Remember how as a child your first real dream was to just be 18? Then your next dream was to be somewhere in your 20’s. It never really mattered the exact age but you just knew that once your hit your 20’s it would be lit asf (as fuck…for the digital age illiterates *insert eye roll emoji.* We dreamt up all the things we would have done by now. If you wouldn’t be a super famous songstress or fashion icon, at the very least you’d already been in college or have graduated by now. A doctor? Tuh, you would be one by 21 duh cause that’s how life works, right?
In your 20’s you’d be able to drink, and party to no end. You’d be privileged with all of those adult friendly fun moments that adolescence simply couldn’t afford you with. Your 20’s? You mean the “age of paradise right?” cause that’s exactly what it would be…that’s exactly what you thought it should be. But here you are. You have arrived. If you’ve been granted another birthday and landed somewhere in these 20’s you are blessed. Not too many people make it to this age or any age but out of trillions you are here.
“Your 20’s? You mean the ‘age of paradise right?’ “
So as of late I’ve had endless conversations with some of my besties, homegirls, and such about how we are feeling at this age. For myself, I am 23 years old so of course most of my friends range from about 21 and up. A recurring theme I’ve found in our conversations is one of anxious filled-depressive-fearful-sad-unfulfilled thoughts, feelings and actions. We’re either ruminating about it all on our lonesome assuming that no one else will understand or can relate. Then on the other hand we begin to get so consumed by these feelings of hopelessness. Those same thoughts and feelings soon manifest into actions which are often self destructive or harmful to others.
A lot of us are just starting out in these new careers, grad school, new jobs in general, new environments, and just new everything. High school may have given us some consistency and college too. We had a routine down pact with nothing to really affect it (unless of course like myself you had to keep moving from place to place during your teenage years & essentially was homeless in college so every summer you bounced from place to place….that’s a long story though).
Regardless, I had a routine and it kept me grounded and sane. For the most part I had some type of status in school. My teenage years were filled with accolades from peers, family and teachers alike. These accolades continued in college as well. For some of us, this may have never been the case but just having a schedule that worked or the freedom of adolescence gave us a certain type of peace.
Now we hit this “golden age” of I am now of age to drink and once I hit 25 I can also rent a card, fuck yes! Then once I get to my late 20s I should definitely be married. But most of all I should be happy? After all, I’m an adult now. Right? Right? Isn’t that how it works? Wait…it doesn’t work like that…does it?
NOPE! Newsflash, growing pains is still a thing and welp we are all grown up now.
There are so many expectations and assumptions for these damn 20-somethings that we over analyze every part of ourselves to see what is wrong with us. Why haven’t we gotten to the next level or step of success in academics, love, spirituality or personal development? Why are you still living at your mama’s house and you’re 26? Why hasn’t s/he proposed yet? There’s gotta be something wrong with you.
Why are you still single and you are damn near 30? Hell why aren’t you dating and you’re 23? There’s got to be an issue with your approach, your style or a major flaw in your personality. Maybe your chakras ain’t right sis and you’ve got to work on readjusting them. It’s got to be something wrong with you!
But in reality, it is not you. It is all of us. All of us 90’s babies, and yes even some of you 80’s babies (88-89). We all have this constant sinking feeling that we “aren’t doing enough,” or that perhaps “we’ve failed ourselves,” or even our family. You haven’t got that big white picket fence with an American standard family and a dog named Spot (yet). You’re watching everyone on your timeline get engaged, married or at the very least enter into a very serious relationship. You’re watching people at your age even buy houses or go back to school. You said you’d go back to school by 24 but you haven’t even applied (shade at myself). Anyways, once again this is not just you. It is US. All of us are here stuck in these 20-somethings trying to figure it all out. Also, just because you see people “seemingly” having their lives together does NOT mean that is a fact.
Some of us are just having kids and I know for those of you have children that transition into parenthood is quite difficult. I may not understand that struggle fully but I see it for my siblings and friends. Granted, years ago many of our parents had several kids by their 20s, our generation is slightly different. A lot of us are having children much later. Regardless, this whole idea that you should already be married, barefoot and pregnant by a certain 20-something years old is hella scary. I may not fully relate to the struggle of men but I’m sure for some of you your parents are starting to ask when you’re going to pop the big question to that special person in your life. Your mom wants grandkids damn it! Give the woman what she wants. Your dad is ready to give you endless words of advice on the road to marriage.
Everyone is waiting for YOU to get YOUR shit together. What are you waiting for?
Truth is, no matter how much you may feel that others are waiting on you to accomplish all of these things, many people actually aren’t. In fact, most of these thoughts of failure are simply misconstrued ideas we’ve been conditioned to believe must happen by or before certain age. All that is bullshit. Just like many of the shows and movies we’ve seen growing up that largely hammered in the idea of “romantic,” love being the ultimate goal. As if any other type of love is irrelevant or silly to work on.
Just because you haven’t found your “disney inspired prince charming or princess beauty,” (those terms are largely problematic btw but that was on purpose) doesn’t mean you haven’t accomplished much already. Also, there are other types of love! We need to show the beauty of all types of love, whether it be familial, platonic/friendship, or most importantly self-love.
This is going to sound bizarre to some people but to be quite honest for some of us just being here and making it each day alive is an accomplishment. Some of us battle with depression on the daily and it takes everything in us to keep going. Some of us are constantly targeted as threats to society based off of how freely we live our lives or simply for being born with a certain amount of melanin in our skin.
“All of us are here stuck in these 20-somethings trying to figure it all out.”
It is fucking hard out here and I came here to remind you that “you are enough,” even in all your 20-something anxious filled-depressive-fearful-sad-unfulfilled thoughts, feelings and actions. You are quite literally not alone whatsoever in this fight. This battle is not yours to fight alone. Of course we have to face our own skeletons and issues alone at a point BUT don’t hold it all in until you feel ready to break.
There are many people like myself, your friends, and others you can find in an online community who are battling the same issues. We’re here ready to embrace you with open arms about the issues you’re going through. Life can be pretty hard and I know for a fact that generations before us struggled a whole lot. In fact, some may even argue that they went through more than we did. Plus, they didn’t have access to “life guides” like some of us may seem to have through blogs, vlogs and think pieces galore. But regardless of all this access to information being alive can be quite difficult to begin with. A guide won’t do much to change anything if you don’t even have the will to live or try.
But I want you to remember that we don’t have to be stuck anywhere. Not a dead end job. Not in a fucked up ass relationship. Not in a difficult ass grad school program. Not around people who don’t have our best interest at heart. We are not obligated to struggle or suffer in our 20s. We are obligated to make the best out of it. We are obligated to stop with thinking about “where we should be,” and we must learn to embrace where we are right now.
Meet yourself halfway. Give yourself some credit (you should be building credit though if you haven’t already lol….no but for real though it’s helpful for a whole lot). Anyways, we might feel stuck right now but one day we are going to look back and be like “damn my 20s were poppin’, why was I complaining again?” or if you’re like me you’ll say “man that shit sucked I would never go back to it.” (just jokes)
“But I want you to remember that we don’t have to be stuck anywhere. Not a dead end job. Not in a fucked up ass relationship. Not in a difficult ass grad school program. Not around people who don’t have our best interest at heart.”
Listen! You may feel stuck right now but there are ways to get unstuck. For starters “GET OUT YO DAMN HEAD,” cause we magnify our issues by constantly putting them at the forefront of our minds. This is not to say that you must ignore your problems but it is to say that you cannot continue to dwell on them. Give yourself a break. Drink some water. Go outside. Twerk a little, hell do something -constructive or self-care worthy- that will help you get through it but please do not ruminate over it for too long.
“We are not obligated to struggle or suffer in our 20s. We are obligated to make the best out of it.”
You deserve to be filled with joy even in some of those sucky moments. Yes this sounds like a contradiction but if that’s the case, I’m a walking one and that’s cool with me.
OKAY! So this post got way longer than I thought it would be at first. But before you go, here’s a few things I want to leave with you. If you didn’t get shit else from my rambling, remember these top three things:
Stop ruminating about your problems all day every day and for the love of the WorldWideWeb…STOP googling those damn articles about why this or that ain’t working out (MAYBE IT’S NOT FOR YOU RIGHT NOW OR EVER…just relax basically)
You cannot find your life’s purpose or passion by constantly putting it on a measuring scale with others your age. STOP that shit like right now.
You are actually really fuckin’ dope and I need you to acknowledge that.
Now, I need you all to do me a huge favor. If you read this, skimmed through or hell just liked the concept of the title please, please, please share this! If it impacted you in anyway share it! Even if it just made you giggle or smile share it 🙂
Share it on all your social media or just one at the very least. Send it as a message to a friend who’s going through something rough. I want this message to reach at least 5 people, that’ll be enough for me but if it reaches more or less I’ll still be content.
P.S. This post was largely inspired by a few close friends and you all know who you are. I’ll tag you when I share this. Also, SZA’s song 20 Something was the creative force behind this idea as well. If you haven’t heard her album CTRL by now you are doing yourself a disservice. So go stream/buy it now.
Also, quick plugs for the show Insecure and Living Single which were used in some of my gifs above. Those are two awesome shows with a main black cast that are extremely essential for the 20 Something soul! You won’t regret indulging in them both 🙂
Serenity, Smiles & Positive Vibes,