Sink or Swim?

I remember, prior to turning 20, thinking that in my twenties I would finally be this successful adult who had their entire life figured out. I would have my dream internship, and I wouldn’t have financial issues. I would have my own apartment, affordable car, and a successful relationship to top it all off. Basically, before I turned, 20, I believed my opportunities were endless.

Needless to say, my dreams of what being a twenty-something would be like were shattered and are definitely not my reality today. I am not even close to having my dream internship (I work in retail currently, and hate it), I am constantly stressed thinking about the debt I’ve built for myself in student loans, and my love life is currently non existent.

Even though I’m just a measly 22 years old, I feel like my life is not together at all. Actually, a large majority of the time my life feels like it’s in shambles. Talking to my other twenty-something friends (and even some 30 year old friends) caused me to realize that I’m not the only one who feels like this. Even the twenty somethings, with what seem to be, the most put together lives constantly feel as if things are falling apart. Why is that?

I genuinely feel like it’s because we all grow up with this misconception that your twenties is meant to be some defining period that determines wether or not you sink or swim in the metaphorical pool of life. Well, if it is, I’m tired of feeling like I’m drowning. I want to start a discussion, or sharing if you will, of pieces of advice I’ve gathered from personal experience, and the experience of a few friends about getting through life in your twenties so that we can all feel a little less like we’re drowning.

The very first piece of advice I have to share is:

It’s entirely ok not to have it together. 

Instead of seeing your twenties as a period of life where you’re supposed to have everything figured out already, think of it as an opportunity to grow, try new experiences, and learn from your mistakes. I haven’t met anyone yet who has said that they had everything figured out in their 20’s.

Start building good habits now.

When I first took out student loans and later decided to get a credit card, I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I don’t regret taking on these forms of debt, because they did help me get through college and pushed me through financial emergencies. But I do wish I  looked into interest rates more and did more research on the types of loans that exist, and what credit cards worked best for students. With this being said, it’s important to build strong financial habits now while we’re young so that we can carry them into our 30’s and so on.

 It’s ok to need a little help. 

As soon as I had the chance to, I moved out of my parents’ house. Living on your own has it’s pros and cons, but I did realize that being a twenty-something doesn’t mean you have to do everything on your own. I miss the days where I didn’t have to pay rent and had my parents to help me out here and there financially.

Stop caring about what other people think. Do what’s best for you. 

This is something I’m still working on. I thought that when I turned 20 and went to college and got a “real job” people would suddenly mature and everything would seem much less like high school. Sadly, I was wrong. People in the twenty-something “adult”world still talk behind each others backs and enjoy spreading gossip, but no matter what people’s opinions are of you, don’t let them influence your decisions if you are confident what you are doing is right for you.

Take advantage of being young. 

We are young. Take advantage of it. Try new things, travel, go after what ever goals you have set for yourself, no matter how big. If there’s a time to try new things in life, it’s now.