Dear Twenty-Something Year Old…
It is hard. I know.
You’ve probably just hit 20. Memories of your teenage still linger. You are not yet ready to let go. You are not ready to grow up. Or, you’ve just turned 29. Third floor is beckoning. You barely have life figured out. You are tired. A decade of attempting to grow up and be somebody with hardly any luck has left you miserable, broken and broke.
The 20s are probably the toughest stage of youth. The struggle is real. Everyone wants you to grow up so fast, while you hardly have any experience being and acting like a grown-up. Your parents are glad that you are now an adult—you can take care of your younger siblings. It is not negotiable. The unwritten rule must be obeyed. You have to struggle so hard to earn a living. Nobody wants to offer you a job and those who do, don’t want to pay you. They are, supposedly, spending lots of money training you.
Knowing and embracing one’s self is probably the hardest task. You enter 20s with an identity crisis from your teenage. You hardly know who you are. You are only beginning to get a grasp of who you are, what you like, your hopes, dreams, strengths and fears. Look around you and everyone seems to be doing so much better. Everyone seems to have their shit figured out. They are living the perfect lives. Or so you think.
Fake it till you make it
The unfortunate truth is that most everyone you think is doing fine is probably riding in the fake-it-till-you-make-it boat with you. You probably already know this but you can’t just bring yourself to admit it. After all, what next after you do? Start living real and be left behind? Lose friends because you can no longer keep up with their life on the fast lane? Forego the flashy lifestyle you are used to and be forgotten?
It is hard. I know. It is hard to not hang out in posh places for the pictures. It is hard not to take that loan and buy a car that will oftentimes run on a near-empty tank for the sake of appearing to be doing good. It is hard to move out of the DSQ in the leafy subs that costs you three quarters your salary for the sake of faux affluence. It is hard to decline the invite to a five-day holiday in Dubai even if it means leaving you 3 months behind in rent. FOMO is real and YOLO is the real deal. Anything for the gram.
If you have made it reading this this far, you’re probably doing so filled with guilt, shame or that I-can-relate feeling. I am not writing this to attack you or make you feel embarassed about yourself. In fact, I am only reassuring you that we are together in this. You are not alone. However, we can make a conscious decision to start being real with and about ourselves.
We can agree to start embracing and appreciating ourselves as we are. We can decide to drop the fake-it-till-you-make-it nonsense. We can break free from the chains of FOMO and let go of the dangerous YOLO mentality. We can embrace our shortcomings and accept our flaws and imperfections.
We can face our fears without allowing them to define us. We can admit that we are all broken in our own unique ways. We can ask for help. Dear twenty-something year old, it is okay not to be okay.