I think I’ve sat on this topic for months writing, deleting, saving draft, and then deleting. I think the reason I keep doing that is because its personal. What might be my personal may also be another persons personal so I guess I’m writing this to say yeah friend I’m so with you.
If you think about it, ones early 20’s are weird AF. I mean once you hit the big 20 you finally have got yourself some real friends in college and you have probably established yourself.
(The sorority that gave me friends for life- literally)
Hit 21 and life rocks. You can walk into bars without flipping a shit FINALLY and then you start to enjoy feeling like 1/4 of an adult even if its just for a glass of wine with dinner.
(First legal marg at my friend Allison’s birthday- she’s a June baby too!)
22 is usually the time around graduation for many people and then everything just gets weird. Your “life after college” plan actually has to be put in action and what if you made the wrong plan? What if the next step in life is scary?
(Grandpa, Oma, and Grandma)
Your next step is probably a full time job that isn’t that great. You have to learn everyones names, get oriented, figure out what a conference call really is, and take care of yourself enough to get your booty out of bed and be presentable for 8 hours a day versus throwing on a pair of workout pants and a baseball hat and sprinting to class.
Your next step might be graduate school or any continuation of school. If thats the case and if you did it like me you worked your butt off trying to get into the dang thing, had .7 seconds to breathe and smile for photos at graduation, physically shlep yourself from one state to another, and use all available brain power to push through starting summer courses.
(typical amount of bags before a 12 hour day at school)
Your next step might be taking a step back and realizing what TF you want to do with your life. You might take an internship, you might travel, you might move back home or just party like you are still in college and never left.
With those next steps come awkward shifts in friendships and family, faith and your sense of self.
Friends: Who are my friends? Are they they friends I kept in contact with these past 4 years? Are they the people I left at home and said hi to like twice in college and now that I’m back do I be friends with them again? What if I grew apart from my friends but now that I’m back home I’m trying to make it like it was back in high school? What if I want new friends wait how do I make new friends again? How do I manage friendships, school, work, family, and being a presentable human being all at once?
Family: I left my Chicago family after 4 years there and that really sucked. My junior year I had really gotten into the groove of grandma and grandpas house, my cousin Ella and I had become attached at the hip, and I got used to seeing my loved ones all the time versus once every few years. Ella’s parents became my Chicago mom and dad- Jocelyn brought soup to my doorstep on multiple occasions and it made me feel so loved. Then I got on my last train ride back from Ogden Dunes, Indiana to Chicago the week of graduation and lost my marbles. Lots of tears on that train man. Don’t worry I kept it under control for TSA at the airport on the way home to LA but jeeze at that point in time on that train I kinda felt like I would never be there again like that. I was so comfy and grew to crave the quiet surroundings of Lake Michigan and the Dunes and now back in LA I still crave it and instead of being an hour train ride and a warm hug from grandma away its thousands of miles.
(Ella and Connie on a weekend afternoon and the Dunes on a gloomy day)
Self: UGH the worst one. What am I supposed to be doing with my life right now? Should I be working while going to grad school (more than my little side jobs I love)? Should I stick to myself and my interests even if its not what my friends enjoy doing here? Should I have dated someone in college and should I be doing that now? Since I have had an instagram about food for a year now shouldn’t I have as many followers as _______ (insert literally whoever here) who has had their IG for a year but has like 17098437864376 more followers than me? Can I enjoy spending more time with my family than anyone else- like should I be ditching them to go do “20 something year old things” like stay out late- get hammered- take cool trips?
Faith: This is one I wrestle with A LOT. My faith is something so important to me but its also very personal. I don’t openly pray or speak my mind about faith in front of others since it has been something that has helped me through the worst of anxiety attacks, loosing family members, and was my quiet time during college. Am I supposed to find friends who have a strong faith like me and live by it? Do I find a bible study group to join? A women group? Will people judge me for expressing my faith and living by it?
Self Worth: This is something I believe all young women doubt themselves in- but why? Am I worthy of having a job that will pay me well with good benefits in a place where I want to be in? Am I worthy of a loyal boyfriend who honors his faith/values in addition to me? Am I worthy of having success in life? Happiness? (ps. the answer to these is YES. YES. YES but that doesn’t mean I don’t doubt sometimes)
I could go on. But the point of all this is that as I’ve experienced it, your early 20’s are weird as shiz. Not one person’s life story is like another and we need to understand that. Who cares if you find out on graduation day that you didn’t even like what you majored in. Who cares if you have grown and changed in your early 20’s and your friends, living arrangements, life goals- need to be re-arranged.
We are all worthy of having a life of happiness and unfortunately it doesn’t go very smoothly- but each day I become more aware that there is no script for life. Your day will look very different from your neighbors or your idol and thats ok. Our twenties aren’t supposed to be anything really. Sure, many people do some of the same stuff during that time period but if you end up doing it backwards or sideways- who cares.
Who is to say we have to live our 20’s the right way. It’s ok to ask questions and you are going to feel weird. I literally do not know one person who had an easy after college or around college time transition. We are all unique and awesome in our own way and I have no idea what to do for the next day of my 20s except give it my best effort and follow my heart and listen to what He has in store for me.
I encourage you to ask questions. I encourage you to go out of order. I encourage you to cry/get hurt/be a home body/whatever feels right to YOU is whats important.
Your early 20’s are for staying true to yourself and messing some stuff up people. Do it.