When I was younger, I was in a rush to grow up. When I was in elementary school, I wanted to be in middle school. When I was in middle school, I wanted to be in high school. When I was in high school, I wanted to be in college. After a day in college, I wanted to be a 20-something with an awesome job, out in the real world.
Now that I am an unemployed 23-year-old, I wish I could go back. I wish I could have enjoyed being young more than I did. I think back about how hard I thought high school was and how once I got to college, none of it seemed difficult in the least. Sometimes, I have days when I’d do anything to be back in school to get out of this real world, because it can be brutal. But sometimes, I wish I could fast forward to be the established 30-year-old that I plan and hope to become.
Truthfully, we can’t run from the real world. We’re bound to hit it at some point, and no matter how hard we try to delay it, it’s unavoidable.
Taylor Swift had it right that age 22 is “miserable and magical.” I’m here to confirm that 23 is yet another year of misery, but it can offer a bit of magic — if you’re open to it.
I was so busy with my desires to grow up that I missed out on the now — the magic. When I look back, I don’t remember much because I was always looking ahead. We can’t always be in a rush. We have to enjoy the now.
My life is nowhere where I thought it'd be by now, but I'm not complaining (anymore). Currently, I’m living in Australia, where I go to the beach every day before I go to work in a pizza shop. While sometimes I think I’m wasting my time (and money) being here, I’m enjoying being a lost and confused 23-year-old. It hit me while I was on the beach that this is an experience I need to enjoy. It’s teaching me that being a 20-something can actually be great.
It’s a time to be selfish, a time when it’s possible to travel and not have to worry about the risks ahead in the years to come. It’s a time to make memories, a time to make mistakes and learn from them. It’s a time to discover ourselves, what we want to do and learn to be okay with not knowing. We get so caught up in the notion that we have to know who and what we want to be — but we don’t need to know either.
Being a 20-something is like growing up all over again. Since I was so busy rushing it the first half of my life, I definitely want to stop the bad habit. It’s time to start enjoying being a 20-something, rather than stressing out about it.