Everybody has their story to tell about their early 20s. It could be a story about how you partied till the break of dawn, it could be a story of how your friends drifted apart when everybody started getting jobs, it could be about how you’re still an undergraduate struggling to get that diploma, and it could even be about the heartbreak from your first serious relationship.
Adulthood, especially when you’re fresh out of your teenage life, is like riding a rollercoaster while blindfolded: you go up, you go down, you’re laughing and screaming at the same time, and yet because you can’t see where you’re going, you never really know whether you’re going to laugh or scream, and you don’t know when it’s going to happen either.
Before we dive into the pressures of adulthood, let me remind you: that pressure you’re feeling is normal. Despite that gut feeling you have that everybody around you, except you, knows what they’re doing, I can guarantee you that they feel the same way.
“Am I going to be happy in my chosen career path?” “What if I’m not good enough to make it in my career?” “What if I never get a job?” “What if I stay single forever?” “What if I end up marrying somebody I don’t really love?” “What if I don’t get to provide for my family one day?”
Let me say it again: We are all on our own boats; some riding rougher waters than others, but on a boat in an ocean with unpredictable waves, nevertheless.
Considering the state of the economy due to this pandemic, the road not only to our futures, but also our mental health, isn’t quite as assuring as it used to be – so no, this isn’t the part where I tell you to stay positive, but this is the part where I tell you to get out of bed, and do something about your worries. Unsure of your chosen career path? Write down the pros and the cons of choosing to stick with it; dealing with the heartbreak from your first adult relationship? Allow yourself to grieve (and I mean really grieve, without the denial that you’re not yet over them), then take the time to genuinely reflect and assess how you can use the pain to your advantage, and what you can do to grow as a person; worried you’re not good enough for your chosen career? Use the resources you have and take an online class to improve your skills.
We may not always realize it (I certainly often forget it), but opportunities don’t always come around out of the blue; we have to create our own opportunities, and grab them by the neck when they’re finally right in front of us. We’re adults now. We need not only to open doors, but build those doors ourselves, and open them once they’re finished being built; once you’re in, build another door, open it, and so on and so forth.
So let’s have a short recap: (1) What you’re feeling is completely normal, (2) put that PS5 controller down and start taking the necessary steps to ensure the worries you have for your future won’t happen, and (3) create your own opportunities.
No matter the context of any given situation, I have never in my life promised anybody that it’s going to be okay, but I’ve always assured them that I’d be there; same goes for everybody with their chosen friends. Adulthood isn’t the time to burn bridges; keep your real friends close to you, because it won’t only (possibly) benefit us in our careers, but it will also (and definitely) benefit our mental health as we ride out this rollercoaster called adulthood.