I've said it before and I'll say it again: your twenties are an extremely difficult time in life that no one seems to prepare you for. One reason for this is how hard we can be on ourselves. I've noticed from talking to close friends that we all seem to feel like we're behind in life or we're not where we "should" be. We think we should be making more money, or in a serious relationship, or loving our jobs. But the truth is, most of us are still figuring all of this stuff out, which is exactly what our twenties are for. So if you get anxiety about where you "should" be in life, just take a look at my list below that proves you're right on track.
1. YOU'RE BEGINNING TO REALLY KNOW YOURSELF
Understanding who you really are, what you truly like and don't like, and what kind of person you want to be are all really important things to think about in your twenties. You're becoming less influenced by those around you and starting to pay more attention to you. The more time you spend getting to truly know yourself, the more you will make decisions that are true to your heart (i.e. the right decisions).
2. YOU KNOW WHAT YOU DON'T WANT TO DO
Although you may have thought you'd figure it out by now, most of us still don't know what we want to do (career wise). And that's okay. How can we know when we've only been in the real world for a handful of years? This is the time to explore. And hey, I bet you know what you don't want to do, and that's half the battle.
3. YOU HAVE A HANDFUL OF REALLY CLOSE FRIENDS
In high school and college, you probably had a close knit group of girls and guys. You didn't necessarily choose them all, but you fell into the group by association. Now that we're becoming adults, I've found that most of us are putting a higher value on individual relationships with specific friends from different areas of our lives. These kinds of relationships are more meaningful, fulfilling, and unique to our individual needs & personalities.
4. YOU'RE MAKING JUST ENOUGH TO GET BY
If you're anything like me, you probably haven't even begun to think about opening a savings account or putting money away for the future. All I'm concerned with is making enough money to get by. Once I master day to day budgeting, then I'll tackle the savings account. But for now, as recent grads, it's totally normal to be making just what you need.
5. YOU FEEL COMFORTABLE SHOWING UP ALONE (AND SOBER)
Becoming more independent is something we all focus on in our twenties, and this affects all aspects of our lives. We become less reliant on our friends and don't need to do everything together. Now, if your friends are out at a bar or a movie, you have the confidence to show up alone (and without any liquid courage). Although it sounds like a small accomplishment, I think we all should get a high-five for that.
Just remember this: there is no normal. Everyone's path in life is different and unique to them, so there is no official answer to the question, "Where should I be at this point in my life?" In fact, toss those kinds of thoughts out the window because they are unproductive and just create anxiety. Trust that if you're following your gut and being true to yourself, that you're exactly where you should be.
More from Advice from a Twenty Something:
How to handle confrontation like a lady
How to get better at making decisions
On finding happiness
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