The world says your 20s are your 'make-it-or-break-it' years where you should 'build your empire of success'. The gap between 20 and 30 has also been dubbed the 'defining decade', your 'selfish years', but also the years where you should 'fall in love, get serious, get married, and start family planning'.
Jeepers! It would seem that everyone has an opinion about what life should look like at 20 something. And in this day and age, there seems to be more pressure on young people than ever before - from all angles - social media I'm looking at YOU.
But the good news is that your 20s don't need to be as tough as people may say, or as they may seem. So to take the pressure off, let's take a look at 10 lies every 20 something should stop believing. Like right now.
1. Everyone has got it together, except me.
Well, no, everyone does not have it all together. No one’s life is as amazing as his or her Instagram feed may portray it to be.
But I want to challenge you to question what 'together' looks like, anyway? Is it climbing the corporate ladder? Is it accumulating assets? Is it wearing designer clothes? Is it having perfectly manicured nails and your hair always in place? Is it being married? Is it having kids? Is it traveling the world? Is it living overseas and going on adventures each and every weekend?
Your idea of having it all 'together' may look very different to the person's next to you.
But a chat with your nearest and dearest will reveal that while their Instagram feed may look beautiful, they don't have it all together either. They may be facing similar struggles to you, or struggles that look completely different. But rest assured, no one has it all figured out. Take the pressure off yourself. And breathe.
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2. Being an adult means I don't need guidance anymore, especially not from my parents.
Sometimes you might just need to call your parents and ask for emotional support. That's OK - part of a parent's role is to guide and support their child. You may have spent a good chunk of your teenage years pushing away from your parents but just because you're over the threshold into 'real adulting' doesn't mean you shouldn't reach out and call your parents, or even a mentor-type figure, and seek comfort, advice, and guidance - that's what they're there for. Asking for advice or just chatting about life doesn't make you any less of an adult, in fact it makes you more mature. It means that you're willing to admit you don't know everything, you're willing to learn, and you're willing to improve - something that you may not be able to do without that special kind of support.
3. I should have already landed my dream job.
There are some people out there who've landed their dream jobs by 25. But if you're not one of them, don't stress. You may think you're doing something wrong. But oftentimes, these things just take time. Be thankful for where you are right now. And take the pressure off yourself. if you really want to reach your dream job, you will, but you must be dedicated and accept that the path may be a little longer than you originally thought, and may have setbacks on the way. That's OK, it's a part of the journey.
4. There's time for that later.
It's easy to get so busy being busy, that you can forget to take time - for yourself, for family, for rest, for fun. And time goes oh so fast. If you want to travel before you have a family, then explore the world! If you want to take up a physical challenge, then do it while your body is fit and able. Of course travel and physical challenges aren't reserved especially for your 20s, but your 20s often provide the perfect set of circumstances to pursue these kinds of dreams, fairly hassle free. So step out into these opportunities now. Don't put them in the later box, because who knows if there'll be a better opportunity than the one you have right now.
5. I'm a failure.
You are not a failure. And you don't have to define yourself by your failures. I love the saying 'failure is not a period, it's a comma'. Sometimes we succeed, and other times we fall flat on our faces. But those are the times that teach us the most; that teach us how we can do things better next time. So take each 'failure' as a comma in your long, unfolding story.
6. I'm not enough.
This is a common lie that most people have believed in their life, and I am so sorry if you have ever believed it. But I’ve got news for you, sweetheart - you are enough. Your past mistakes do not define you. The words that people have spoken over you do not define you. Your circumstance does not define you. Your relationships do not define you. Your job does not define you. Your course of study does not define you. Not one of these things determine your worth. You are invaluable, and you are enough.
7. I am too much.
You're not. I spent a great deal of my teenage years believing the lie that I was 'too much' for those around me. 'Too loud', 'too excitable', 'too intense', 'too talkative', 'too active'. Those thoughts are self-destructive. I am so thankful that I broke out of that mindset before my 20s. But occasionally those thoughts pop up to haunt me, and I am not afraid to tell them where to go. Because I am who I am. The 'too loud, excitable, intense, talkative, active' person - that's me. And I choose to embrace who I've been made to be. Likewise, don't you ever believe the lie that you are too much. You have been made in the image of Christ. How could you not be wonderful, fascinating, beautiful, lovely? Embrace your quirks. Embrace what makes you YOU.
8. I'm the only one who's struggling.
Stop right now. Stop. You're not. You are never the only one who is struggling. There are more than 7.125 billion people in this world, and there are more people than you could ever know who are facing similar challenges to you. Whether it's relationship difficulties, physical health challenges, anxiety and/or depression or other mental health challenges, problems at work, or simply just feeling like you're stuck in a bit of a rut - know that you're not the only one. But if you need help, reach out for it. Chat to a trusted friend or mentor, book an appointment with a health professional. Whatever you do, don't go it alone!
9. My life is not turning out how it's supposed to.
People are going to tell you that you shouldn't get married at 21, but that you should be married before 25 and be popping out kids by 30. People will always always ALWAYS have an opinion about when and how you should do things. But do you know what? The best time for you to make these big life decisions is when you're ready for them - not when your boss at work, your best friend or your mother in-law says you're ready. Remember, you're different to the person next to you - and they're different to you. So be respectful of each other's big life decisions. What's right for you might not be a perfect fit for them, and vice versa. But it doesn't mean either of you are wrong.
10. These are the best years of my life. Period.
Your 20s can be the very best years of your life so far (emphasis on the so far). But why do they have to be the best years of your life, the end? That would mean that everything else is just downhill from your 20s. And wouldn't you much rather live a life that is moving onwards and upwards instead of downwards and backwards? Every stage of life will bring its challenges and its joys. Don't limit the best years to your 20s. Live with an expectation that your very best days are ahead of you.