The Truth Behind Turning 20

Many late-night conversations with my housemates has led to the conclusion that turning 20 most definitely comes with a set of expectations. No longer a teen, for many of us there’s a weight that seems to fabricate overnight; one suggesting that we must somehow have it all together. Maybe it’s the reality of aging itself, the prospect of wrinkles and a slowly diminishing youth that has you in a state of distress. It could be a pressure to know what you want, where you are going and how you’ll reach such a destination. Either way for many of us turning 20 comes with its reservations.

A lot of this stems from a kind of glorification that comes with entering this age range. There is a self-made, possibly even societal, idea that your 20’s will mark the best years of life. One might expect to meet their partner, find the perfect job and travel the world to name a few desires. We expect all of this to be obtainable, we are in our 20’s, life is getting ‘serious’ so we’ve got to pull it off somehow is what us 20-something’s tell ourselves.

However, it could be that your reality is much different. I still do not really have much of an idea of where I am heading in terms of my career, and like many I’ve spent the first year of my 20’s a broke university student. Living in a city like London, one that seems so fast paced and competitive, comes with a need to do everything quickly. It can feel as if you do not have it all planned out you are somehow being left behind and social media with its constant projection of young success only feeds into this.

What I can say as I near the end of my first year in my 20’s is to cut yourself some slack. More so, this period is one for exploration- to figure out who exactly you are. It’s one that’s made for trying out new things and making mistakes. Yes, success should be striven for, but failure is never a bad thing. In the moment, such instances may feel like setbacks but really it is all a learning curve. Failure means that you have tried, it allows for progression and an understanding of your strengths and weaknesses; it should be embraced.

Being 20 in 2018 can feel like a struggle. Being constantly bombarded with images and ideals of what one should be can make it difficult to just enjoy it. There’s a need to be the best version of yourself the minute we enter the age group and one can find themselves a little caught up in all of it. But remember- your 20’s are also made for late-night phone calls to and binge watching series on Netflix. They are made for pub quizzes and nights out, travelling the world, where you can, with your family and friends. Even simple things like relaxing in the park or exploring galleries can make the best memories. Your 20’s are meant to be lived, not spent worrying about living.

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