The Directionless Decade They Like To Call Your 20s

You’re getting ready for another day when you realize you’ve never gone skydiving. Or kissed someone. Or stayed in bed, pretending to be sick, while you ate ice cream and watched so many episodes of Desperate Housewives it fried your brain, leaving Bree Van de Kamp quotes in your head instead of actual neurons.

You guessed it, folks: this is another think-piece about what it’s like to be young and twenty-something.

Some of us are in college, grad school or a terrifying combination of both. Some of us are already in the workforce, dealing with headaches that mysteriously appear around lunchtime. Some of us are simply trying to make it through the week so we can go to the next party.

I’m sure a lot of us are wondering the same thing. What’s the point in it all?

I hope I don’t sound too melodramatic when I ask this question. Then again, I do have some dramatic tendencies, as I tend to say this whenever I have a responsibility of any kind to do.
I think our efforts to answer this question reflect a lot about who we are.

For some, the goal is try and lead a parallel version of their parent’s lives. If you grew up in a comfortable, primarily middle-class existence, that involves finding a Generic Office Job and leasing a small place in the city until you meet Mr./Mrs. Right. You will then buy a little white house in the suburbs and have lots of cute babies. Then you will send your kids off to school so they can get a good education that will lead to a good job that will lead to a significant other and lots of kids so the cycle can continue.

For others, simply finding a job to put actual food on the table instead of Easy Mac night after night is the most pressing thing in the front of their minds.

It sucks to be young and twenty something, right?

It’s especially tough when you’re going through Instagram late at night and all of those friends from high school and distant acquaintances seem like they have everything together, right? That person you had a class with five years ago is getting married! That cousin you’ve talked to twice just landed her dream job in Washington D.C.! The person you shared a seat on the school bus with when you were little is pregnant and expecting triplets!

The truth of the matter is that people choose only to share the good parts of their lives on social media, and none of the bad. Nobody takes a picture when they’re crying at 2 AM. Nobody takes a picture while pulling an all-nighter doing something for work. Nobody takes a picture of their textbooks stacked on their desk while they cram for that midterm that’s suddenly tomorrow.

I think being young and twenty something is about realizing that life is messy and awful and complicated and a whole lot of fun, too. You’ll have moments where you laugh so hard tears are streaming down your face and your stomach feels like it’s going to fall out of your body (in a good way). You’ll have days where you’ll forget your umbrella when it starts storming. You’ll go on dates and meet people and you’ll feel like you can’t connect with anyone.

You’ll wonder whether everything so far has been worth the price of admission.

Maybe it’ll happen when you’re waiting for that bus ride home after work, or when you’re aimlessly watching television all afternoon, or when your favorite song when you were 12 shows up on your Spotify. Out of the blue you’ll realize that it’s been worth it. All of it. The heartbreak, the loneliness, the laughter, the pain and joy. These are the things that make you grow and change with the world around us.

And I hope you’ll thank yourself for surviving. If life has taught me anything, doing that alone is enough to make something incredibly meaningful out of your life and everything you experience. Thought Catalog Logo Mark


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