Many late-night conversations with my housemates has led to the conclusion that turning 20 definitely comes with a set of expectations. No longer a teen, for many of us there’s a weight that seems to form overnight. A big one is that we must have it all together and maybe it’s the reality of aging itself, the prospect of wrinkles and a slowly diminishing youth, that has us in a state of distress. The pressure of knowing what we want, where we’re going and how we’ll reach this destination only adds fuel to the fire. 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 our 20’s will mark the best years of our 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’re 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 don’t have a concrete idea of where I am heading in terms of my career, and like many I’ve spent the first year of my 20’s as 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 like if you don’t have it all planned out you’re somehow being left behind and social media’s constant projection of young success only feeds into this.
What I can say as I near the end of age 20 is to cut yourself some slack. More so, this period is one for exploration- to figure out who you are. It’s one that’s made for trying out new things and making mistakes. Yes, we should strive for success but failure is never a bad thing. In the moment it feels like a setback when really it’s just a learning curve. Failure means having tried. It allows for progression and an understanding of our 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 we should be may make the time difficult to just enjoy. There’s a need to be the best version of us and we can get a little caught up in it. But remember – your 20’s are also made for late-night phone calls to friends and binge watching series on Netflix. They are made for pub quizzes and travelling the world, where you can, with 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.