I have decided that mid-20s is by far the hardest, weirdest and best time of life (at least so far!). I’m 25, and there are times when growing up and getting older is absolutely terrifying.
The transition from high school to college isn’t easy, but at least it’s a similar routine. You still have classes to attend, homework to do, someone who cooks for you (if you live on campus) and possibly a part-time job.
Fast forward four years when 17 years of being a full-time student comes to an abrupt end. Say goodbye to Christmas and spring break, wearing sweatpants the majority of your life and seeing your friends on a daily basis. If you planned accordingly, you may have a job waiting for you or just an idea of where you want to wind up. I had a part-time job working as a reporter when I graduated, and it soon turned into full-time work. I was thrilled to find a job in my field. Yet, going from a college student who woke up at 10 a.m., went to class most of the day and worked at night to a working woman who was in the office by 6 a.m. and working a 40-hour week was strange. I was paying my own bills, trying to figure out dilemmas like why my hot water heater wouldn’t work (my dad was fielding lots of calls from me at that time) and navigating marriage.
Jump forward to a few years after college, and I find myself scrolling through Facebook comparing my life to my peers. Who’s getting married? Who is pregnant or already has babies? Who is globetrotting? Is my career where it should be? Am I measuring up?
It’s at this stage of life where we are fully immersed in the “real world.” It is a world filled with college loan payments, finding the right insurance plan, paying rent or a mortgage, trying to live life on our own (or with a significant other), raising children and hoping we make an impact on the world in some way or another. Things I didn’t even care to think about at the age of 20 are now looming over my head constantly. Are 401Ks really that important? Do I really need to save my money instead of splurging on new boots? Is my biological clock ticking already?
But while this stage of life is confusing, scary and sometimes feels hopeless, it has also been the best time of my life. It is full of new possibilities and adventures. I have traveled on my own, met my soul mate and gotten married, moved away from home, made strides in my professional life and adopted four, furry children. Instead of comparing myself to what everyone else is doing at my age (and despairing over the fact that a famous person I admire is much younger than me), I am trying to embrace the fact that this is my life to live. Not every single day is going to be Instagram worthy, but some of the best moments are the ones we don’t post on social media.
There is no straight path for anyone in this life. What is right for my best friend, my sisters or high school classmates may not be right for me. We shouldn’t feel pressured to do what is expected of us at this age, but instead do what makes us happy right now. There is always room for improvement. If you want something different, then go after it and make it happen. Don’t compare your life to what you see on Facebook. I can almost guarantee that other twentysomethings are just as bewildered about life as you, and no one’s life is glamorous 24/7.
I’m proud to be where I am and what I have accomplished in my life so far. I still get freaked out when I think that my high school reunion is only three years away (how the heck did that happen already!?), and I know I’m going to continue to worry about making the right choices. But I also know that the journey of my life has been glorious. I can’t wait to see what comes next.
And for those of you feeling like your going through a quarter-life crisis, this is for you. 🙂