Thought Catalog
January 14, 2016

Dear 20-Somethings: Get Your Sh*t Together Already!

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Twenty20, missawbrey
Twenty20, missawbrey

Your ‘Twenties’: the time in your life where you hardly have any idea who you are, yet you’re expected to have your sh*t together.

It’s complete B.S. but it’s a growing experience. Every drunken mistake, every part-time job you hate, every 2AM study session, every nerve-wracking drive to an interview, every depressing car payment, every tequila shot to your accomplishments–these are the craziest and best years of your life.

But if there’s one thing I hate about being in my twenties it’s the lax ‘I’ll figure it out later’ attitude I so often run into.

The whole ‘none of us have our lives figured out yet,’ the ‘just chill out,’ the ‘stop worrying about everything’ and the ‘you’re not supposed to have your sh*t together’ mindsets. Sure, yeah, there’s something to be said about not over-thinking, about relaxing, about not stressing over what you can’t control. But you’re in your twenties now. You really should start getting your life together.

Case in point:

“fumbling around bumping into things looking for food.”

Really? Is this what being a twenty-something is all about? We’re just these zombie-idiots with no direction? I beg to differ.

Your twenties are the crazy, selfish, discovery years. You’re supposed to be exploring, traveling, making mistakes, falling in love, feeling on top of the world, and completely failing. You’re not supposed to have this grand plan of how everything is going to work out…but you should have something. You should have some sense of where you’re headed or want to go (…and hopefully that’s somewhere besides the pantry.)

I’m so tired of people saying “Oh, you’re only twenty-whatever. You’ll figure it out.” You’re damn right I will. But I’m not only twenty-whatever. I’m already twenty-whatever. The time is now.

No, I’m not old. But it’s not like I have years and years to just veg out on my parents’ couch. (Well, technically I could if I wanted…but I don’t.) How am I going to start my life from my parents’ couch? How am I going to establish myself? Be independent? Make money? Have a purpose?

I’ve seen this picture probably more than anything (especially with the influx of twenty-something engagements and babies). It’s a manifesto for the twenty-four-year-old that lives at home and doesn’t have a full time job. It’s a feel-good for the single, fifth year senior who’s dragging out another degree.

There’s nothing wrong with the quote. I mean, in many ways it’s true. If you sit there and think you’re supposed to have your life figured out, you’ll be completely paranoid and stuck. And you won’t get anywhere.

But that doesn’t mean you should just sit back and say, “Oh, well I’ll just figure it out when I get there.” What, exactly, will you figure out if you don’t proactively do something? And how will you know when you ‘get there’? (Unanswered questions).

I saw this the other day:

Crazy, right? Crazy to think that these amazing people were sucking at life when they were twenty-three. But you know what these people did? They got their lives together. They didn’t sit there making excuses for their lack of full-time jobs and no significant others and having $5 to their names and living in their mother’s basements. They did something. Because they were in their twenties. And it was high time to get their sh*t together.

Now I’m not sitting here saying I have my life figured out. (Because dear God, I don’t). There’s really no way to have it all figured out, no way to plan for the unknown, no way to really know what it is you want to do with your life.

Not until you start. Not until you make a basic plan and it goes to sh*t and you start completely over. Not until you work a job and realize you hate it and begin the process again.

But you have to try. You have to do, go, live. Because these are the years to grow, to take a terrible job to find your limits, to go back for a second degree, to chase the human you love across the country, to change your major for the fourth time, to try a long distance relationship, to spend money on ridiculously expensive concerts, to move to a foreign city alone, to throw what’s realistic aside and follow your passions. But you can’t sit back passively and watch the years go by, hoping one day you’ll figure it out.

You have to get your sh*t together and start doing. Because for goodness sake, you’re twenty-three already! TC mark