I promised it wasn’t all doom and gloom, so here it is. Part two. Grab a coffee, get comfortable, and sit with me awhile…
Suddenly you’re thrust into the world of adulthood. It’s more than just a job; it’s a lifestyle, this big world. As it also happens, it’s not funny anymore to rock up on Thursday at 9.50am smelling like regret and last night’s Kebab. Least of all to your employer.
What to do?
Rest assured, you are not expected to have everything together in your 20s, regardless of the expectations of your family, the opinions of your friends, nor what your Instagram feed looks like. The best you can do is ride the Twenties Wave, babe. These years are a learning experience you will never forget; for all the wrong reasons and all the right reasons. Gone are the safe expectations and rites of passage; the scaffolding of your formative years. The world is yours and the responsibility of that is fucking terrifying.
But, I guess, now is the time to test the waters and make mistakes – this is inevitable. Let me be clear – you are going to get it wrong time and time again. And it’s OK. Don’t beat yourself up. You are finding out all over again who you are. You are finding out how you function in this world. The traits you developed in your early Twenties and as a late teen are being put to the test and, naturally, some of them have to change or be eradicated altogether. I repeat: it’s OK. You’re only human trying your best…
And this is key, this trying your best. It’s doesn’t matter what so-and-so is doing, who they are becoming, or how much they can endure before they break under the pressure. They’re running their own race to the finish line so you just focus on staying in your lane. You’ll never jump your hurdles if you’re too busy looking at other people; you’ll fall flat on your face. You see, you can only do your best. You are not expected to do their best. You are not them (no shit.) We all have different personalities and experiences that have shaped us; it’s what makes us wonderfully unique. So don’t worry about them – you do you. That’s the best you can ever be expected to do.
OK. So…now we’ve got this far, let’s get a little deeper…ready?
You in a job you hate? Change it. You’re allowed to. The moment you get to Sunday evening and you get that feeling in the pit of your stomach that is just a ball of pure dread at the coming Monday…yeah, you gotta make those changes. You are morally obligated to for the sake of your personal mental health and happiness. Not only this, but for the rest of the people you have in your life; you perform better when you’re filled with joy. You know how hard it is to encourage someone and have a positive impact when you’re feeling like utter shite yourself? We also need you performing your best and being filled with joy because that good shit is contagious and, the last time I checked, we were all one big earth family. No man is an island. You influence and are influenced. That’s just the way it works.
Coming back to the main point I was trying to make, life is far too short to endure what you hate for 40 hours a week, for 40 years of your life. Take the risk and be selfish – pursue your passion. And if you already have your career – brilliant! This is good. Work hard and get better and keep going. If you haven’t found your career – brilliant! This is also just as good; now you get to explore what feels right for your life. What works for you. What makes you tick. What gets you out of bed in the morning and sends you to sleep content. In the words of Baz Luhrman, some of the most interesting 40 year old still don’t know what to do with their life. Stop putting pressure on yourself to have it all figured out by the age of 30. You are the only one putting the punishing goals in place. And, remember, your self worth is not dependent upon your career choice.
It may seem like everyone else has it together but – life hack here – no one else has a fucking clue, either. Instagram, and social media in general, is a highlight reel. Those people still crap, clean their teeth, and break wind. You are not being left behind. I promise.
So what if they live with their partner and you live solo? They may never know the liberation you feel after a hard day of work and coming home to peaceful solitude.
You live with your parents still? Enjoy it as best you can. Your Twenties are a time when your family become your friends; get to know them. Ask questions about their lives. Get advice. Learn. Yes, you’ll drive each other crazy sometimes but it’s all character building; learn to forgive and choose your battles. By the time you meet someone yourself, you’ll be fully prepped for the difficult ways of love and life.
Break ups. Fucking hell. They are so hard, aren’t they? I’m so sorry if you’re the one going through a break up as you read these words. I am sending you all the love and light from the bottom of my heart. Weirdly, though, embrace the pain. Sit with it. Don’t spend all your energy resisting it as this will just wear you out. Negative feeling are just as important as positive ones; you will feel pain like this a few times in your life so get used to it. Do what you need to do to heal. Use this as a time to get to know all the crooked and vulnerable bits of yourself that you try and protect. Be patient. It will pass. It’ll ease. It always does.
“When I get lonely these days, I think: So BE lonely, Liz. Learn your way around loneliness. Make a map of it. Sit with it, for once in your life. Welcome to the human experience.”
~ Elizabeth Gilbert
This is your life. These are your unwritten chapters. Life has given you the pen and ordered you to write; so write. Make it worthwhile and make it worth reading. The QLC may be uncomfortable but nothing was ever achieved inside the safe boundaries of your comfort zone. Put it this way, an athlete push themselves through pain to get better and achieve victory – so can you.
In sum, say yes. Take chances. And, for fucks sake, don’t take it too seriously…if something that’s bothering you today won’t matter in five years time, then choose not to worry at all. And remember that little grain of sand in our oyster we talked about previously? You know what happens over time? It becomes a precious pearl.
Create a life that is uniquely yours. You are responsible for yourself, possibly, for the first time ever. Which is both shit scary and strangely liberating.