“Clearly confused.” “Definitely maybe.” “Orderly chaos.” “Uncomfortably comfortable.” “Big baby.”
Puzzled? Well, that’s what being in your twenties feels like!
Some of you may have your lives figured out and your futures well planned. But many of us mere mortals may be (okay let’s face it, are) going through a ‘quarter/ near quarter life crisis’ right about now. Let me reassure you that it is okay to be in the latter category. As someone wise once said, “Nothing will ruin your 20s more than thinking that you should have your life together already.”
Being in your early twenties is hard. It is when you enter the ‘real world’, as they put it. You’ve just completed your undergraduate degree, you start seeing less and less of your friends from college, you’re frantically hunting for jobs that pay (key phrase: that pay), your peers may seem to be doing better than you, your daily routine gets a rude awakening, you’re struggling with the concept of ‘adulting’, and most annoying of all, nosy relatives begin with their endless tirade of “और बेटा, आगे का क्या सोचा है? (So child, what have you planned for the future?)” kind of questions.
Essentially what you go through is a trial and error phase where you struggle to find a balance between your personal, professional (or lack thereof) and social life. It’s a bumpy ride where the goal is to not fall off the wagon but to continue the journey!
Here are some of my thoughts on three things that mainly occupy the minds of all twentysomething-year-olds during these tumultuous years: career prospects, meeting family’s expectations and keeping tabs on our peers from school and college.
Talking about career first, I firmly believe in the saying ‘Work to live, don’t live to work’! It is of paramount importance to assess what drives you and gets you excited about the future. Unless you’re absolutely sure of what you want to pursue professionally, don’t get fixated on one thing for too long, else you will end up ignoring other equally interesting opportunities the world has to offer. If you are clueless about what you want to do with your life, don’t be embarrassed or ashamed of it. You can do some volunteer work, learn a new language, do an internship, enroll for a short training course, anything that floats your boat until you find your calling.
The idea is to keep going on. It is better to have a string of crappy internships/jobs in your 20s than having the same in your 30s. Another point which I feel that needs to be addressed is ‘changing of fields’. For example, if you took commerce as a subject in under-graduation, don’t feel obligated to take the traditional route and continue in the same field. You could be a blogger, fashion stylist, photographer, lawyer, entrepreneur, writer, actor, graphic designer… basically anything! The possibilities are endless if you are willing to work towards it.
Moving onto the topic of meeting your family’s expectations, it is most likely your parents who have invested countless hours and a considerable amount of money in giving you the best possible education and by extension, as comfortable a life as possible. So it is only natural that they would want a return on that investment (well, evidently I am a commerce graduate), which means nothing else but for you to be financially independent and happy. If you are lucky, they will be supportive of the means you choose to achieve that and if not, then they will convey their disapproval. It is always a good idea to hear your parents out in such situations, but nothing should stop you from following your heart because in the end when they see you succeed in your chosen field, that disapproval will disappear and make way for commendation, encouragement, and a sense of pride.
Lastly, the ‘Sharma ji ka perfect bacha’ does not exist, so please don’t aspire to be one. My point is that avoid comparing yourself to others in your age group, it is a fruitless activity. Nobody has it all together, no matter how perfect and sorted their lives may seem. Besides, everyone has distinctive capabilities, interests, hopes and aspirations for their future. By clubbing yourself in the same category as others you are not only being unrealistic but also unfair to yourself. Be patient and continue working towards finding your passion. After that, everything will ineluctably fall into place.
As cliché as it may sound, now is the time when we are old enough to make the right decisions but also young enough to make the wrong ones. Stop second-guessing yourself, take a chance, be open to new experiences, don’t get tied down to anything and just trust your instincts, because nobody knows you better than you do!
“The hardest step she ever took was to trust who she was”– Atticus.