When I was younger I used to think that being life in your 20’s was #goals. Life would be great. I’d have money, a great job, a killer social life, probably be married (at least engaged), and living in a dope apartment or house. While some of those things are true, others definitely are not. Being in your 20’s is hard, but no one ever tells you just how hard when you’re a teenager dreaming about finally being an adult and living on your own. No one ever tells you about all the bills you’ll have or health insurance options you have to pick from. Or the uncertainty you have to face about your future, layoffs at work, and relationships that end. I think the beauty of being a teenager is the naivety. You’re shielded from all the adulting you’ll inevitably have to do. And, let me tell you, adulting is HARD. I’m well into mine and still trying to figure it out.
There’s a lot of surprises when you finally reach your 20’s but here are 5 things no one probably ever told you.
You’ll struggle with money.
With not having it, having it but not knowing how to manage it, and with figuring out how to pay your bills and expenses and still have some left over to live your life. There are investment options, banks to choose from, credit card companies offering you what you think is a great deal, and finance terms you won’t understand unless you actually majored in finance in college. Money can play a big role in our lives, and even though we start to learn this from a young age, in our 20’s it becomes crucial to understand how to get it and how to manage it once we do.
Your degree doesn’t really matter.
Sure, it’s great to go to college and learn something so you have a degree to fall back on. But, it’s not really important what you get that degree in. Unless you’re going to be a doctor or specialize in something specific, you can pretty much learn any skill you’ll need in the real world. It’s become more of a ‘who do you know’ kind of world instead of a ‘what are your skills’ kind of world. Both are important, but at the end of the day, a degree isn’t everything.
Not everyone will support your choices, and that’s okay.
Maybe you want to quit your job and travel the world. Maybe you’re going to abandon your college degree and become a professional dog walker or yoga instructor. Your 20’s are the time where you should figure everything out. What you like, what you don’t, what makes you happy, and what your passions really are. What we thought we might have wanted when we were 17 may be irrelevant now. It’s the decade when you can make mistakes and hopefully learn from them without doing too much damage. And during this time, not everyone will support every choice you make. What’s important is that you’re confident in what you’re doing and trying your best at it. If you fail, you fail. Luckily you still have time to pull it all together.
The plan you thought you had for your life will change.
Maybe you wanted to be a doctor ever since you were 5 years old and now you’re done with med school and ready for the next step. That’s great – but recognize that you’re a minority. It’s really hard to figure out what you want to do at 18. I was still sneaking alcohol from my parents cabinet when I was 18 and re-filling vodka bottles with water (spoiler alert: water freezes, vodka doesn’t) so I for sure was not qualified to make the choice on where to go to school and what to study. But that’s what a lot of us do. We make those choices and hope it sticks. More often than not, you’ll end up taking a path you never expected.
Your relationships will change.
I don’t mean you’ll break up with your long term boyfriend or girlfriend or that you’ll drift apart from a few people from childhood. Though both scenarios are possible and likely, what I mean here is that the relationships you have with everyone around you will change. You’ll start to value different traits in people. Maybe before you just cared about who was fun to go out with, but in your twenties, you’ll find that people who are there for you, support you, and honest with you are much more valuable. Your relationship with your family will also change. You’ll enjoy spending time with your parents, aunts, uncles, grandparents, etc. You’ll begin to realize we won’t all be here forever and it’s important to spend time with the people you love and care about.
As my girl Carrie Bradshaw once said, “enjoy yourself; that’s what your 20s are for. Your 30s are to learn the lessons. Your 40s are to pay for the drinks.”