A Shonda Rhimes-esque Monologue For Every Discouraged 20-Something Out There

A pep talk, in the style of Olivia Pope.

So, you’re tired. Directionless. Frustrated. Maybe a little disheartened. Trying so hard to live your life in your own way, but still frequently weighed down by unavoidably comparing yourself to others. Wanting to not care what people think, and sometimes being successful and other times caring so hard. Watching people your age who seemingly have it all together and wondering what the hell is wrong with you. Living for the weekends and then drowning in anxiety every single Sunday night.

Lather, rinse, repeat.

It seems like you’re the only one to feel this way. The only one who’s constantly agonizing over what you should be doing next and how long is too long at this job that seems to be going nowhere and who you should love and freaking out if you don’t find anyone to be with or freaking out if you do.

But these feelings actually make you the opposite of alone. They make you human. They make you twenty-something.

You are meant to be confused right now – and lost and anxious and uncertain and totally overwhelmed. These are the moments when you are forced to look at yourself, forced to stare in the mirror at who you are and figure out who you want to become. You can’t stay unemployed forever and drink bottomless mimosas every weekend and joke about how you have no idea what to do with yourself and act like it’s all fine. In that way, you are doing yourself a great disservice.

But what you can do is forgive yourself for not having an exact plan right now, as long as you’re doing everything in your power to further understand and figure out what it is that you do want, where it is that you do want to go, and what kind of life you want to lead. You can travel if you are financially capable, you can explore your creative outlets in whichever manner you choose, you can experiment with different types of jobs (as long as you approach things logically rather than whimsically). You can read every book that you can get your hands on, you can visit friends in new cities, you can date people that add texture to your life instead of taking the brightness out of it. You can embrace every damn twentysomething stereotype that you can think of if you want – go to brunch, have a Tinder account, attend a music festival, keep in touch with friends via Snapchat, whatever.

Just know that doing those things, although they can certainly be fun in the moment, are not what make you a twentysomething. You are a twentysomething because you are vulnerable, uncertain, unestablished, hesitant, and inexperienced. You’re full of potential, but you barely know anything – which can be a good thing if you let it be so. You have a long way to go, a lot of space to grow, and a lot of work to do before you can expect to deserve anything. You’re meant to be at the bottom right now, to acknowledge that you are navigating this blindly and that as time goes on, you will begin to get more comfortable with yourself, with your mind, with your life.

Embrace the tired. Embrace the frustration. Embrace the lack of direction. This is who you are supposed to be right now, this is how you are supposed to feel. Just keep showing up, keep embracing the feelings of inadequacy and uncertainty, keep going after what you want. And if drinking a Bloody Mary on a restaurant patio on a Sunday afternoon helps, go for it. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

I’m a staff writer for Thought Catalog. I like comedy and improv. I live in Chicago. My Uber rating is just okay.

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