People always give many many MANY different pieces of advice to those about to enter or those already in their 20s. “Live it up when you’re young and 20,” “Your 20s are going to pass you by,” “Try a bunch of things out in your 20s to find out who you are.”
Personally, all of the advice has made me scared about my 20s. I’m currently 25 and I remember when I’d just turned 20 (and heard all the many types of advice), I told everyone I’m going to have a quarter life crisis at 25. I believed 25 to be the end of an era for me, my life was just going to be practically over. While I’m not completely over this notion, I’ve learned to look at this not as the end of an era, but as the continuous growth into who I really am.
Social Media’s 20-Somethings
Social media tends to put such a distorted spotlight onto our lives, and even knowing that it’s almost always fake, I still get depressed, anxious, and self conscious after looking at other 20-somethings’ lives. I feel like I am behind, I’m not living my life fully enough, I’m not going on enough traveling adventures, I’m not trying enough cool new places, I’m not working at my dream job, or whatever else I feel like I’m not doing enough of while I’m in my 20s.
I feel like the prime years of my 20s are just going to fly by without me having done all I should during this decade. Hence me telling myself I’ll have a quarter life crisis because it’s just all downhill from 25.
When I do end up traveling or going on an adventure, I end up posting it on social media (as one does). However, I catch myself scrolling through my own photos and videos watching my life through the rose colored filters and wondering what I’m still doing sitting at my desk and not seizing the day like the past Alyssa.
Granted, I love social media platforms and I love my job working in social media. I just think we each individually have to set our social media boundaries, remind ourselves of the truths, and be more present in our lives.
Be Present & Learn
I can tell you that who I was at 21 is not who I am at 25… at all. While looking back at 21-year-old me’s life choices, I can’t say I’d make the same moves now. However, at that present moment I thought I was being myself and was happy. In our 20’s, everything and everyone around us changes rather quickly, given our paths in life. One day we’re freelancing at home, the next we have a full-time job and a dog to take care of. Being present can be challenging in a rapidly changing life, but it’s key in navigating who we are.
Like I said, we tend to live rapidly changing lives, which influences our thought process when we are trying to find out who we are. We get new coworkers, move out on our own, find new friends. Or, like me, staying at home and watching others around me change while I stay in the same location. Navigating being yourself can be hard in whichever situation you’re in, but if we are present in each moment we can learn more about ourselves.
We cannot let our surroundings and others dictate who we are, which can easily slip into that habit in our 20s when life is constantly shifting. However, through all of these changes and experiences, as we can come to understand who we are, we just have to be present and listen to ourselves. For example, I never knew I was gifted with the ability to manage and plan schedules until I was given the task at my job. Part of who I am is being a planner, and now knowing this about myself has brought more joy into my life.
By being present in all that we do through our 20s, we can learn what parts of life we enjoy, what brings us joy, and what brings us peace. This is why we sometimes hear the advice to try a bunch of things when you’re in your 20s, because in doing so we can figure out what we like, don’t like, and better know who we are. As a planner, I never liked the idea of throwing myself into the deep end of life and seeing what happens. Because we cannot necessarily plan out exactly what will happen in our lives, I tend to usually leave these big decisions up to God. I try to be present in each moment and opportunity God has placed me in, because He has always put me there for a reason, to learn more and more about who I am.
We Are Just Baby Adults
The only helpful piece of advice I’ve heard recently is that 20-year-olds are baby adults. Trust me, this isn’t an insult. Think about it, we become legal adults at the age of 18, therefore at 25 I am only a 7 year-old adult. This thought is very very comforting to me.
We are thrown into the world and supposed to figure out life on our own when we’re really only “babies.” We are made to feel like we need to get on top of our life, figure it out, and hop on the adult train with ease. Well, the adult train is not an easy one to get on, especially if you’re only a toddler adult. In fact, most older adults find it hard to get aboard as well.
I remember as I was becoming “more adult” by turning 24 (and in fear of reaching the dreaded turning point of 25), I asked my dad when he felt like an adult. He told me he never really felt like an adult, and that answer surprised me. He said in his head, he still feels like a 20-something figuring out something new about himself every day.
Being Yourself is a Journey
We are only tapping into the tip of the iceberg of who we are in our 20s. Unlike some of the advice we hear about how “you need to figure out who you are in your 20s,” finding out who we are is a journey only we, ourselves, can go on.
The only people who can discover and reveal who you are is yourself and the Lord. Within the time and place the Lord has set us in, throughout each experience, we are learning more about who we are, and ultimately who God made us to be.