“I believe that everyone else my age is an adult whereas I am merely in disguise.”
― Margaret Atwood
Margaret Atwood sums up my life perfectly. Every year, I expect to feel more like an adult, and yet I never do. Something I have come to realize in my twenties, is that being an adult is not always a cup of tea, sometimes it is more like a bottle of vodka that leaves you a little hung over the following day. Okay, not a great analogy, but what I mean is, all of a sudden were thrown into the real world and smacked in the forehead with a giant reality check called adulthood, and most of us have no idea what were doing.
But what If I told you that is a good thing? I believe feeling completely lost and having to basically go through our twenties doing the ol’ Trial & Error strategy, allows us to experience and explore a variety of different options. When you have no idea what you’re doing, it forces you to try new things. Maybe you take a job just because you are a broke student, but you end up being inspired by that job and it points you in the direction of a career path that you had never even considered before.
So today, I wanted to talk about 3 strategies you should follow in your twenties to ensure you are rockin’ it and becoming your very best self.
1 || Do Not Follow Anybody Else’s Expectations
When you think of societies expectation of a twenty-something, what do you picture? Does it look something like this?
University > Grad School > Job > Find Your Soul Mate > Get Married > Buy a House > Have a Baby
Now, that may be the perfect list for one person, and a complete disaster for another. Everyone has to experience their twenties in the way that lets them figure out who they truly are. And while there are no set of instructions, I think we do get a little lost in the expectations of what we are “supposed” to do, which can potentially pull us away from what we truly want for ourselves.
I know personally, I only went to University right after High School because that was “the next step”. I never even considered what my other options may have been, and while I wouldn’t say I regret my decision, looking back, I most likely would have waited to go to University until I knew a little bit more about what I was interested in, and what I wanted to do as a Career. Instead I jumped right in, ended up with an Arts Degree. Now it is great to have a degree, but if I had of waited, I probably would have taken a Business Degree, because most of my interest lies with business now.
So I guess, what I’m saying is, don’t rush into anything, take the time and consider what you truly want to do, and don’t do anything because it’s the “expectation”. If you want to travel, do it. If you have a passion for a certain career, and want to focus only on becoming a professional in that field, do it. If you change your mind 50 times throughout your twenties, that is okay too (trust me, I was that person). Only you know what the right path is for you, so be true to yourself. Sometimes that may mean being the odd one out when your closest friends decide to travel, and you want to focus on your career. Or when your parents insist University is the best path, but you know in your heart you want to Volunteer abroad for 6 months, or start your own business. The thing is, your friends will still be your friends and your parents will still love you, even if you take a different journey than they may have.
2 || Never Compare Your Journey to Anyone Else’s
Always keep this in the back of your mind: Your Journey is your journey. It will be different from everyone else’s and it will have its own life lessons involved. Your journey is your journey for a reason.
Ultimately, life never seems to go quite as planned, but it does always have a way of working itself out. So if you feel like your 5-year plan is not going how you imaged, or all your friends are getting married and you’re just trying to get a second date, do not have a pity party for yourself, try to look at the positives in your life instead. The most important thing I have learned, is not to compare my journey with anyone else’s. If your feeling envious of your best friend on their wedding day, just remember that they may be feeling envious of your plan of traveling for the next year. Your journey is your own, so just take it one day at a time, and enjoy the ride.
Just like anything in your life, comparison is a dangerous game. It is easy to be jealous when someone in your life is achieving things in their life, and you are still feeling lost and confused about what to do with your life. But, believe me, there is no rush. When your suppose to find your inspiration and passion, you will. Maybe you work a few different jobs that you do not love, do not look at those with regret, because each of those jobs is teaching you something about yourself and is just part of the journey to finding out who you want to be and what you want to do. The same goes for everything in life, relationships, mistakes, friendships, etc.
When you are feeling envious of you are caught in the comparison game, try one of these three things:
1) Remove yourself from the situation. When I am on other blogs and I start feeling envious of their layout, or their post ideas, I write down the things I enjoy about that specific blog, and then I leave. I write things down because I can then look at them another time, and see if there is anything I can pull from what I enjoyed and incorporate it into my own blog. I remove myself, because nothing good is coming from sitting there and comparing my own journey to theirs’s. They could have been blogging for 5 years, they could have had a professional design their layout, I have no idea, so why dwell on it and make myself feel badly?
2) Ask yourself why you were feeling envious. Look deeper, what are you really feeling? Do some self-reflection and ask yourself why you are feeling that way? Are you jealous of your friend’s specific career path, or maybe you are just wishing you had their drive or passion towards something in your own life, and it has nothing to do with the career.
3) Stop comparing. Remind yourself that this is your journey, and your journey is your own. While you can pull out possible action ideas to improve yourself from comparison, you need to then let go of that comparison, and focus on your own journey to move forward.
THREE || Embrace Your Mistakes and the Learning Opportunities They Provide
So here is the thing, you probably won’t enter your twenties with total confidence and just rock it. You will probably feel lost, confused, and change your mind a billion times before you decide on the person you want to be, what you want to do with your life, and what your goals are. Then, you will change your mind a few more times. But, you will get there if you embrace the learning experiences. Every single decision you make in your twenties (and in life), helps you become the person you are meant to be.
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Never ever regret anything, because every mistake comes with a learning opportunity. The important thing is that you embrace the learning opportunities and do not continue to repeat the mistakes. That is when you grow as a person and move closer to becoming the best version of yourself. So when you are feeling down or lost simply think of this: If you never make any mistakes or never fail at anything, you do not receive the same learning and growth opportunities. You do not get to find out what your strengths and weaknesses are, and if you do not know where your weakness’s lie, how can you ever improve yourself? You would just stay the same, and that is no fun!
I have learned LOTS in my twenties, mainly from making mistakes. Check out 20 Things I learned in my 20’s in this post.
All in all, the most important thing is that you have goals and you’re always trying to better yourself in some way. You learn from your mistakes and failures, you set your own expectations, and you embrace your own journey. Set some goals, have a plan of some sort, but always keep in mind that if two years down the road your plan falls apart, or your goals change, that is okay! You always have time to start a new path, make new goals, create a new plan.
So, just enjoy this crazy journey called adulthood and everything it has to offer you. It will not always be easy, a lot of the time you will probably feel overwhelmed and lost, but just breath, set some goals, and pretend you know what the hell you’re doing, because in reality, that is what we are all doing!