An Ode to 20-somethings

We are young and resilient! NOW is the time to travel the world, to make a change, to learn about different cultures and prepare. – Bianca Paige Smith 

It’s a funny thing… being a 20-something. Extended adolescence they say… I think NOT. 30 is the new 20… couldn’t be more wrong. What do “they” know anyway? I swear people forget what it’s like after a few years. Find me any 40/50/60 year old who can genuinely relate to a 20-something by putting themselves back in that place or even better, by imagining what that particular young adult must be going through.

Young adult… a phrase reserved for teens in the later teenage years. WRONG. So wrong. Young adults are 20-somethings. This decade is arguably the most crucial decade of life. And because people pass judgement and call us extended adolescents or say we are overgrown kids, some of the more malleable people of our generation have grown fond of this concept and have decided to throw these years away. AHHHHHH.

The truth is, being a 20-something is freaking hard. It is such an awkward time in this world (the 1st world that is) where we have been fortunate enough to have billions of opportunities and options. Well I’ve got news for everybody… OPTIONS ARE THE ROOT OF ALL EVIL. Too many options? No decisions. “I’ll put it off till I’m 30, after all, 30 is the new 20!”

I had a dog and his name was… WRONG-O. Wrong. That is so wrong.

People need to stop treating 20-somethings like children. **Cue the Peanut Gallery’s public opinion: “Well then you should stop acting like kids and start acting like adults.”

WELLLL… What makes an adult hmm? Do tell because apparently feeling like you are an adult with control over your own matters, a sense of self that is stronger than it’s ever been and set of ambitions/goals to achieve DOESN’T COUNT.

Not unless you are living on your own, paying your own rent and working full time to pay that rent. Sorry… I don’t buy it.

This is the first time in the history of the work world where a 20-something is a MORE VALUABLE candidate for a job than his/her elders. Why is that? Because we are highly educated, very tech savvy, and we have opinions about the world and an ever-optimistic view of how we can improve it.

If you are in your 30s or older, please ask yourself… did you feel that way when you were a 20-something? Or did you just move out because you were told that was the right thing to do… get a job because you needed to pay the bills and put up with the same humdrum just so that you can stand up to your parents and call yourself an “adult”?

Now listen… I know that this doesn’t count for everybody in the world, nothing anybody can write ever will. This is a complete outcry for the stereotypes to change. For opinions of us young adults to be shifted in order to align more with what most of us think of ourselves.

In my experience, the hard times that people in family generations before me had wouldn’t happen now because those very people (the older generations) WOULDN’T LET IT HAPPEN. I am fortunate. Absolutely blessed, to have such a great support network of family who would never let me fall on my face because they would be there to catch me. People have fallen on their face before, been flat broke, had to move out and get a job to pay the bills, because there were no other options!

So we are fortunate, most of us 20-somethings, to have the support networks that we do, with the hardworking families behind us who have all had their struggles. But those struggles don’t exist for most of us. They wouldn’t be struggles that we go through in our 20s because we have different struggles. They might seem trivial to you but this is our reality and it is not trivial to us. Most of us have our sights set on making a change in the world. The hardships will come and the challenges will be faced, for me there have already been quite a few, but sometimes you cannot measure them physically (like being poor/broke).

Navigating this world over the past 4 years of my 20s has been quite the interesting time, I’ve learned so much and I think it’s about time I share because people ought to share these things! So here it goes, what I’ve learned that being a 20-something is like in 2015. (There are 10 so get ready, the 10 Commandments of 20-somethings.)

  • We are SO young. I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately but basically it goes like this… when you are 17/18 you think you’ve conquered it all, the world is yours because you’ve earned it by reaching the ripe old age of 17 and getting your license. You are in college or practically there at least and you know it all. WRONG. Now, at the age of 24, I feel younger than ever! I am realizing how much time I have left to navigate this life and it is so exciting! I have been humbled by age and have realized how much I have yet to learn.
  • We want what everyone else wants, but just not yet. Yesssss we knooooowwww you are supposed to get a good job for the benefits and pensions, and we knowwww you are supposed to get married and have kids to enjoy the real joys of unconditional love and hard work and we KNOWWWW that you think we should do it now while we are young and resilient. But what we see is this…
    • We are young and resilient! NOW is the time to travel the world, to make a change, to learn about different cultures and prepare. Now is the time to gather the experience to prepare ourselves to do those things up there ^. 
  • We love hard and we fail harder. That is what everyone says to do RIGHT? Fail hard and fail fast… this is how you succeed. Well GUESS WHAT? It takes time to do that! So if we appear to be sitting on our bums because everything we try just doesn’t work… it is becauseeee we are working it out!
    • I don’t know a single person around my age who only loves to do one thing and who has only loved one person consistently since they started their 20s. The times of marrying at 18 and doing the same job for the rest of your life are OVER. And going to college doesn’t mean that we just go and do the exact thing we studied for when we graduate at 21 or 22. It means we study stuff that we love and prepare ourselves to dive into whatever is next for us whether it is the thing we studied or something entirely different.
  • We value taking the time to be “selfish”. Back to how we feel about the world… wanting to make a change. Well because of that, there is pressure to be a good person before you can do good. So excuse us if we “feel the need to jet off for a year” to travel, live somewhere else, work a few different jobs, pursue a passion because we want to gain some perspective before we go ahead and jump into the work force. It means a lot more now a days to be an active part of a community and most of us realize that and want to live up to that. Most of us also have no dependents so why not!?
  • We still need our parents. I respect my parents so much, they have taught me so many lessons in my short life and they  are largely responsible for molding me into the person who I am today. But they can only do so much and the rest has been done by me. So yes, we still need you, moms and dads, because we love you and respect you and value your opinions. But please don’t make us feel that we are still kids because we need you and we show it. Whether I’m 24 or 64, I will always value and look for my parents opinions and support. Always. But it doesn’t make me a child. I am still their kid but I am not A kid.
  • We know what people think of us. We have heard what some people think. That we are overgrown children, that we can’t support ourselves and that college is just an excuse to party for an extra 4 years before entering the “real world”. Well all I can say is, stereotypes are given that name for a reason: because they try to categorize a group under a particular mold. ENOUGH of that is what we say. Some of us may fit into some of those names but most of us don’t. We take things seriously and have plans to move forward and make waves in the world. End of.
  • We have no time for “haters”. We are busy trying to figure things out! No time for “you just graduated, why don’t you go and get a good job and settle down?” Zero time for that.
  • We feel overwhelmed, but we are ready. There is SO much to be done! We are so lucky (a majority of us) to be well-educated and have a great structure in our lives with endless opportunities. But the real thing is … where to start? What do I actually want to do?! I’ve been told I can do anything and I now see just how many “anythings” there are in the world. The good news is, throughout these crazy years of the 20s, we get to a point where we feel ready to meet the world and take on the opportunities or challenges that we might not have been sure of when we were a bit younger.
  • We have hearts full of love and minds full of inspiration. I feel so fortunate, and proud even… to talk to my friends and see them doing big things for themselves and caring about other people around them. We all want to inspire and be inspired. There are lots of great ideas coming from the minds of 20-somethings, it just takes a bit of time for us to figure out where we are going with it and how we will get there.
  • We will be the ones who change the face of this planet for the better. Need I say more?

We are not to be underestimated, us 20-somethings. For all of you 20-somethings out there who are looking to be explained to your parents and families without having to try to explain things yourselves… send them this. Let them be inspired by what we’ve got going on and let them see that there is room to grow.

**Please note that everything I’m saying is my personal opinion and is not fact in anyway. I also do not mean to offend anyone or stereotype anyone as these are just my opinions and observations based on my own experience.

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2 Comments

  1. Very interesting! I lost my mother at 18 nearly lost my daddy at 23. I completely agree with you that 20 somethings need their parents. However, without my mother, I grew up in ways I never could have with her and learned responsibility in a capacity that would have eluded. Sometimes, falling on your face is what you need, even if you are in your twenties. Your post was very well written and hits the nail on the head for most. I was just an outlier with an old “settle down soul”. Thanks for sharing!

    • Hi, thanks for stopping by! I’m sorry to hear about the loss of your mother, I don’t doubt that it is a very hard thing to deal with. I completely agree! Falling on your face is definitely a good thing sometimes. It has happened to me before and I found myself writing that post semi wishing that I would find myself there again so that it would force me to look at things differently and gain a new perspective. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and for the compliments =)

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