Life after college can feel like a mixed bag. It feels like some of us just get lucky; the lucky few knew exactly what they wanted to major in, got a job in said field, married their significant other from college, and seem to be living a perfectly directed life.
Meanwhile, it seems the others of us struggle, and struggle hard. We either didn’t know in what to major in college, or if our major was the right choice. We’re three years graduated and hopping from retail job to retail job while still searching for our first full-time, adult job at 25. Or we return to grad school, hoping the opportunistic moratorium of a band-aid that grad school is will solve our struggle for purpose, or at least stave it off a little longer.
Or let’s put it a different way: Long story short, a lot of us simply feel lost. Couple this with the fact that it sometimes seems those around us are doing so much better than we, and that feeling of being lost transforms into a feeling of being isolated and disconnected from the world.
It’s easy to get sucked into this feeling of being lost and like you’re not going anywhere. When these feelings hit, there are a set of truths that help us realize we’re not as bad off as we might think.
If you’re feeling lost in the midst of that early to mid 20s chaos, keep the following truths in mind:
Truth No. 1: It’s okay to feel lost. How you’re feeling is completely normal and acceptable. There is nothing wrong with it. Your feelings are completely based in fact; you don’t know where your life is going, which is true, because the future has yet to be written. That’s the beauty of the future; it’s not written, and you have a chance to write it. Sometimes it takes a little bit of time to figure out where exactly you’re going.
Truth No. 2: You’re doing just fine. Wherever you are right now is where you need to be. Finding your place in the world is a process, and it’s important to trust in the process. Your time will come, just as it has for others. Just be patient.
Truth No. 3: Find a way to look inward and not compare yourself to others. Feeling lost in your 20s is more common than you might think. If you see someone who looks like they 100% have their shit together, they probably don’t. They’re just good at making it look to the outside world like they’re doing awesomely. Don’t let someone else’s facade of success dictate your self-worth and happiness. We all struggle. Just as you are struggling, they have struggled, too. Focus on yourself, not everyone else.
Truth No. 4: You have plenty of time to feel lost. Some things are up in the air right now, but they won’t always be. What goes up must come down. And in your 20s, there is still plenty of time for things to come down. It’s easy to get impatient living in a society that demands things be done in a hurry. But as the proverb goes, good things come to those who wait.
Truth No. 5: You need some self-care. Take some time to be kind to yourself. Just as if you were taking care of a friend in distress, you need to treat yourself with the same empathy and proactiveness. Eat healthy, exercise, get enough sleep, and relax. Do things you enjoy. Build yourself up. Live your best life. If you ensure your most basic needs and wants are being met, the rest will have a much easier time falling into place later down the line.
Truth No. 6: There is no one right way to do life. We’re all scared we’ll get it wrong. We’re scared of things not turning out how they should be. We’re scared that while others move forward in their lives, we’ll be forever stuck in the position we are currently in. But realistically, no two journeys look the same. The fact is, there is no one right way to live, and as such, no one except us is allowed to dictate how we live. As long as you are happy with the choices you are making, you’re doing just fine and will end up fine. If you’re not happy with a choice you’re making, you have every right and opportunity to choose to take a different path. As hard as it may sometimes be, we can take an active role in defining when, where, and how we land.