The Aching Phase Every 20-Something Will Bounce Back From


Just about everyone who’s been through it will tell you that on the carousel of life, your 20s will be the bumpiest, most painful and endlessly uncomfortable loops we will face.

A girlfriend of mine once described self-discovery to me as, “Embedded in heartbreak, confusion and ugly feelings,” sharing how badly she wanted to keep me from that.

However, she knew it was something I just had to experience for myself.

It was a conversation via text, and I actually saved a screenshot of her guidance on my camera roll, sneaking peeks whenever I need to be reminded that hindsight is 20/20.

Recently I’ve been in need of that reminder more often than not, and was told by another girlfriend that I could chalk it up to approaching my 25-year quarter-life crisis, an unavoidable revolution that didn’t at all surprise her.

Thank God for my girlfriends who are past their 20s. Their assurances and light-at-the-end-of-the-tunnel attitudes are appreciated.

But nonetheless, the pain is real. The misconceptions, mistakes and unanswered questions are there. Half the time, I don’t know if it’s pure PMS or if I’m actually the most sensitive human being on the planet.

I question everything and read into every single word said or written in my direction. I think I need to know more in order to understand.

I worry that I’ve again managed to piss someone off, leave someone out or did the opposite and came on too strong.

Did they understand what I meant by that? Why does that make me sad? Is there something missing in my life? Am I where I’m supposed to be? Should I follow the rules or blaze my own trail?

Does anyone actually know the real me? Do I know the real me? Will any of these questions ever be answered, or will I just stop asking them?

I know I’m not the only 20-something with a brain consumed by these clichéd, philosophical, paranoid questions.

They’re the driving force behind so many of my actions — or lack thereof.

I’ve found that the only time I can really escape them is when I fully commit my mind to something else, and I know I’m not alone.

Elite Daily is essentially a beacon of hope for us 20-somethings. It's that third ibuprofen making your red wine hangover just a little more bearable.

A toolbox of sorts, full of different methods and techniques on making it through your everyday.

I’ve spent a lot of time trying to figure out why this decade is famous for its unnecessary uncertainty.

We’ve all tried rationalizing this. It’s the time to make mistakes, to find ourselves, to travel, to fall, to rise, to learn.

They are all beautiful explanations, and I’d stand by any of them. But, my personal favorite is less of a rationalization and more of an acceptance: Embrace the uncomfortable.

When I find myself lost in the whirlpool of chaos and confusion, after I’ve used every piece of advice I can possibly muster, I remember this: Embrace the uncomfortable.

There are no definitive solutions to our relationships, no shortcuts to one day feeling that sense of self-clarity.

There’s just this road, and despite it currently being windy, we’re on it.  Maybe it’s the bumpiest curve, but it’s also the most exhilarating. It's the one we’ll always look back on and say, “What the hell was I doing?”

Hopefully, the fear, ambiguity and doubt will subside, but the resiliency gained will stay with us for life.

Clearly, this is not a how-to. This is more of a, “I know it sucks. I’m with you. I get it,” idea.

But we will bounce back and we will push through. And for argument's sake, throw some gratitude in those mind-boggling thoughts of yours, and decompress the pessimism every now and then.

Ultimately, we’re all just lucky to be here. So, feel all the feelings and embrace the uncomfortable.

Figure out what makes you happy versus what makes you pour that fourth glass of pinot. Unless they’re the same thing, I can dig that.

No matter what, have faith in your 30-something girlfriends who tell you yes, it is necessary.

Know that you’re not alone, and don’t be so hard on yourself. Embrace the uncomfortable questions, and find beauty in the search for their answers.