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When did you have your life “figured out?”
Was before college? What about post-grad? Or do you feel like one of those little kids who repetitively run full speed into those funhouse mirrors? My lovely friends, you are NOT alone. Something I’ve learned within the last few years is that *news flash* you DON’T need to have your life figured out as a college post-graduate.
The older I get, the more I start to realize that I am nowhere near getting my life figured out. For any collegiate ladies in a total panic mode that graduation is approaching, or for my twenty-somethings on the borderline of full-blown adulthood, here’s why you actually DON’T need to have your life figured out at 21 years old.
Why You Don’t Need to Have Your Life Figured Out In Your Twenties:
To give you a little background on my life story, I was about 20 I had my first quarter life crisis. And I swear to you I’m not being dramatic when I use the term “life crisis.” I’m talking full-on, get me on some anxiety medicine because I’m mentally spiraling out of control, life crisis.
I think we’ve all had a similar experience in one way or another. Reality starts setting in. I was closer to the end of my undergrad than I was to the start. I switched majors a semester before (because math is the wo0o0orst), and I had NO idea what career to pursue with an environmental science degree. What career path was going to make me happy and not dreading to go to work every day?
Fast forward four years later, and you guessed it—I still don’t know what I want to do! However, the difference between then and now is that I understand I don’t need to have my life figured out at 21, nonetheless 24. So why do we feel like we need to have our shit figured out so soon?
When we’re younger, we think 21 is “mature.”
I mean, that’s when us USA folk are [technically] legal to consume some booze. When we’re tweens and teens, we are sort of conditioned to think that our 20’s is the time where we officially grow up. We finish college, get a job, start a family, blah blah blah…
GUYS, we all have no idea what we’re doing. Seriously, I think we’re all kinda just riding the waves at this point, with no direction to swim. Our twenties are primetime to really get a grasp on life and learn more about ourselves and the environment we live. Almost no one knows (or can predict) their timeline at 21.
Our parents had it different.
I think one thing we often forget is that our parents had a different lifestyle that has changed with the millennial generation. I’m sure you’ve heard stories about parents tying the knot at 22 and having their first kid at 23.
Trends have changed with our generation, and that scenario is much less likely. Besides the whole science jargon about better birth control etc. etc. more people in their twenties value their career as a major life decision, and not just a reason to bring in the cash. Twenty-somethings are focusing on what motivates them to wake up in the morning, and how much a successful career can weight on achieving lifetime happiness. When we get out of college, we don’t KNOW what makes us tick…we’ve never been in workplace long-term.
Social media gives us a sense of false reality.
Social media is weird since it is a relatively new (in perspective to life on Earth lol) concept. People are still figuring out how it changes how we feel about ourselves and the world we live in. Social media is wack because we are able to portray ourselves to billions of people in a way that we ourselves desire to be seen. Odds of you posting a picture when you just finished hysterically crying at the end of The Notebook are slim to none (unless it’s a snapchat to you BFF, duh).
Social media gives us a false sense of reality because it makes us feel like everyone has their life figured out and everything all the time is sunshine and butterflies. Truth is, everyone has tough shit they go through, and the majority of twenty-somethings you know are going through the same tough shit as you.
Likewise, there are those few accounts with thousands upon thousands of followers that are getting paid to advertise beautiful clothes and amazing destinations. While those pictures are beautiful (I love them), we don’t all live a lavish lifestyle like that, and it brings our vibes way down. When social media makes you green with envy, it’s time to take a step back and detox.
We don’t know what we like.
The reality is, our twenties is one of the most important periods of growth and self-reflection in our lives. We don’t have a total grasp on what gives us purpose and a sense of fulfillment.
For example, I’m in the process of applying and interviewing for full-time positions. Coming from a relatively broad background of environmental sciences and horticulture, my potential career path can move in many directions. It would be super helpful if I actually knew what direction I wanted to go!
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From my past internships and work experiences, I’ve learned that I don’t want to sit at a computer all day every day. I like working in an environment where things can change on a day to day basis. I enjoy working hands-on and communicating/collaborating with coworkers.
Imagine being fresh out of school with maybe one or two internships under your belt. Do you really think that is enough time to learn about yourself and have your whole life figured out? HELL NO! Learning these things about yourself doesn’t happen overnight either. It’s something that takes years to fully comprehend.
If you want to learn more about what you desire in a career, I would highly advise working as many internships as you can. Internships are temporary (usually for the summer) and can really help you learn about yourself and what you’re interested in. Even if you have a terrible experience, you learn what you’re NOT looking for. Internships are perfect for those reasons.
Even the most successful people didn’t have their lives figured out in their twenties.
While “success” is a relative term, many successful artists, actors, business owners etc. didn’t actually become well known through the industry until after thirty, forty, and so on. Did you know JK Rowling didn’t publish Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone until 31? Or what about Vera Wang who completely changed careers and went from being a figure skater/journalist to one of the most well-known fashion designers in the industry?
It’s hard not to get discouraged when you see Olympians every 2 years at age 16 winning gold medals, everyone has their peak…you’ve probably just haven’t reached yours yet. That doesn’t mean you should stop climbing!
If you take anything away from this post, just remember that it’s okay if you don’t have your life figured out when you graduate college. It’s still okay to not have everything all put together at 25, 30, and so on.
Likewise, when you graduate, you’re never tied down to a certain career path or direction. There is always the room to change and grow. Stay curious and find what makes you excited to get out of bed every morning. Try new things, explore yourselves and explore your passions. Who knows? You may just be the next Vera Wang or JK Rowling.
How are you working towards getting your life figured out? Comment below!