An article in Psychology Today entitled, “The 20s: Our Hardest Years” states “No one beyond their youth wants to be in their twenties again. ‘Ill take the body, but I wouldn’t want the life,’ a 66 year old woman assured me. These are the most difficult years of all. We have to figure out who to love, how to love, and what we should do with our lives. Most of us end up living through several answers to the question, ‘Who am I?'”
The article goes on to show that behind the glamour and attraction to youth that has been drilled into our psyches, the reality is, it’s basically difficult to figure it all out in your 20s, and moreover, you’re not alone in your doubts. I highly recommend it.
The following is based mostly on opinion, but I have also gathered research from observing my friends’ trials and tribulations. The consensus I reached was, women around the age of 25, my age, worry a lot, especially regarding the 5 following themes.
1. Not Knowing Where Your Life Is Going/ Feeling Like You Don’t Know What Your Purpose Is
Don’t get me wrong, this is a valid concern, one I have wondered/stressed about this on probably a weekly basis (a monthly basis if I’m having a particularly positive month); nonetheless, your 20s-mid 20s are the time you’re supposed to make finding your purpose a priority. It’s okay. It’s okay to not completely know yet. It’s okay if to you’re like me and changed your major 3 times and have a million interests and concerns. It’s the feeling of not knowing where things are going that’s the hardest part sometimes.
My 20s have made me feel like Charlie Brown is my spirit animal.
Whatever you enjoy and find pleasure in doing is a valid pursuit, whether that’s wanting to cure cancer, learning to fly a Cessna, writing a novel, acting, creating the next big app, or designing women’s jeans…whatever! It’s up to you, and only you know what’s right for you.
Yes, time is of the essence, but so is finding the right path. Almost nothing could be worse than going down the wrong one and finding yourself stuck, except maybe finding yourself stuck with the wrong partner, which brings me to my second point…
2. Not Having the Perfect Boyfriend or Finding Anyone Husband/Life Partner Worthy and Therefore Tearing Yourself Down for Not Having Done So Yet
Look, it’s human nature to want connection; real, emotional, all-encompassing, deep connection. No, I’m not talking about who you go home with to Netflix and chill, I’m talking about someone you can really chill with, forever. That word either freaks us millennials out, reminds us of the single girl fantasy a la Sex and the City and how well we’re carrying it out, or makes us think of what kind of wifey material we’d make. It’s okay, we’ve all thought about it. It doesn’t make you any less of a feminist. It’s part of the human condition to ask the question, “Could I spend forever with someone?”
There’s also something innately female about wondering when you’ll be receiving your next text from your love, and spending all your time obsessing over the relationship. Remember this, you are who you are with or without the relationship.
If you’re with someone, you may try to weigh your self worth against how well you’re doing as a couple. Don’t! This will only carry you to an all time emotional low when you inevitably get into rocky periods. If you’re still searching for the one you may think “Am I not good enough to be girlfriend material?” You are, you just haven’t found someone you really mesh with. It could take a while, but wouldn’t you rather wait than spend interminable hours arguing with the wrong person and wasting maybe years you could have been blissfully single working on your own well being? The answer is yes, by the way.
3. The Baby Question
For some reason all women secretly wish they could leave a little piece of themselves here. Yes, even your most staunchly independent friend who believes men don’t define her. Same goes for everything else on this list. Call it biology, but we all wonder whether or not we should be or will ever be mothers. If you had horrible, scarring, traumatizing cystic acne like me as a teenager, you may have already concluded no. I concluded this for a while. Now I’m keeping the book open.
For one thing, I believe there are already too many babies in this world whom are unwanted, mistreated, and underloved. Yes I made that word up maybe. A baby deserves to be overloved due to the mere fact that it is a baby and to ensure ot grows up to be the best human possible. Also, there are so many adoptable babies out there, I wonder about them and think, maybe that’s a good option.
It’s ultimately up to you, but remember all those babies without mothers and forget your biological clock for a while. The world doesn’t need a baby from you at this very moment, and if you do want one, wait until you find the right person before you go ruining someone’s life (yours too). See my previous point. There are many babies that emerge triumphantly from a divorce and/or failed relationship, myself included for the most part. Just think about it first.
4. How Do I Stack Up Against…You Name It
We all do it. Comparing yourself in terms of contouring, career, relationship status, etc. vs. your best friend, your colleagues, your siblings, whoever. You are not your social media image, so don’t continue to bring yourself down over how well other people are doing. Makeup gurus may be better contoured than you but you have other strengths. Highlight your strengths like you do your cheekbones, and possibly nose and cupid’s bow too.
5. What Your Parents Think.
Some parents manage to simultaneously encourage and push their children to greater successes, providing constructive criticism along the way. Others though, manage to undermine their children’s successes by making them feel that whatever they do is never enough.
Before you lessen the battles you’ve braved and what you’ve learned as an adult, stop the negative backtalk. Realize that the fact that your parents will continue to constantly ask you about when you’ll get a better job, how solid your relationship is, your marriage plans, and when you’ll have babies does not make you inadequate. The fact that you are holding down the fort as an adult makes you more than adequate. Yes, your parents love you and most likely want the best for you, but if at any time you feel like you’re being torn down for not doing enough, when all you’re doing is trying your best, than stop and remember, they’re only human. As humans, they are flawed, so listen and absorb their wisdom, but take everything with a grain if salt.
I don’t claim to know all the answers, but if I helped you even a little, and made you feel like you’re not alone, it makes me feel happy for sharing my insights.
Thank you for reading!