Hitting mid-twenties, you soon realized, is vastly different from your early twenties.
When you were twenty-one, you did whatever you wanted without a care in the world. It didn’t matter how you couldn’t see any future with your boyfriend, all that mattered was how happy he made you feel. It didn’t matter how dim your career prospects were, after all, you knew you would find a better one eventually. It didn’t matter how bad your grades were, as long as you were able to graduate, you thought it was all going to be okay.
It didn’t matter if you hated yourself or your life because one day you would figure everything out and things would fall seamlessly into place.
When you were twenty-one, you only wanted to live in the moment. You felt that you were impossibly young and you were only beginning to make your mark in the world. You were lost but you knew that eventually, everything would make sense.
Fast forward, you are twenty-five. It happened gradually, but one day, you got a rude shock that you are no longer as young as you thought you were. You wondered where the years went. You moved on from your first love—the one you thought you would never get over. You had your heart broken more than once, you lost friends who you thought you would be friends forever, and you now feel the burden of your age.
You constantly feel that you need to do more. You need to change. You need to do something.
You are not the youngest in your workplace anymore. Your employers are not as forgiving towards you, as you are supposed to be more experienced than the fresh graduates. Your parents wish you could start acting more like your age as you are supposed to be wiser and more mature. Life throws a curveball at you and obstacles after obstacles begin building up despite your best effort to combat them.
You feel like a child still learning the ways of adulting, yet you are pushed into your new responsibilities when you are barely ready. You feel aimless, like a ship wandering, lost in the stormy sea trying to find a direction in your life.
You feel terrified that your life is passing you by and there is nothing you can do. You feel resentful that the life you envisioned you would have at twenty-five is nothing like what happened.
You want to seek comfort that there are other lost twenty-five-year-olds out there, just as confused as you are. Except that everyone else seems to have their life perfectly in order.
Their lives seem to be following the conventional path where they graduate, secure a stable job, and get married. Their lives seem to be so smooth-sailing, while yours is exactly the opposite of that. They seem to be having it all while you feel that you have nothing.
But surely some part of you must have known that nobody’s life is perfect. Everyone is going through some struggles at one time or another. And even if their life is perfect, that has nothing to do with how you are going to live your life.
Maybe you can use their success to inspire you. That if it can happen to them, it can happen to you too. Maybe you can learn from them and be open to asking for help if you are really struggling.
Or maybe you can learn to accept that life is indeed unfair. That sometimes even when you put in your one hundred percent, it is still not good enough. That while you can try your hardest and refuse to give up no matter what, certain things are just not meant to be.
Maybe you can learn to let go. Let go of the need to be perfect, to follow the conventional path, and to control what you cannot predict.
After all, there is no perfect way to be twenty-five. As long as you never lose the drive and hunger to live life, and as long as you keep on living and struggling, you are doing just fine.