22 Failures Only The Most Successful 20-Somethings Can Survive

Ilya Yakover

1. Coming to terms with the fact that there will always be a peer who is more successful than you, or further along in their love life than you, or more financially stable than you – and understanding that in no way does this take away from your own happiness, joy, or worth.

2. Graduating from college and suddenly no longer being surrounded by twenty of your closest friends.

3. And learning how to adjust to your new life without that powerful security blanket of multiple friends surrounding you at all times.

4. Becoming okay with the fact that you will never be perfect at anything, not even the things that you are most passionate about in life.

5. Ending a relationship with a person who you truly thought was going to be ‘the one’ for you.

6. And figuring out how to be alone again after the breakup, whether or not it was your choice.

7. The awful feeling of screwing up big-time at work and getting reprimanded by your boss.

8. And then having to crawl out of bed the next day and show up at work again, ready to deal with your mistake and face it like an adult.

9. Realizing that a certain dream of yours is not going to come true.

10. And then moving on and figuring out that there are still plenty of other dreams you can chase.

11. Not getting into grad school after arranging all of your other future plans around it – and then reapplying anyway.

12. Overcoming the dissolution of a friendship that you really thought was going to last a lifetime.

13. Putting yourself out there and trying a non-work-related activity or hobby. And being bad at it. And being okay with the fact that you’re bad at it. Because at least you tried.

14. Letting go of some (or most) of the expectations your parents have had for you, and learning how to be proud of the person you are anyway.

15. Thinking you found your dream job, only to realize several months in that you hate it and are incredibly unhappy.

16. But sticking it out and showing up to work every day anyway, trusting in yourself enough to know that if you work hard enough and search carefully enough, you will eventually find something else to try.

17. Being a very bad friend at some point in your twenties, and then learning how to acknowledge it and make up for it.

18. Wanting something really, really badly and not getting it. But taking it as an opportunity to continue to build up your thick skin, instead of taking it as a cue to feel bad for yourself.

19. Traveling to a new place and discovering that, even though you love it, you are still much more homesick than you ever thought you’d be.

20. But feeling grateful for this – for the fact that you miss home so much – instead of feeling ashamed by it.

21. Believing that you can do something completely on your own and then realizing that you can’t, and that it’s absolutely okay (and even necessary) to need help sometimes.

22. Learning that you are always, always, always going to be a work in progress. That you will never be perfect. That your journey towards success and happiness lasts your entire life. And that this is the way it’s supposed to be. TC mark

Kim Quindlen

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

Trace the scars life has left you. It will remind you that at one point, you fought for something. You believed.

“You are the only person who gets to decide if you are happy or not—do not put your happiness into the hands of other people. Do not make it contingent on their acceptance of you or their feelings for you. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter if someone dislikes you or if someone doesn’t want to be with you. All that matters is that you are happy with the person you are becoming. All that matters is that you like yourself, that you are proud of what you are putting out into the world. You are in charge of your joy, of your worth. You get to be your own validation. Please don’t ever forget that.” — Bianca Sparacino

Excerpted from The Strength In Our Scars by Bianca Sparacino.

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