Navigating the time that is your 20s can be frightening and fantastic all in the same breath. Though the image of a grand destination may seem comforting in theory, the journey really is never that simple.
At 24, I have come to learn only a few lessons about life, love and all that exists in-between. It may not be much, but from these moments of growth, I have settled on four.
Here are four promises I am making to myself and, perhaps, four promises for other 20-somethings to take with them, as well:
1. Enjoy the absolute chaos of independence.
As the old saying goes, we must all take the time to “stop and smell the roses.” As cliché as it may seem, there is no denying that when steadily approaching the real world, confusion, insecurity and fear are but a few of the million emotions we encounter each and every day.
Remembering that it is these very experiences that make the journey so unique which will empower us to see beyond the doubt. To not simply accept, but rather, revel in the muddied waters of life, is the most freeing way to come out on the other side. The unknown can be amazing, but only if we allow it to be.
2. Follow your own path, no matter how dark, dangerous or lonely the journey may seem.
Whether you believe in fate or the power of one’s own volition, the journey each and every one of us takes is undeniably unique to our experience.
In a world where societal fads and communal opinions dictate acceptance, dare yourself to operate apart from those confines. As simple as it may sound, it is your life, and you are the only one who is going to live it.
There will always be a place for constructive criticism, but keeping perspective enough to remain true to your soul’s desires is the most precious gift you can grant yourself.
3. Let love be a guiding force, rather than an obstructive roadblock.
The world can be a pretty scary place, especially when navigating a series of experiences that we’ve never before encountered. Regardless of how busy our new jobs or grad school may make us, there is no reason for self-imposed loneliness.
This does not necessarily mean romantic love; on a grander scale, vowing to cherish and develop the relationships we have with one another, regardless of the time restrictions we may have while trying to change the world, is essential to our growth as human beings.
So, challenge yourself! Find the time for dinner with an old friend, shopping with your mom or a date with an endearing stranger. It is in these moments of connectedness that we come to better understand ourselves, and really, isn’t that what it’s all about?
4. Chase the impossible.
They say it’s impossible to have it all: both the perfectly-crafted career and the wildly fulfilling personal life. Maybe it is an idealistic goal, at best, but how can we achieve, if we’re not willing to aim high?
As 20-somethings, we are caught in this middleground between youthful innocence and inescapable adulthood. The beauty of our position is that we are still young enough to maintain the vision that anything is possible.
Vow to deny bad experiences the power of corrupting that perception. Refuse to let life make you jaded, and aim as high as you can, even if you don’t yet know what you’re shooting for. Those who accomplish things are usually the ones who were crazy enough to believe they could.
Photo Courtesy: We Heart It