They are the best of times, and they are the worst of times… yes, I’m referring to your roaring 20s! This unique, awkward, blooming, uncertain time of your life is pretty essential to how you’ll live the rest of it. And there are A LOT of growing pains you won’t be able to avoid during these times of development. Just remember that you will not be experiencing them alone.
1. Friendships will get weird, deteriorate, or fail.
The sad truth is, some of your friends now won’t be your friends forever. Some of your best friendships will fade. And as daunting as that may sound, it isn’t always a bad thing. As you travel through your personal journey as a 20-something, your pals will be trucking on their own as well. You may go months without speaking, have moral-related disagreements, or just simply fall out organically. As much as you’d like to keep your #girlgang alive, you may have to let them go like those old Lil’ Bow Wow posters.
2. There will be trial and error in your relationships.
Unless you’ve decided to stick with your middle school sweetheart, you’ll find out that dating and relationships will not be the fairy-tale you dreamed of as a child. This is the time when you’re not only figuring yourself out, but you’re also figuring out the type of people you want to be with and what you will or will NOT tolerate in relationships. You’re older now and when shacking up and long-term commitments come into play, you’ll find yourself kissing A LOT of frogs trying to find your perfectly-flawed prince. You’ll most likely get your heart broken, pieced together again, and broken one more time.
3. You might hit a point in your life where you don’t know what to do.
Let’s be honest, there’s more than a few of us out here who have no clue what we’re going to end up doing with our lives. We feel the pressure after comparing ourselves to our peers that seem to have it all together and examine our own lives and say “What the heck am I doing?!” We want to make an impact in the world, but we don’t know what we want to do, who we want to be, or how we’re gonna go about making that impact.
4. Decisions about your career, education, and life will be made…and made again.
One minute you’re enrolled in five classes at a university and the next you find yourself taking a year off in hopes that you’ll figure your life out. There’s never really a one-and-done system with making decisions during this time. There’s always a, “Oh! I want to be a psychologist” followed by a, “I think I’m gonna move out to L.A. and sell art for a living”… Do you move, do you stay, do you pursue your dreams? Like WHAT DO YOU DO?
5. You can’t always pay yo’ bills.
As much as we may be warned about managing our money, we will still spend our last savings on some Takis after getting fired from Old Navy (thanks Bibi). Bills are foreign to us until we have a few of our own, and our cashier position at Wal-mart may not cover that light bill you’re already late on from last month, so naturally, we learn to penny-pinch and pinch some more….and some more to be able to partially pay our bills but still hit the sale rack at Charlotte Russe.
6. You’ll get cut off or decide to go it alone without your parent’s help.
If this never happens to you, God bless your soul. If so, then brace yourself for a very rude awakening. Being cut off financially doesn’t feel so great. It’s like having a fur coat yanked from your body during winter in New York. On the other hand, some of us tap into our pride and decline our parents help because we want to do it by ourselves…. until we can’t and we have to borrow $40 for gas for the week.
7. The pressure of your parents will be REAL.
“So what exactly are you doing with your life?”
“Why aren’t you spending your money right?”
“You should just come back home and let us take care of you again”… Truthfully, I don’t think our parents will ever trust us as adults. There’s always something we’re doing wrong, and they aren’t shy about letting you know it.
8. Every few years, you won’t recognize yourself.
Think about who you were in 2015, and who you are now in 2017. I bet if you look at pictures you’re amazed (and a little embarrassed) at what you see. As you go through these inevitable experiences, your perspectives, appearance, and just about everything else about how you once were will change.
9. People will still think you’re too young to have real-life issues.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard, “You’re only 21, you don’t know what it’s like to (insert “something I know what it’s like” here). Even when you’re older, people older than you will always think their experiences are grander and that they’re much wiser than you are. Truthfully, they still consider you a 15-year-old high school student who’s only concerned about the homecoming dance next Saturday….if it’s any conciliation…I get you, I understand…we see each other.
10. You will struggle to try to balance school, work, and a social life.
School is taking your mornings, work is taking your mid-day and sometimes nights, and your social life is thrown in every chance you get an hour or two between or after school and work. There is no such thing as balance really….
11. You’ll want to go back to being a young adult so badly.
Naps will become a thing again. Running to your parents for help will become a thing again. Pouting and not getting your way in life — will become a thing again. But the luxury of just being a kid in an adult world will become a fantasy that you’ll never be able to get back into your reality.
12. You will become self-aware.
The twenties are generally referred to as the “finding yourself” years as well as your prime and many other things. But I refer to it as the accountability “call yourself out on it” stage. And from there, you make the appropriate changes or remain an irresponsible self-sufficient twenty-something forever. We all know we do NOT need any more of those. As of now, you’ve been pretty much told who you are and what you can and can’t do. But as you navigate the world alone, you’ll explore every area of yourself that will kind of punch you in the face when the time comes. You’ll find out how you are in relationships, how you treat other people, how you treat and feel about yourself.
Truthfully, we shouldn’t allow our twenties to make or break us. Because they’ll be different hardships in our thirties, forties, and so-on. But our foundation and self-awareness do begin here, make it count!