Stop freaking out about being in your 20s

There’s a very particular kind of contentment that I believe you cannot truly experience until you hit your 20s.

By Hui Xin

The first digit of my age changes this year. I’ll be hitting the big two.

Unsurprisingly, I found myself texting my friend the other day, “Is everyone in their 20’s just as confused as we are?”

When you’re younger, you think everything will work out just right, that if you wanted to become an astronaut, you’ll become an astronaut. If you wanted to become a princess, you’ll become a princess. Our parents laugh at us when they hear about our dreams, back then, we thought that we were funny. But what they didn’t tell you is that, that is not reality — that it is challenging, not to mention utterly confusing. That sometimes, it’s complete bullsh*t.

It’s more than likely you can relate. But I would like to switch our perspectives and say that our 20’s are actually one of the most invaluable periods of our lives.

People say that the choices you make in high school, college and your so-called “growing up years” will determine who you become.

Maybe our twenties are more pivotal than we would care to admit. It is the period dedicated to making life-altering choices that changes the trajectory of your life.

And that freaks us out.

When you graduate from college, you proudly walk across the stage and receive the most expensive piece of paper you’ve ever held in your trembling hands. You did it.

Then you immediately think: That’s it?

Yep, it sure is.

It’s highly anticlimactic.

You immediately realise that everything about your life at that point in time is unsteady, changing, wavering, and altogether uncertain.

Internally, questions and insecurities arise.

What the hell am I supposed to do now? Where do I go? Who am I?

The Internet has given birth to a hysteria surrounding adulthood. It’s essentially everywhere you look.

Kickstarting a career, finding a partner, obligation to act mature…

Yes. These are all factors and parts of being in your 20s.

And yet, despite all these, entering adulthood is going to be the best time of your life. Because here’s the thing about graduating from high school or University and entering the real world: Your life becomes your own. For better or for worse. Yes, you might have to work a crummy job. Yes, you might barely be able to make ends meet. Yes, you are going to have breakups and rejections and struggles that make you want to give up on love.

But at the end of the day, every struggle, every triumph, every fresh start belongs to you.

While some people will find that statement terrifying, others will find it absolutely liberating. And those are the people who will unquestionably love being in their 20s.

There’s a very particular kind of contentment that I believe you cannot truly experience until you hit your 20s. It is the pride of looking around an apartment that you bought with your own blood, sweat and tears. It is the satisfaction of landing the first job that aligns with your passions and knowing that you made it happen for yourself.

It is the joy of finally falling in love with the right one, getting married, and building a whole life together.

It is the comfort of knowing that life is going to throw you lemons but you’re going to make lemonade out of them. Because you’re going to turn into the kind of adult you want to become. And I’m not sure if there’s a single feeling out there that rivals that one.

You will think, “I’m about to live my dream, and I’m freaking out”.

But here’s the truth about all these – its not going to be easy. Not a single, glorious moment of it. You’re going to flail and struggle and fall and at times, no doubt it’s going to hurt a lot. But it’s also going to be phenomenal, and exciting, and liberating.

I don’t know where life finds you, but I hope it’s somewhere between a rock and a hard place, a crucial time in your existence in which you have a difficult decision to make. One that could transform and revise the course of your life, that could lead you to wholeness, happiness, and finding who you truly are.

Because after all, your 20’s are for living your dream.