Being Your Own 20-Something

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There you are, perusing the Internet and Thought Catalog, thinking there are a billion ways you’re expected to be as a twenty-something. You’re expected to not know what you’re doing in the next 5 years, network, be employed, go to college, feel alone, make bad decisions, travel, land interviews, go to grad school, be single, be taken, ALL AT THE SAME TIME. To be honest, that’s quite overwhelming and exhausting. #aintnobodygotthetime

It’s also a LOT of pressure coming from people that probably don’t know you. There’s a lot of great advice out there, but it’s also important to take most of them with a grain of salt and figure it out for yourself. You don’t have to be all of those things the media or people tell you. You don’t need to fit a mold of what they say is an “ideal twenty-something” because one doesn’t exist. Accepting that is the first step to having less anxiety, and becoming more patient and comfortable with your own path as a twenty-something.  You’re the artist of your own masterpiece. Here are some things to consider to when realizing your own personal twenty-something story.

1. Don’t be so wrapped up in feeling like you’re running out of time

Though this may come as a huge source of motivation for many, it actually has the impact of being tremendously paralyzing most of the time. Instead of being a prisoner to your own overwhelming expectations and perpetually feeling like you’re on a time crunch, prioritize and just do the important things. You’d be surprised how much you can consolidate and get rid of altogether. Also make time for yourself. Your priorities become clearer when you treat yourself everyday. So order that pizza already!

2. Be Focused & Flexible

Sometimes having too many choices is as overwhelming as not having enough. So think of 1-2 long term goals that you really want to do. Do you want to be a writer? Then write everyday. Want to be a lawyer? Then study like your life depended on it. The hard part is knowing what to focus on. Once you do, boil it down to manageable short-term goals, and do it everyday. If that doesn’t sound like fun, or already seems too much work, you have the wrong long-term goal in mind.

Remember to be flexible though. You may want to be a lawyer one year, and be a chef the next, and that’s okay. Just make sure to put in 110% in everything you do to really know whether or not it’s something you actually want to focus on. If this isn’t the case, then move on!

3. Relax

Drink some tea. Read a book. Meditate. Do anything to escape your currently stressful daily routine. When you clear your mind even for a few minutes a day, you’ll be able to acknowledge what makes you unhappy, learn from it, and move on. The more you feel like you’re life is in equilibrium, the less you’ll feel the need to relax. Breathe and enjoy.

4. Disconnect Often

This may be the most difficult thing to do of all, but do yourself a favor and close your laptop for a few hours after you read this. Walk away from your phone, step outside. Bring a notebook, a pen, a warm coat to keep you warm wherever you go. The winter may be rough, but that doesn’t mean you can’t seek the comforts of the solace of your own mind. No one needs to know where you are, because for once, at this moment, you’re giving time just for yourself and for no one else. TC Mark

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