I woke up one day and I was 24. It sounds so old and so young at the same time. According to the law, I’m in adult and I’ve graduated from pre-adulthood (aka college), so this is not a drill, it’s the real thing. I’ve always been under the delusion that I would have it all figured out by now. I would have a great job (leading to a great career), a beautiful apartment, an impressive credit score, and life would be amazing. I spent the last 24 years doing all the right things: good grades, extra curricular activities, college, internships etc. I was a bit of an overachiever. Well I graduated from college last May and finally got a solid dose of the real world. And to be fair, I can’t complain. I had a job upon graduation, it was a seasonal position but I turned that into a full-time position at a neighboring employer. I then was promoted in nine months. So what is my problem? Well I’m sitting on my parent’s couch, and for some reason living at home feels like a failure. I moved back home a year ago and I convinced myself it was temporary. It still is temporary, just not as temporary as I would’ve liked. If I did everything the right way then why can’t I pay rent? And I am not sure where my career is headed, or even where I want it to go. After two decades of instruction, I feel like I have no direction. Are you sick of me whining yet? I am.
It is so easy to fall into the trap of thinking that I am the only one who feels this way. Social media is a perfect catalyst for feeling like I am behind the curve. I mean look at everyone else, they have it together, why can’t I? But, when I actually talk to people, I realize that we are all in the same boat. I ran into a friend from high school this past weekend at a festival. He was one of those guys that everyone knew would be successful. And from the first glance it looked like he had it all, Bachelors and Masters degrees and a good job. But he was quick to point out that he wasn’t doing what he wanted to do, and he was having a tough time getting into what he wanted to do and still make enough money to stay afloat. Just this afternoon I had lunch with a friend that I used to work with. After searching for a job for a year, she’s going back to school to try a new career. She was overwhelmed about going back to school while holding down a part-time job. The truth is, none of us have it figured out. As frustrating as it is, there is not a manual on how to survive your 20’s. It will work out, it has to work out.
Until then, I try to remember that not having it all figured out yet is not failing. Adulting is hard, being your own biggest critic just makes it harder.