Your early 20s are a period of growth in which you experience a vast array of ups and downs. To be blunt, this period can be flat-out difficult. From embracing adulthood to starting a career, the numerous stages of life that seem to happen all at once can be overwhelming and confusing.
From what I've experienced, seen and heard firsthand, most Millennials have all felt this way at one point or another. In the time leading up to my 25th birthday this past year, I thought I would have a breakdown. Dreading age and growing up is a common occurrence, especially for us '90s babies, who have been pegged a nostalgic generation.
What I didn't expect was for life to finally start making sense. But that is exactly what I got.
I had so much anxiety about my personal life, career and relationships. Unexpectedly, everything started to fall into place. I got the answers to all the questions that had kept me up at night.
I'm not exactly sure of every detail I want in my life, but the doubt and anxiety I felt simply floated away. Here are five things that improve when you reach your mid-20s and start to figure life out a little bit:
1. Your general anxiety of aging decreases.
I could not wait to turn 21, and wished every day prior away like it was nothing. When you're younger, you feel like you'll be open to so many more opportunities in life when you reach this overrated age.
But after you are able to legally drink, you'll want time to slow down because life starts to speed up. If you blink, you'll miss it.
It is so confusing to want life to speed up one day and slow down the next. When you finally reach your mid-20s, you may still be dreading the unspeakable 30s. But you stop caring so much about the "when," and start focusing more on the "what" and "who." There is a negative sentiment about aging in our generation that can prevent us from getting excited about what's to come.
Why shouldn't we be excited to have our financial, personal and work lives in order? That is what aging has to offer if you play your cards right.
As you age, you'll realize that everything doesn't need to be perfect. Life is full of so many surprises that will occur in directions that you did not think would even be possibilities, and that is the beauty of it.
2. Decisions don't feel like the end of the world.
As I navigated through my early 20s, I had this nagging anxiety that every decision I made would determine the rest of my life.This fear followed me from the decision of what my major would be to what city I would choose to move to post graduation.
The decisions that follow will only become more complex. They will make you want to run back home and hide in your childhood bed. Once you're past that stage of your life and have paved a path for yourself, the rest of your decisions will tend to happen naturally. Life tends to make a little more sense each day on its own.
3. People start to finally see you as an adult.
Even though you were an adult at 18, family and society doesn't really start acknowledging it until you have your life together (or are at least able to make it seem like you do).
This is a good and bad thing. If you're not quite ready for the whole settling down and starting a family thing, you also tend to get bothered quite a bit about when you plan to do so. On the bright side, you no longer have to sit at the kids' table, and conversations usually broaden to more interesting topics than what you're studying in school.
4. You stop looking, and you let things happen naturally.
The many of us who did not find the right person in high school or college tend to feel like we missed the boat. We fear we might actually end up single and alone forever.
We don't know when or how we'll find that one person who we'll spend the rest of our lives with. But after you face the years in which you grow up the most, you start to realize everything does not need to happen instantly.
You stop looking for things and just live in the moment. You expect less but hope for more. You'll also realize that not all relationships are meant to last, and that it's OK to let people go in order to make room for new relationships.
Life happens in stages, and not every person is meant to be in every stage of your life. The one you least expect may be there for all. It will happen just as it is supposed to.
5. What you want out of life slowly starts to become clear.
Growing up, you have an idea of what you want or don't want. Slowly, life starts to come together, and these milestones you've pictured for so long start to happen.
It's odd at first because for so long, you'd envisioned them one way. But they most likely happen in the opposite way. That's part of growing up. Growing up is realizing and accepting that not everything will turn out exactly how you want.
Jobs are no longer just jobs. They're part of a career that you're creating, and you begin to picture what path you want yours to take. Relationships become more mature, and you have a future to look forward to.
Your feelings with regard to relationships tend to be deeper and more meaningful. As you get older, your wall will slowly come down. You'll begin to let people into your life and your heart.