Thought Catalog
January 5, 2012

What 20-Something Has Their Dream Job And Dream Relationship?

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What is the issue?

Sorry guys. I’m wearing my Carrie Bradshaw pants today. They just fit so good right now for some reason.

A few weeks ago I was having lunch with my friend and we were talking about where we felt like we were in our lives. Yeah, it was that kind of lunch. Not the fun, flirty, gossipy kind but the “This may end in tears so we should probs get some dessert” kind. I told her that I felt like I finally got my professional life in order this year but as a result, the world took a giant dump on my personal life. (Which is interesting in itself because my professional life requires me to write about my personal life. Ugh, this has been a really weird year and I’ll tell you more about that later.) My friend, meanwhile, is in a great relationship. The kind that seems too good to be true and they’ve been dating for forever. Honestly, if they got married tomorrow, I would be like, “That’s not a mistake. Go you! Can I be the the flower girl?” Wonderful relationship aside though, everything else is sort of a mess. Her job sucks, her friendships are lackluster. And we both basically said in unison: “I would trade everything for what you have.”

In a way, this isn’t surprising. We always want what we can’t have, right? And what I’ve learned so far about being in my twenties is that it’s all about trying to attain the things we desire, whether it be our dream job or a dream relationship. We always seem to be chasing after SOMETHING. It seems to me though that we’ll never be completely satisfied until we have both our professional and personal life in order. They say that the trifecta of happiness is comprised of good friendships, a lover, and work. Why does one always seem to be missing from the trifecta? The one missing link is what fuels us, what spawns the success of so many films, music, and books. It’s what keeps us going out and buying stuff and waking up in the morning. Or in some cases, pressing the snooze button.

We’re taught that eventually we’ll achieve the trifecta. I mean, some of our parents did, right? They had good jobs, good love, and friends they invited over for parties. So if they could do it, so can we! But what I’d like to know is when? How long do twentysomethings have to wait for the perfect job and relationship? Is it strictly meant for thirtysomethings — a reward for enduring a fun but punishing decade?

I tried to think of who I knew that had already had the dream relationship and the dream job. I thought real hard and could only come up with one person. She’s only 24 but I bet if you asked her if she “had it all” she would say no. Why? Because “having it all” is a mostly BS concept. The culture that we were raised in have made that an impossible goal. No matter how much success we achieve, people are always going to want what someone else has.

The desire for balance is understanding though. Maybe it’s not about having a “dream job” and the perfect boyfriend/girlfriend but about having a little bit of each. If you become a workaholic and spend no time watering your social life, you’re going to be miserable. If you’re a social butterfly with no job prospects, you’re also going to hate your life a little bit. But balance is elusive for people in their twenties. It’s hard to be secure financially, have a job you don’t want to kill yourself at, and have a healthy amount of sex. Is it not? Am I wrong here? Is everyone secretly satisfied in all aspects of their lives and I missed the memo? I hope not.

They say the key to finding happiness beyond romance and your professional life is to find happiness within yourself. Um, this is a NO DOY concept. But I also think people can be happy with themselves and still get sad when they aren’t in a nice relationship or have a great job. That doesn’t make them weak and have underlying issues. That just makes them human. TC mark

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