I’ve noticed lately as I scroll through my Facebook that a lot of my friends are constantly posting links to lists or articles about being in your 20′s and why these are the greatest years of your life, most of which are tailored towards girls. I myself have even posted links to them; I do so because I find them rather entertaining and some of the things I read are pretty true. They say your 20′s should be the best years of your life; and while part of me believes that, the other part of me thinks it’s a load of bullshit. Your 20′s are some of the hardest years of your life…but I think that’s part of what makes them the best years. You spend 10 years of your life in your 20′s and through these 10 years I think you go through some of the greatest transitions and learn some of the hardest lessons. You go through some of your worst heartbreaks and some of your greatest triumphs. Some of us meet our life partner while some of us go through more relationships than we can count. Some of us graduate college and some of us spend the time trying to figure out what we want to do for the rest of our lives. Your 20′s are the time you spend growing up; you spend your time learning all about who you are and defining who you want to be and I think these are some of the greatest battles a human faces.
I’m 2 weeks shy of 22, and while I’ve only spent 2 years in my 20′s I’ve already faced a lot of obstacles upfront and I’ve questioned who exactly it is that I want to be and where I want to end up. I’ve had my heart broken more than once and I’ve spent time piecing it back together. I haven’t graduated college yet, and up until last year I questioned what exactly it was that I even wanted to spend my life doing. I come from a home that spends most of it’s time in turmoil, and while I didn’t have much of a choice when I was younger as I’ve gotten older I’ve had to decide if I wanted to play into that turmoil or take myself out of it. Along with all of that I’ve been faced with what any person my age might be faced with. Do I drink? Do I have sex? Do I do drugs? Those decisions seems so trivial at the time you’re making them, but they still play into the person you are through your 20′s and the person you end up in your 30′s and your 40′s and the rest of your life. Your 20′s define the foundation that you build the rest of your life on.
Growing up is hard at any age, but I think that when you’re 20 you’re stuck in this in between of wanting to be an adult while still wanting to hold on to being a kid. You want freedom and responsibility, but you want to enjoy life and have fun at the same time. You have bills to pay and you want to move out and be on your own, but spending money on that new Coach purse or those concert tickets seems like a better idea at the time. You want to get good grades and graduate college, but that party or a night at the bar is so much more entertaining than studying your life away. You start to decide who it is you want to be but then you’re constantly faced with things that challenge you to stand your ground and be who you are. And while you’re going through all of these changes and life transitions and making these choices…so are all the people closest to you. During your 20′s the people you surround yourself with will change more than once as you learn more about yourself and cut people out who don’t fit your chosen path. Relationships get harder to uphold because you don’t see each other every day in between classes or during lunch, which means you have to put effort into the people you want to hold onto. And because you only have so many hours in a day, it makes you question who you want to keep around and who you don’t. Do you keep around the person stuck in their younger days with no motivation or the person supporting your future life ventures and goals? Do you get stuck holding on to the people who want to party every night or do you make the choice of surrounding yourself with the people who understand the importance of maturity and responsible decisions? And what happens when the people you start to associate with force you to question who you thought you were? Are those people forcing a negative change or a positive one? It’s hard to hold on to the people that you care about when they don’t seem to fit anymore into what you want from life. And it’s hard to let go of old friends as they graduate and get jobs and start their lives in other towns or when they become toxic and you’re forced to let them go for the good of yourself.
Your 20′s will be some of the hardest years of your life, which is why I never understood why they said they were the greatest years of of your life, but I understand now. Because although you’re faced with a dump truck full of decisions and everything is always changing and you never seem to know what is right or what is wrong…your 20′s are your selfish years. These are the years that you get to stand up and fight for yourself. You get to make the choices now that will hopefully give you the greatest possible future for yourself. You get to be indecisive and change your major 20 times to find a job that will make work not seem so much like work. You get to have your heart broken while you’re young and learn more about yourself each time. You get to find out what it is that you do and don’t want in a relationship so that eventually you know exactly what it is you want from the man or the woman of your dreams. You get to learn what it feels like to work 40 hours a week and still be broke come payday, which then forces you to realize that just like your parents always told you…money doesn’t grow on trees. These are the years that you can make the choice to travel the world and see new places because you’re not tied down to one spot on the map. You can pick up and move to a new city and start all over if that’s what you want to do. Your 20′s are the years of discovery and the years that you get to spend carving your own path. You learn to laugh even when things get tough. You learn that loss is a big part of life, which teaches you to keep the people you love close and always remind them of their importance to you. You learn to stand up for who you are and what you believe in. Through all the chaos of your 20′s you become the fiercest, smartest, toughest version of yourself and you spend your time learning to love that person. You learn that time passes quickly so take advantage of it while you have it.
Life isn’t always easy, and you’re going to make mistakes, but make mistakes while you’re young. Love the wrong person. Have your heart broken. Move to a different city. Travel to a different continent. Meet new people. Make new friends. Cut your hair. Change your wardrobe. Be spontaneous. Do what makes you happy. But through it all…learn to love the struggle. 30 years from now these will be the years that you look back on as the most important. These will be the years and the memories and the lessons that taught you how to live and the years that taught you how to love…to love yourself and love others and to love life. The world is at your feet, this is your journey and these are best years of your life…
…make them beautiful.