This is going to sound super millennial… but being 20-something is so. fucking. difficult.
I know, “boohoo young profesionals”. But like, did I ask for all this existential struggle? No. I did not… and the deeper I go into my 20s’, the more I realize I am not totally into this level of stress.
Is being 20-something difficult for everyone? Is it an American thing? Or is just a general life thing across all cultures? Lately, after talking to many friends both in Colombia and the US, I’m starting to get the vibe thats it’s an issue across all cultures, however I think the American Millennial struggle with it the most due to a super flexible university system. I had a friend in college who changed their major 5 time (FIVE!!?) before graduating. Along with that ever common wishy-washiness, comes the struggle of technology and social media. Constant comparison via Facebook and LinkedIn leaves us with the “wtf am I doing with my life” feeling and, obviously, people are only going to post or highlight la buena vida not the shitty sandwich they ate for lunch or the fight they got into with their significant other (I call these kind of people overshare-ers; although now that I think about it… maybe they’re doing it right? Keeping social media real so we remember not to get consumed by comparison.)
Maybe some of you can relate, but these are some Millennial stream of thoughts I’ve been experiencing on a regular basis:
“Should I buy groceries or re-do my balayage?”
“When my dad was my age, he had 2 kids and a company. What am doooooing with my life?”
“Omg why did I graduate so fast? I should have done that extra semester.”
“Honestly, I don’t even know why I studied that–I’ve never even used Global Health Issues once!”
“Was there a class about how to manage student loan payments? I feel like I missed that lesson…”
“Student loan payments….sooooooo stressful.”
“Does everyone else feel as stressed out as I do?”
“Missed call: Visa. Again.”
“Hmmm why does so-and-so from high school look like they’ve been adulting for the like the last 5-years?”
“I need to remember to turn off LinkedIn notification… all these people’s work anniversaries are stressing me out.”
“I need to get my shit together this week. My life is a joke.”
“That person has a really legit job. I need to find a legit job.”
“Can we just go back to being 19 again?”
“Did I turn the oven off?”
“That person is having a baby? That makes 3 Facebook friends this week!”
“Fuckkkkk, I’m almost 26.”
Okay, yes, all those thoughts are ridiculous but I also realized recently they’re running through most of our heads and they’re not as outlandish as they sound… We’re a generation with a lot on our plates and more conflicting factors than ever. Between the rapid growth of technology and the growing gap in unemployment, I think millennials are taking this new world pretty damn well! Moreover, those thoughts are what help build and shape us during quite honestly, the most crucial part of our lives.
We’re allowed to be super confused right now, have meltdowns, and look like we’re spinning off our axis (in private). If we want to quit our typical office job and move half way around the world, WE CAN DO THAT. We’ll probably stress our parents out in the process, but dude, they lived through the 70s… This is our time to create, to think, to explore, and to straight up find what’s right (or not) for us!
Despite feeling like I am perpetually stressed out, comparing myself, and scared for my future, I realize I’m creating those dilemmas in my head (aka, they’re not real!). When we finally stop torturing ourselves with that and let things flow a little bit, opportunities start to construct themselves and things start working out. Oh, and you have to believe in yourself. I spent the better part of 2015-2016 not believing in myself and it’s a vicious cycle. When I finally opened my eyes and started pulling myself out of the trenches, I started to see things moving a little bit more. Every day is a process, but I remind myself that it’s a process that builds on itself.
All this being said, I am giving myself the challenge to move past all that and appreciate this mental chaos as a time to grow and do something really cool for myself. It’s easier said than done, but we’re the only ones in charge of our lives, right? So go on… embrace your Millennial-ness.
*If you’re into podcasts and want to check out some good PCs for millennials, check these out HERE. They help. I promise.