Over the last month or so, when I’ve been chatting to friends, a common theme has been emerging. So many discussions have been revolving around how none of us has any idea what we’re doing, nor the self-assurance to be confident in where our life is going. Basically, we’ve all been hit in the face with the realisation that your twenties are tricky. You’re old enough that you’re no longer able to get some slack for your misdemeanours, but not old enough to be confident in your actions or life situation.
After mulling this over, I think the trouble with your twenties (and your mid/late twenties at that) is that there is no yardstick to measure ‘success’ on. There’s no marker to identify whether we’re travelling ok and everyone around you is doing something slightly different, so you’ve got no solid foundation to check yourself against.
Last year, my younger cousin bought and built a house, got married, got a new dog and kicked some ultimate adult goals. While I was ecstatic for her and her husband, I found myself feeling this intense jealousy. I was jealous that she’d ‘made it’. At 23 she was living the suburban dream, she was settled and stable. At the same time, I was 25, single and moving house for the 8th time in 4 years. It took me a while to take a step back and check myself. After a hard look in the mirror I recognised that I didn’t actually want what my cousin had attained, I’d just been taught that’s what I should want and because I didn’t have (nor want) it, I wasn’t as ‘successful’.
Amazingly, when I’ve acknowledged these feelings to friends, so many have echoed my thoughts. The husband, house and kids, has been sold to us as the package deal we, as 20-somethings, should be aiming for. So when we get to our mid-twenties and haven’t achieved it (irrespective of whether that’s actually what we’re striving for), we feel disheartened.
Your twenties are messy because everyone’s working on a different timeline. Some people are married, some people are buying investment properties, some people are climbing the corporate ladder and others are travelling the world. You know what I’ve realised though? Irrespective of circumstance or environment, if you’re turning up every day and being authentically yourself, while working towards what you want, then you should be darn proud of the journey you’re on.