Oh, the pains of growing up. What does growing up even mean?
Since turning 21, I have realized that the concept of growing up is absolutely absurd, and extremely difficult, especially in your early 20s. The early years of your 20s are some of the most uncomfortable, yet fufilling years of your life, as you try to navigate through all the bullshark that life ends up throwing your way. Even your parents slowly become distant figures in your life, as they push you to try to make you the most independent version of yourself. You may even find yourself having multiple panic attacks about experiencing quarter-life crisis’s, and will definitely find yourself facing more challenges.
Your early 20s are spent figuring out and discovering that the world is not so black-and-white, and things are never always in your control. Not having control over every aspect of your life is something that you need to realize quick, as you may grow apart from friends, experience anxiety about your future, etc.
Spending time by yourself, just trying to figure yourself out is one of the best ways I have dealt with my uncomfortably, awkward anxiety attacks. Honestly, I did not even have my life mapped out for my 20s, as they always seemed so far away.
With that said,
- Speak your mind and utilize your voice.
The best life advice I have received of coming of age is that you should always speak your mind, and speak it well, and intelligently. Lauren Conrad wrote a similar article on her blog stating 10 things she wished she would have known in her early 20s, and speaking your mind is one of the most efficient ways to maintain healthy friendships, standing up to bullies, etc. Your voice should be used to be heard. Do not let anyone or anything silence you, asking for what you need and want is far from a crime. The worst thing that could come out of asking for something and speaking your mind, is the answer “no,” or a negative comment.
- Spend as much time alone as possible.
This seems counterproductive and a little depressing, however, the positive benefits of hanging out with oneself plays such a huge role in the process of growing up.
Finding what you like and what you do not like are some things that come out of hanging out with yourself. Finding independence in a society that places the utmost importance on co-dependence is almost a freeing experience. You are no longer held back by the fear of doing stuff alone, rather you crave doing things alone and find solace in your daily activities.
Induce your creativity and find new hobbies to partake in. No matter how old you are or how awkward it may seem dating yourself is one of the best ways to make the growing pains a little less painful.
- Place importance on your education and obligations.
Whether you’re in school or not in school, and simply just working, it is important that you make these things a priority in your life, as they play a huge role in your life outside of school. Attend work and school obligations on time and realize how much working hard at aspects of your life will result in ultimate happiness.
You may not be happy, in the moment while you are working hard, however, in the long-run many opportunities may present themselves.
Whether it is setting yourself apart by cleaning the bathrooms at work, picking up coffee for the administrative assistant that you work for, seize every opportunity to set yourself apart from others. Being self-motivated is one of the best attributes to attain, when you are going through the process of growing up.
4. Grasp every opportunity for success that you may come across.
This is incredibly important, as life does not offer too many free lemons for you to make unlimited amounts of lemonade. After a while, the opportunities stop presenting themselves, if you keep denying them. Whether you are grasping an opportunity to make a new friend or grasping a job promotion, work hard for it, try to say “yes,” as often as possible. You do not want to be left with the question “what if?” that will constantly haunt your mind.
5. Forget the drama, and do not even leave it for your mama.
Literally, you may fight every one of your so called “good friends,” while you are facing life’s biggest challenge of growing up. Yes, your group of friends will downsize considerably, as you begin to realize that most of the friends you made over the last few years, have become distant enemies or acquaintances. This is quite normal and perfectly alright. However, when it comes to drama, leave it alone and let it be. Do not pay any mind to it, because in a few years, your name will be nothing but an old ghost town. Drama is pointless and a distraction from what really matters. Try to avoid it as much as possible. Leave rumors alone, and do not entertain them.
6. Start a bucket list
Make a bucket list full of your biggest fears, dreams, ect, and most importantly, start checking off the activities you have completed. Bucket lists can almost serve as goals you want to achieve, or just can include fun activities that you can participate in when you have the time. Things like, cliff jumping, graduating college, bungee jumping, starting a blog, traveling to Iceland and finishing a whole entire coloring book are things that are on my bucket list.
7. Find new hobbies or join a club
Forget the partying, after you hit your early 20s, no one even cares to go out every night of the weekend, due to circumstantial obligations. New hobbies, other than partying, can serve as healthy activities that you can utilize when you are feeling super bored. This is not to say that you should not go out at all, but to find a balance between having fun and hobbies. Partying should NOT be your only hobby, as this will not get you very far.
Journaling, coloring, hiking, blogging and shopping are some of my favorite past times, as I try to engage in healthy hobbies every day. Find something you like, and stick with it. If it makes you happy, who cares what you are doing.
Joining a club can also serve as a positive outlet to meet new people and form new friendships. Volunteering is also a fun way to assist your local community, all while spending time doing something positive.
NOTE TO ALL: YOUR EARLY 20s ARE SOME OF THE MOST UNCOMFORTABLE YEARS OF YOUR LIFE. EVERYONE IS GOING THROUGH SIMILAR EXPERIENCES DISCOVERING WHO THEY ARE, WHAT THEY WANT TO DO WITH THEIR LIVES, ETC. We all deal with the uncomfortable growing pains of life. Learn to embrace them and find ways to combat your uncomfortability. This is a crucial time in any individuals life, as we are all learning how to come of age, how to be mature, and how to be independent. Do not let life discourage you. WE ARE ALL GOING THROUGH QUARTER-LIFE CRISES, it’s up to you how you choose to handle it.