Why Your 20s Shouldn't Only Be About Self-Discovery

by Acey Santos

It’s a modern cliché: Find yourself in your 20s. It seems like every article, every friend, and even some family members will encourage you to make mistakes, laugh at mishaps and defy all odds. You have been told to stray away from safety and take a chance or two, but are these bits of advice actually helpful in the long run?

Time is a strange concept. When you’re 18 people ask you where you want to attend college. When you’re 22 they question what your plans are for after graduation. Suddenly, when you’re about 25 the question becomes, any or all of my top three favorites; “When are you getting married?” “When are you getting a place of your own?” or best yet, “When are you going to have kids?” Many people tether these ideas to time and age and try to put deadlines on when each person should accomplish them.

I personally believe this is ridiculous. There should not be a time limit for when you should accomplish any of life’s milestones. The black borders drawn to precision on maps don’t really exist, so go ahead and cross them. Like imaginary borders drawn on maps, life has no real boundaries or time limits.

Are the university you attend, city you live in, or the job you’re “stuck at” not good enough? If you've answered yes to any of these questions, then eave. There are no barricades locking you in. You can go wherever you choose to go in life. No matter what age you are, there are no benchmarks that absolutely need to be met, so disregard them.

Do you ever wish you could go back in time and relive your younger years? Or would you prefer to press the fast-forward button on your life so things won’t seem so uncertain anymore? If you have ever felt like this, realize that this is a very special time in your life that should not be taken for granted.

You are where you are supposed to be.

Think about it: if you went back to when you were a kid, that innocent, carefree version of you would cease to exist. And that’s heartbreaking. Maybe playing tag wouldn’t seem so exhilarating. Maybe the little things like watching cartoons while laying on your great grandma’s couch would be boring. If you went forward in time, you would most definitely be even more clueless than you already are since you only know the end product, not the path you took to get there.

And that’s just it, isn’t it? The path that you took to get where you are is more important than where you actually are in life. The decade spent in your twenties is lauded as the time of discovery and fun. Time is irrelevant and you can start being the person you want to be whenever you please. Remember that we are volatile and malleable in the best way possible.

Although the time spent in our twenties is usually more carefree than future ages in our lives will be, being young is not an excuse to be reckless. Your twenties, just like every other age in your life will be a time of discovery because you learn new things about yourself and the world around you everyday. Don’t feel the pressure to live up to the cliché that you “have to” find yourself in your twenties. Make every stage of your life an attempt to live your life to the fullest, and you will be sure to find yourself in the process.

Top photo credit: Tumblr