For the majority of us, most if not all of our major failures will occur in this decade: a career pursuit that crashed and burned, your first failed serious relationship, an unplanned pregnancy or two. You can thank this lovely trial-and-error phase of your life as you embark upon the journey to discover exactly who you are and what you want.
The 20s SUCK because they are a strange borderland in between the awkward, pimple-faced high-school days and the more established lifestyle of those in their 30s.
They SUCK because it can be hard to relate with kids a decade younger than yourself or those a good ten years your senior, since either reality seems so far away and foreign to the 20s.
Someone once said to me that the 20s are a time for proving yourself. The problem is, there are so many different hats you can wear in this decade, and deciding which role is most important during this time—or better yet, attempting them all at once—can be quite an overwhelming undertaking. That royally SUCKS.
Some of those in their 20s will pursue a college career. Others will take a detour and focus on establishing a serious relationship and family, while a few will fly off the radar of expectations completely and discover themselves through travel and raw life experiences.
The 20s SUCK because there really is no right or wrong direction, just a matter of deciding what is right for you as an individual. This makes the 20s very complicated.
There are forks in the road at every turn during this decade. Figuring out where to go and what to do with your valuable 20s can make you feel lost and disoriented amid the world’s boundless opportunities.
Regardless of what decisions you make, deep down all 20-somethings will question themselves at some point. We all have those doubtful days of hoping whether we took the right path for the “most exciting decade of our lives.”
Being in your 20s is like having a time bomb strapped to your chest. You know that you aren’t getting any younger. The immense pressure of having to decide what ambitions are most important and what dreams you can afford to let go of will nearly drive you mad with indecisiveness and frustration.
For the scholarly 20-somethings, this will be that drudging decade to fight your way to the top. Paying your dues will most likely consist of working your ass off at a dead-end job day after day while trying to maintain a decent college GPA.
Whether they will admit it or not, every ambitious student in their 20s has wondered, “Will my education and career fulfill me on the deepest level?” As you observe many of your friends cultivating meaningful relationships and life-changing moments, you will be completely immersed in the college experience. As you battle a Monday-morning hangover or slip out the back door of a one-night stand, there will always be a tiny shred of doubt in the back of your mind whether a piece of paper and distinguished career are worth more than a Hallmark card.
As an individual in their 20s pursues higher education, they will have many discouraging moments. The day you receive the tuition bill so massive that you know won’t be paid off until you are dead can feel a bit unsettling. While avoiding the crunch for those horrid finals or writing that 15-page paper, you might flip through your Facebook newsfeed and see friends with their lovely spouses, beautiful children, and perfect white picket fences. There will be a dull and achy feeling of emptiness in the heart at some point or another. Are you allowing the most important things in life to pass you by? Are you focusing on attaining what really matters in this world?
For the others who are busy maintaining a domestic home front and establishing their families: This will be the decade of watching some of your other 20ish friends graduate college, travel to exotic places, and live a seemingly perfect and carefree life. You might have this exact thought while every bodily fluid imaginable is being hurled or sprayed at you from those wonderful and screaming little miracles called children.
Whether they will admit it or not, the family makers in their 20s will at some point along the way wonder if they are wasting their youth and not experiencing life in all of its grandeur to the fullest potential. When the bills pile up, their relationship with the spouse hits the rocks, and everything seems to be going wrong, they will gaze longingly at their college-going, casually dating friends and wonder if that is what they should be doing. And let’s be honest. Every young parent in their 20s will at some point have moments of doubt about whether they are capable of raising another human being competently while they themselves are barely figuring out how to navigate the real world.
So the real moral of the story all 20-somethings need to keep in mind is that the basic principle of human nature prevails: We all want what we don’t have in the moment. Everyone is feeling some degree of dissatisfaction at some point in their 20s. And that SUCKS.
Facing any journey of the 20s requires constant physical and mental exertion, combined with a struggle to survive on a daily basis. The 20s take you to a whole new level of exhaustion and discovery of sleep deprivation you didn’t even know existed!
The 20s SUCK because the entire decade feels like a constant uphill battle. There seems to be no end in sight to whatever it is you have set out to accomplish.
The aforementioned circumstance can result in “Burnout Syndrome,” which I define as feelings of utter hopelessness and wanting to throw in the towel and settle for less.
The 20s SUCK because they are filled with so many emotional highs and lows. This is a result of all the substantial changes this phase of life will bring to your personal development and accomplishments. Some days you will conquer an obstacle and feel like Rocky Balboa, raising your gloves in victory. Other times you will fail miserably. There will be nights you curl up into the fetal position, utterly incapable of imagining how you are going to get through the next day and come out alive. There will be a certain experience or string of events you will face in the 20s that will chew you up and spit you out.
The bottom line is, the 20s SUCK because we are making constant comparisons of the way we are living our lives to that of our peers. It is an involuntary compulsion. It tortures our souls. Yet we do it anyway. An important thing to keep in mind is that our journey is ours alone. It is OK to experience things that may seem out of order or abstract compared to others our age. Perhaps we can take comfort in the fact that our feelings of discouragement and dissatisfaction do not echo down an empty hallway. We are all in this together, no matter what path we choose. And it SUCKS equally as bad for us all!