As I enter into my 26th year of existence on this earth, I feel as if I've spent the last few in a boxing ring with life. And it's officially kicking my ass.
Sure, I've had my share of tough times, but my overachieving self was supposed to have a solid career, be completely self-sufficient and be happy with my life's direction by now.
Instead, I'm standing in the middle of a whirlwind with a confused look on my face, and my hands are up like, "WTF?" It's not exactly what I was going for.
If the frustration and struggle to find ourselves during this time in our lives is so normal, why is it that your 20s always seem to be referred to with such fondness?
Although all 10 years of your 20s can't be a complete wash, you never hear anyone talk about how rough it was, either.
Most stories involve college years, way too much alcohol or learning the true meaning of stupidity.
This is why I've come to the conclusion that life in your 20s is a love-hate relationship.
It's All Good In the Beginning
Of course, as with anything in life, it's always exciting in the beginning of something new.
Being 20 meant 21 was right around the corner, and your all-access pass was granted to make as many memories as possible.
True, some of those memories were a little hard to completely comprehend the following day, but as far as you were concerned, you had the time of your life.
Your early 20s was where the word "freedom" defined your very existence, and "why not?" was your answer to all of life's decisions. It's when all your worries consisted of juggling school, work and having a good time.
These are the memories we refer to when discussing our 20s.
And why shouldn't we? They were great! We all have those ridiculous stories of us or our friends ending the night with someone we probably shouldn't have.
We've all been involved in an all-night excursion that eventually led us to our favorite place to eat at 3 am.
We all lived for the moment because we knew there was no way this much fun could last forever.
What Goes Up Must Come Down
And boy, were you right. Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end.
Here is the part no one ever really talks about: your mid-20s, when being a "big kid" starts.
Speaking from first-hand experience, since I'm right in the middle of this ride we call our 20s, this part blows. And from everyone I've talked, I seem to be right.
During your mid-20s, the reality of life sinks in. It's when the big question, "What am I going to do with my life?" is asked.
I'm sure you thought about your life after college, but the universe has a funny way of changing your plans just when you think you have it figured out.
If you are anything like me, this is exactly what happened. Nothing worked out the way you thought it would, despite all the planning and hard work.
Your mid-20s are spent trying to find a direction that makes you happy and learning who you really are in the process.
I can't tell you about the countless walls I've ran into in search of my direction, or the many failed attempts to do what I thought I wanted to do.
I've gotten to the point where the word "no" has lost its effect, and using the phrase "What is meant to be will be" has become second nature.
The Light At The End Of The Tunnel
But alas, there is hope. I mean, it can't be horrible forever.
As with any rough point in our lives, there will always be one thing you can count on: Where you are and what you are dealing with right now will pass.
The last few years of your 20s are, so I'm told, filled with clarity. Your whirlwind slows, and the ability to stand on solid ground returns.
At this point, you finally stop trying to be what you think you're supposed to be, and you're truly happy with where and who you are.
Most of the confusion and struggle in our mid-20s comes from our own images of what life will be.
In college, we gained our freedom, but not necessarily our independence.
In our mid-2os, we find out that independence can be scary and frustrating. We learn it takes an awful lot of work just to survive.
This unsure time in our lives is filled with experiences that will lead us to where we are supposed to be.
Continuing to move forward and knowing it will all work out is the only thing that will lead us to the light at the end of the tunnel, and into our 30s.