes you seem "behind" someone else. There are a million routes to take and yours will probably all make sense in the end. We're all working on it! It's going to be difficult and a breeze, ugly and beautiful, scary and exhilarating, infuriating and your favorite thing. Get out there, make your money, meet new people, take care of yourself, love on your friends, try new things, travel when you can, and just do the damn thing.