How often do you compare yourself to others your age on social media, asking yourself questions like: why do I not make as much as money as them? Why can they afford to buy a house and I can’t? Why do their lives look so effortlessly put together and I’m still struggling? This seems to be a common trend these days, especially in our 20s within the age of social media and distant access to everyone’s lives. Today I’m opening up a discussion on the reality of our 20s, and the pressures and struggles that come along with it.
I believe this decade of our lives is all about soul searching, new experiences, building blocks and making (and learning from) mistakes along the way. The reality is, in our 20s especially, we’re all at different places in our lives. As much as we’d all love for each of our friends to graduate college, have steady jobs, get married and have kids the exact same time we do, that’s not reality. As much as we’d like to have six-figure dream jobs at our own companies, that’s not always reality either.
The reality is, it’s likely you’re not going to get your dream job right out of the gate — and that’s a hard pill to swallow, especially for us millennials, since we’re basically designed to always work hard for exactly what we want and never settle for less (which is a great trait, in my opinion). We’ve grown up in an age where if our dream job doesn’t exist, we create it. The truth is, our first jobs likely won’t be our favorite jobs, and sticking around to get experience on a resume may be more important than bouncing from job to job every month to find what suits us best. We were taught that we can make our dreams a reality if we work for it and that we should never put ourselves in a position that doesn’t make us happy, yet we’re being told to stay in jobs for 3+ years that don’t make us jump out of bed in the morning. Doesn’t make sense, does it?
Then there’s the numbers game. Within the social media industry especially, numbers often equate to dollar signs, giving us an indication of how much money the people around us are making. It seems that some of us have success fall into our laps, while the rest of us fight to stay afloat. It’s so easy to say “I’m the same age as them — how do they have all of that, and I don’t?” How silly is it that we compare ourselves to photos and 140-character blurbs? It happens differently for all of us and it can be tough to remember that others likely are going through the same things we are behind the scenes, we just don’t know about it.
The reality of our 20s is that we’re being pulled in a million different directions and everyone around us is giving us conflicting advice. The truth is that there is no set path. There are so many directions your life can go in, especially in our 20s, that the choices and decision-making can be overwhelming. Do I quit by job? Do I suck it up and stay at the job I’m at to gain experience? Do I travel? Do I work multiple jobs to help make my side job a full-time one? Should I make paying off my student loans my number one priority instead? We’re all just trying to figure it out the best we can, and we’re forced to choose between financial stability, comfort and chasing after what we really want.
I don’t think our 20s are supposed to be comfortable. We’re supposed to push ourselves to do things we’d normally hesitate to do, take chances and learn from them. There will be some bumps along the way, as much as we wish we could bypass them. This decade is about trying new things, even if we may fail at them. It’s all about learning to pick ourselves up, brush it off and try again. Learn to to capture your current life and moments, not standing by waiting for the “perfect” ones to come along. Our 20s are about watering our garden so we can enjoy the fruits of our labor for a lifetime.
Wondering where I stand on this? I dream of the day I can be self-employed and buy a home. I appreciate that I’m a driven person and that I work hard for what I want, but I don’t give myself enough credit. I’m a fast-moving individual and want my life to develop to the ideal picture I have in mind quickly, so it can be hard to remind myself that great things take time and I need to enjoy the ride in the meantime.
With all this being said, I want to hear from you — what have been some of your biggest struggles as a 20-year-old? What kind of pressures have been put on you, either by yourself or by others, in your daily life or on social media? Let’s talk in the comments below!
Did you enjoy this post? If so, catch up on my previous “Let’s Talk” posts here.