It's a universal feeling to want to get our lives in order in our twenties. People have told us that this is our only chance to put ourselves out there in the world and show people the best version of ourselves.
With the overflow of information on the internet leading us to compare ourselves with our peers, I thought it might be comforting to know that this is something another human being is dealing with, and that we are not perfect. Perhaps what you need is a slight shift in perspective to shift from anxiety to contentment.
This is what I've been telling myself: If the end goal is to get things done, I believe you have the power to choose how to get there. This is an article for you, my friends, if you want to spend your 20s experiencing calm, peace, and joy, rather than anxiety, guilt, and shame.
Whether you're in your early 20s trying to figure out what's going on in your life, or you're about to turn 30 feeling lost and behind others. This piece is dedicated to you - Let's unpack this topic I've been mulling over for some time now.
#1 Slow down, you have time!
You don't need to have everything, get your life together, or have your life figured out in your 20s. Many of us couldn't be okay without a plan set for every day. We are always rushing to the next "achievement," but what the pandemic had taught us, is to slow down and pace ourselves. Because there is no end destination in life. There is only constant growth.💜
And no matter how old we get, we'll never be able to figure everything out. Things that you couldn't do in your 20s, you can do in your 30s or 40s. Making changes in life can never be too late. You don't have to rush because you have plenty of time. Slowing down means taking baby steps towards becoming who or where you want to be. Even if it's a baby step, it's still a step, and you'll get there eventually. Slowing down also means becoming more aware of yourself and your limitations in terms of what you can do at any given time.
You can do anything you want, but not everything. Slow and steady wins the race.
#2 Everybody is winging it, so you have the permission to get messy too!
Nobody knows what they're doing: even the most successful people are still works in progress—everyone starts from not knowing, and then learn by digging, researching, and educating themselves to become the people they are today. Seeing people at their best on the surface can be discouraging at times, especially with social media flourishing right now. We must constantly remind ourselves that, at the end of the day, we are all human.
The best thing we can do right now is to embrace the process of winging it and give ourselves the permission to also wing it - having the courage to start from zero (lean into the beginner’s mindset) and lean into the unknown to relieve yourself of the pressure to always know what you're doing (it's okay to not know).
Hot take: there is no step by step guidebook on how to live your life!
#3 Lean in together for growth, there is this beautiful thing called life together!
I was convinced my entire life that I needed to go into a cave and figure myself out before I could show up in the world and be the person I wanted to be. After over a decade of building up walls, and realizing half way through as I began to open up to friends and family about the things that are vulnerable to me, I came to realize that the most important thing that helped me get out of the darkest place was the support of my friends and family. Whether it's reading books to feel more seen and less alone, watching YouTube videos, or talking to people—friends, family—to combat anxiety or depression. Just remember that no matter what you do, you do not have to suffer alone.
Whatever you’re navigating and going through, you don’t have to do it alone.
#4 You will never truly find or fully understand yourself
I believe you can spend as much time discovering and rediscovering yourself as you want. Nonetheless, because life is always moving forward and you are constantly growing and changing, you and your understanding of yourself will also be changing. We spend our entire lives searching and selecting a purpose that we know will resonate with us for the rest of our lives. What we don't know is that as you grow and evolve, the purpose you chose will continue to grow and evolve and become something even greater. Having said that, don't be disheartened if you never truly find yourself. Spend as much time as possible getting to know yourself and setting realistic expectations, knowing that this is a beautiful journey that will never end because life will never stop showing and happening for our growth as long as we're alive.
#5 Make the most of your single-mingle time (while you still can!) & learn to be your own BFF.
Who we spend our time with evolves over the course of our lives. We spend most of our time with our parents, siblings, and friends during adolescence. As we enter adulthood, we spend more time with our coworkers, partners, and children; and as we get older, we spend less time alone. However, this does not necessarily imply that we are lonely.
The sooner we can let go of the crippling fear of being alone and needing to find someone to be with us for the sake of being there with you because you don't want to be alone, the sooner we can achieve enlightenment. Because once you've met your life partner, had children, and raised them to adulthood, it's about time to start caring for your parents. You will be unlikely to have time to be "alone" during this period of time, and you will never truly have the alone time that you can have in your 20s.
While it is ideal to put yourself out there in the world, meet new people, and go on dates when you are young, if that is where you want to be. But before we go out and do those things, we need to know where our hearts are, so we can ask questions like "why are you putting yourself out there?" or "why aren't you putting yourselves out there?" Is there something holding you back? Is there something that makes you want to distract yourself/numb yourself/escape? Whatever situation you're in, always trust yourself, listen to your gut instincts, and don't be afraid to be alone. Knowing that time spent working on yourself will never be wasted. Rather, it will only help us see more clearly when you meet your destiny.
The incredible thing about relationships is that they all begin with ourselves. The way we treat one another, communicate with one another, and express affection for one another is ultimately a reflection of our relationship with ourselves.
Great relationship starts with yourself.
Let’s embrace the art of being alone but not lonely.
#6 Anything is possible
Take the biggest risk you can while you're still young. Generally, higher risk equals higher reward. It is totally okay to fail at any age, but it is easier to take risks when you are young and have lesser to lose. If you are unhappy with your studies, career, or relationship, you can always get out of it. The universe is full of possibilities. Everything is truly possible- It is never too late to dream big and start something new, whether it is a hobby or a side hustle. Never undersell yourself because life is too short to take chances.
In your twenties, you want to make mistakes and fail.
Failure is a necessary part of the learning and growing process.
#7 Let go to grow (Like trees with their leaves and apples falling to become fertilizers for future fruits!)
One thing I've recently discovered is that moving through life with self-compassion gets you so much further than beating yourself up for not being where you think you should be! We all have our own paths, timelines, and journeys, and they will not be perfect (nor do they have to be).
Everyone talks about the saying "what is meant to be yours will always be yours," and "what is not meant to be yours, no matter how hard you fight for it, will never truly be yours." Why? When we fight and have a strong desire for something, it usually stems from an attachment. Attachments, according to Buddhism, are what cause human suffering. How do we cultivate detachment?
The first step is to recognise why you are fighting certain outcomes. Ask yourself questions to understand why you are feeling certain ways. What are you fighting for? Is it for your own benefit? Do you feel deeply resentful? Or that this thing belongs to you? Do you hold on to a sense of entitlement? Eventually, you'll have an eureka moment when you realize why you're attached to certain outcomes.
Do something simply because you believe it is the right thing to do, and trust that it will go well if it is meant to go well and will not go well if it is not meant to go well. This does not imply that you abandon everything and refuse to do anything or exert any effort in your life, but rather that you do your best without becoming attached to the end result. You will be the most content and at peace version of yourself if you do this.
Some things work out, while others do not. It feels more genuine to do what feels right in the moment and to be in tune with oneself.
I hope, at the very least, you feel a little lighter, more seen and heard after everything we've covered today as I did while I was writing. For as deep and meaningful as I wanted my life to be, I've realized looking back that that desire at times hindered me from being fully present and enjoying the little in-between moments in life. Instead, knowing that our lives are already together. Rather than feeling like we need to get our lives together, heal ourselves, and do all of this inner work, sometimes when things get mushy we just need to pick things up off the floor and move on with our lives.
Life is really about balance. Between running and slowing down, consuming and creating, solitude and social butterfly-ing.
Adulting doesn’t have to be painful. It all comes down to reframing our perspectives and becoming more aware of how we talk to ourselves. The first step towards change is always awareness, and you'd be surprised how far a little self-compassion can go.
We’re doing our best over here and that’s a-okay. In your 20s, ebb and flow with the seasons, go do things you previously thought you were too cool for, and blow-on-all-the-blades-of-grass like no one's watching!!!
Sending my love always 🥔
🔗 EXPAND YOUR MIND:
If you are seeking inner peace, acceptance, and fulfillment in life, read Deepak Chopra’s “Abundance.”