In the last two weeks, six of my friends have gone through break ups and five have gotten engaged. I’m inclined to blame the government for this, since it’s kind of the way we’re operating these days, but I’m having a hard time drawing a direct correlation between the increase in America’s problems and the fact that all of these relationships have taken a make or break turn.
However, I can say that as I’ve been either consoling or jumping for joy with my friends, they all have had one thing in common: the twenties are hard.
Sure, they’re amazing in the fact that we have very little responsibility, can sort of get away with acting like we are in college, but also get to do grown up things, get to meet tons of new people, make new friends and try new cities...
In fact, in a lot of ways they are better than college.
But there is one thing that makes them hard, that we’ve never had to deal with before: there’s so much pressure.
Pressure to be at a certain place: have this job, have this promotion, have this relationship, maintain these friendships, make new friendships, have an apartment, buy a house…
And the thing that makes it so tricky is that we all are in such different places. Some people live at home; some people are buying a home. Some people are talking babies; some people are recently single. Some people are trying to get their first job; some people are celebrating their second promotion…
There is almost no way to calibrate where we should be, yet there is pressure to do it all really quickly. Like yesterday.
For a while I thought it was just me feeling this way. And then, something happened. Something broke. Someone said it first, and the next thing I knew, everyone was talking about it. Everywhere I turned, someone was confessing to me that they felt pressured to do this or that, and achieve one thing or another.
And while I have undoubtedly had my freak out moments in the last few months, I'm trying to reflect on how many things have worked out so much better than I had planned. Sure, there are some things I thought would have played out differently (see: intense job search), but for every interview that I thought was the perfect job, or went so well and I was sure I'd get it, I'm that much more grateful that I did not, in fact, get it. Because I couldn't have imagined loving any job as much as I love mine.
And I think the most important thing we can do is just relax and realize things really do work themselves out. Things happen for a reason. Sure, we can't be complacent and sit back and watch our lives happen. But, it's also so important to just enjoy this season. We are never going to have the opportunity to meet all of these new people, make silly mistakes, relapse and have college weekends, and then say things like "I'm kind of over this" the very next weekend.
It's the only time in life where it's completely appropriate to need to figure some things out and learn from our mistakes. As long as we are growing, we are living. And living life is exactly what the twenties are for. I'm only four years into it, but I'm pretty darn sure of it.