Lesson #33: You Will be Twenty Forever.
The success of websites such as Thought Catalog and Upworthy appeal to us ‘lost’ twenty somethings because they give us false hope that there are answers to all of life’s uncertainties. They tell us what we should do with these ten years before we turn thirty, as if thirty is some magical number when it all changes, as if by thirty we have to have it figured out, as if these ten years are our golden years to make mistakes and get answers. They tell us that this is our time to flail a bit while also implying that we should not get too comfortable with this luxury of ‘discovering ourselves’ because sooner or later it will be time to create definitions and stick with them.
We are all unsure, we are all taking steps that we hope will pan out and prove to be worth it, we are all struggling with the definition of home and family, we are all fumbling our way through beautiful and heartbreaking relationships or messy and confusing hook-ups, we are all looking for a place to call our own and going about that process with only our own shaky thoughts as our compass. We are all searching for meaning.
It’s not about being twenty, it’s about being a human being, and the sooner we realize this the sooner we will all start to relax. For I have news (and trust me I am talking to myself here too)… There is no sign that your relationship is perfect, if it feels right it probably is. There is no magical career that is perfect for your personality type, if you enjoy doing what you are doing, more so than not, than it might be a good fit. There are no ten regrets that we should all avoid at all costs, if you regret something ask yourself why and then move on. There is no one city in this entire world that is your soul city, sure there might be a place that feels like home for now, good enjoy it. There are no ten traits to look for in a significant other that demonstrate that they are worth dating, you might fall in love with a lazy dentist from Florida and that’s a beautiful thing. There is no one breakfast that we should all be eating in the morning, there is no one workout that will give us all impeccable abs, there is no one bed time ritual that will ensure the success of tomorrow.
The world is not built on answers, it is built on questions. And this doesn’t end in your twenties, it is not the reality of only our decade, it is the reality of being human. “He who defines himself cannot know who he really is.” Realize this and then continue to flounder. Appreciate that this lesson is ironic, that by stating there are no answers I am in fact implying that I have stumbled on some sort of answer. Enjoy this sentiment for a moment and then ignore it. Stop reading things that people write online and start living the way that makes sense to you.