I read a lot these days about the trials and tribulations of being a 20-something in the present day. And I think it’s time for some tough love and perspective so here’s eleven things we could probably stop doing and make it a little easier on ourselves (and everyone that has to listen to us):
1. Bragging about living in (insert big city).
So great, you “made it”. Now what? Living there isn’t any indication of your success; it’s just the illusion of success.
2. Complaining about living with your parents.
Your parents allowed you to move back in after college because you’re broke and unemployed? You should be on your knees thanking them every day. They had no obligation to do that. Oh, and you’re still on their healthcare? Wow, what a terrible situation you found yourself in.
3. Complaining about eating Ramen every night.
You know you either secretly love it or you secretly love feeling sorry for yourself. If you were legitimately that broke, you would be thankful about being able to feed yourself every night in general.
4. Being depressed and complaining that you’re “underemployed”.
I’m not going to say “just be thankful you have ANY job” because seriously, if you’re still working that shitty barista job three years after college it means you’re not trying hard enough.
5. Complaining about not being able to travel.
I get it, that sucks. But if it’s something you really want, you’ll be willing to work hard to make that dream trip a reality. And it’ll feel a lot better if it was actually a struggle and not just handed to you. Traveling when you’re in your mid-twenties with slightly more money is just as good as your early twenties with fewer dirty hostels (unless that’s your thing…more power to you).
6. Comparing yourself to your peers.
Everyone chooses their own path and some people worked harder or were luckier than others. Comparing yourself to them is only going to make you feel worse about your life. So get off of Facebook and realize that no one gets where they are without struggles of some kind, even if they’re not immediately apparent.
7. Thinking about (or actually) going to Grad school because you think you need to or you don’t know what else to do.
Unless you know for sure that your dream job requires an advanced degree, you’re wasting your time and even worse, your money. It might make you slightly more employable, but that slightly isn’t worth the extra debt. Actual professional experience is probably going to trump your advanced education anyway so if you’re looking for a leg up on the competition, keep working.
8. Feeling like you have to “get out”.
This actually relates back to number one on this list. You don’t necessarily need to leave your hometown or home state or whatever to feel like you’ve “made it”. If you like your home and family and friends where you are now, you shouldn’t feel like you’re missing out on anything because you’re not. Everyone who is leaving is looking for what you already have: a place to belong. Though alternatively, there is no shame in wanting to leave to experience something different. To each their own. Just make sure it’s what you actually want and not just something you think you should want.
9. Being condescending to those who haven’t “figured it out”.
If you feel like you’ve got all your shit together, congratulations. But instead of humblebragging all over social media about your great new job/car/boyfriend/whatever, maybe you should offer some sound and sage advice to how you got to the point you’re at. You might actually be able to help someone. Smugness is never a good quality.
10. Measuring your idea of success against everyone else’s.
You might think that it’s crazy for someone to get married young, start a family, and then be a stay-at-home-dad but that’s their measure of success, not yours. You can’t say that what they’re doing isn’t “right”. It’s just not right for you.
11. Putting off your passions because you don’t have “time”.
Time is the only resource you have that you cannot make more of. Don’t piss that away, if you put off your passions, it will become a habit to continue to put them off. That’s the beginning of a recipe for a mid-life crisis. Your passions are who you are; you don’t want to lose that.