Remember those times, when as a child all you wanted to do was be a grown-up and do all the grown-up stuff that we are doing now? Welcome to the reality of it –life is tough, messy and a lot does not make sense.
Your 20s are one demanding, perplexing, albeit self-evolving period of your lives, and a very important one too. That we have been told a gazillion times by almost everyone; we have read numerous articles with lists of things/bucket list to be achieved by the time you are in your thirties and how to achieve them; inciting listicles of ways to make your 20s the most productive, successful and important years of your lives and we have seen some very captivating Instagram-worthy pictures of our friend’s lives on social media, who seem to be living the life of our dreams!
If you are on the other side of your 20s like me – meaning the standard, non-glamorous, not-drool-worthy zone where you are on the rear end of your 20s and the success scale simultaneously; chances are that you still have to do something very significant with your life before clearing a whole lot of mess in a very little time, i.e your 20s (which is supposed to be the inverted image of what your life is now!).We had this picture perfect image of how our lives as adults would be, but we were never, ever, prepared to suck it up to the reality. We always thought we would have had everything sorted in our 20s, would be traveling places, minting money and come back home every night to the love of our lives. That’s what we saw our parents doing, right, in their 20s? Small flashback – nothing is as it was supposed to be, very little is figured out and there is confusion in every aspect of our lives.
You drool on the filter-perfect Instagram stories of a peer’s life and you are full of envy and unaccounted zeal of leading that life since you think that was what you had always wanted. We measure our level of success and happiness by comparing it to other’s lives and then fill ourselves with self-loath of being an underachiever. I hear stories of my acquaintances and cringe at the thought of how I have managed to make the least of the apparently most fruitful years of my life.
As Author Paul Angone puts it; we are a generation who suffers from ‘OCD- Obsessive Comparison Disorder’.
It might seem very savage and demeaning, but when was the last time you looked at the FB picture of one eminent (possibly well earning) ex-classmate and not thought of how differently your lives shaped up, from knowing each other in school to being on the reverse side of the accomplishment bank? There was at least one drop of self-loathing in all that happiness you just faked for your peer. Have you not drooled at the stunning, filtered picture of a beautiful traveler gazing into nothingness at the brink of nowhere? There your inner wanderlust was invoked and one more checklist is added in your already piled up, inspired by other’s bucket list. You will have at least one happy, fairy-tale love story of your once upon a time friend crawling up on your timeline, to remind you again that you suck at relationships. How come I am still clearing my credit card debts and the rest of the world gets to buy all the beautiful stuff and explore the gorgeous terrain? There goes whatever ounce of contentment that I had with my life.
Isn’t this how most of us drive ourselves to be better and remind ourselves that we are not there yet? It does not matter if you are clear in your head “where” you want to be, but you definitely know you have to be “there”. Every day we remind ourselves that we still have a lot to do, make loads of money, visit those exquisite places, learn something new, try out the various cuisines because that is what the world in their 20s seems to be doing, right? Living and advocating to live to your fullest?
That was the darker picture of being in your 20s, the one that does not make to the list of popular reads.
What we fail to understand is that it is OKAY to feel lost. It is okay if you do not have everything figured out just yet. As they say – life is not a problem to be solved but a reality to be experienced!
Your 20s are not a time when you should sulk about your failures (do not even count the failures you add up by OCD). There will be days when you feel low, when life seems to go nowhere, you won’t love yourself, your income and expenditure won’t make sense to you, and you’ll feel the weight of the world on your shoulders and the strongest instinct would be to quit and run away to some never-land. These bizarre, unpleasant feelings are all OKAY, everyone feels this way at some point or the other, even the people behind those filter-perfect, happy stories!
What is important to understand is that your 20s are supposed to be this way – not a happy, dream-come-true, victorious story, but one with a series of struggles, pitfalls, and constant metamorphosis. Do not let someone else’s life demote you and discredit your fights, not everyone’s story is carved out the same way. As they say, everyone lives in their own time-zone, life will happen to you in your time-zone. The sooner you realize it, the better. Those checklists waiting there to be ticked will be taken care of, one at a time, when the time is right, not just now, and not necessarily your twenties.
It is a myth that you have to achieve everything in your 20s so that you have a smooth after-20s.
So, it is just fine if you are not settled in your dream country with that dream job in your dream house with your dream spouse (add that dream car as well).
Relationships make you crazy and you suck at it, and it is perfectly normal. There is this rapid switch between friends to strangers and the other way round and you will eventually learn to live with it. People and friends will come and go, and the ones meant to stay will persist throughout your roller coaster ride. CHANGE is a big part of your life in the twenties.
It is okay if you are still struggling with your credit card bills because you had certain liabilities. It is perfectly fine if you do not have one single check mark from you bucket list because you had different priorities. It is all okay if you have a plan and you are content and you know you will be “there” one day – not necessarily your 20s. As long as you are not stuck at the same as you were a couple of years back, it is all okay!
I am not preaching that you should wander about aimless and set very low goals for yourselves. But whatever you choose and strive to do should be exactly what you had ever wanted for yourself while growing up and not someone else’s idea of prosperity. The bucket list should be inspired by your dreams. You are all that YOU have and you are doing the best you can in your situation. You might feel content with something lesser than what others strive for, and that is OKAY.