I remember coming into my 20’s with the passion and ideation of a ten year old. Thinking that who I thought I’d have become since that age would automatically come to fruition. Thinking, “Yeah when I’m 25 I’m gonna have my shit together. Living with someone, having a miniature Chelsea running around and having a grand old nuclear time.” (And I know these ideals were DEFINITELY created from the heteronormative, traditional lifestyle that I was immersed in.)
But damn does that shit swap around when you hit 22. (Unless you really about that heteronormative, traditional lifestyle and have already tied the knot and refused to tie your tubes until you have a squad of little look-alikes. Which is cool too if you got the stamina for that kind of commitment and stamina…)
You start looking at the 30-somethings and 40-somethings getting their shit together and begin swearing to yourself that you’ll have it pulled together before then. That you will stick to the plan and never let anything change your life’s mission. That life in general doesn’t fucking change any time you take your eyes off it.
And then it does.
You take your eyes away for one moment… you get distracted or even find yourself buried in that mission… and when you come up for air you find it’s all changed. Your financial circumstances have shifted, your *cough* government is being a shitfest, your relationships have warped, your family is growing (or dying)… And you can’t stay stubbornly driven in the same direction you were going before without taking these shifts into account. Without taking care of all parts of yourself while securing your future.
Those unexpected shifts throw us for loops that affect our mission. Sometimes they strengthen our integrity to define our mission more directly. Sometimes they underline a larger part of society or self that is at stake if you don’t take up a new mission… Don’t ignore the shifts.
It’s okay if these calls to action deter you from reaching that nuclear, traditional goal or role by 25. It’s okay if you find yourself at 25 ten paces back in the same mission or three paces in a different direction. You’re right where you need to be.
I’m coming to terms with this myself – coming to terms with where I’m at literally, figuratively, professionally, mentally, and relationally. I’m coming to accept that I’m half way to 25, (24 and 6 months,) with an entirely different life than what I had expected. But I’m working. I’m working hella hard and staying open to the shifts. And I find this newfound acceptance and wisdom a lot more valuable than anything else in my life.
One thing I have found super helpful in these early twenties is having friends at least a decade older than myself. Only bouncing ideas and inspiration off of people within your age group isn’t the only way to find perspective. Talk with those in their mid-thirties changing careers, getting divorces, moving to new places, and even those who never changed their situations at all. Talk to people who have lived through the years you’re stressing through right now, and soak in their insight. You may not come away full of worldly wisdom, but you’ll at least have attained some experiential insight into the possibilities of your future.
And your potential to entirely change your mind about what that could be.