Something about graduating college means you suddenly get the impression your life should look a certain way. More than ever, our 20-something lives are being dictated from every direction — our parents, our professors, our peers, the interwebs. And I have a rebuttal.
Stop telling me to take this time to travel. Yes, I want to travel. Yes, I want to see the world. But here’s the thing… Traveling isn’t always so easy. I have a full time job. I have student loan payments. I have bills. I get two weeks paid vacation per year and I have to use that time to go see family (and I’m a lucky one!). Travel is important, of course. I miss it desperately. But stop telling me this is the only time in my life I’ll be able to — because, frankly, it’s depressing. And I hope very much not true.
Stop telling me to not be in a relationship. I feel like everything I read these days is filled with lists and bullet points on why the 20s are a time to be single, time to explore! Time to focus on myself and not a relationship. But the bigger mistake, I think, would be to find love and let it pass because, hey I’m a twenty something and I ain’t got time for that. If you find a relationship you want to be in, be in it.
Stop telling me to become an old lady. Every article and every blog I read pictures 20 somethings as people who only want to watch Netflix and hate wearing pants. As true as this can be sometimes (all of the times), it’s also a little bit depressing. I am not an old lady. And pants aren’t that bad.
Stop telling me it’s better to live at home than be more broke. Yes, it’s easier, and yes, it makes sense. But at some point, we gotta suck it up and start paying rent again– even if that means living a super cheap apartment with 10 other people eating Ramen (don’t worry, I’m exaggerating).
Stop telling me to open a 401K. Because, come on.
Stop telling me to do what I love. Unfortunately, I happen to love literature and discussing Shakespeare. I can’t really do that and also make money and also have a job. A good friend of mine recently told me the problem with our generation is a focus on turning what we love into a career. Instead, I think, we can find a career that doesn’t suck and still do the things we love. Stop telling us we’re failures if we don’t do exactly what we love to do. A job doing what you love, is still just a job.
Stop telling me what my 20s are supposed to look like. They are supposed to look like whatever we make of them, whatever situation we have found ourselves in. They will vary depending on our economic (dis)advantages. They will vary depending on our major. They will vary depending on our goals. If we’re an artist or an accountant. If we’ve found love or are embracing single lady status. If we love our roots or if we need to break from them. if we’re happy and content or if we’re not.
Stop telling me what my 20s should look like. It’s enough of a struggle trying to figure it out on my own.
[Lead image via Kaponia Aliaksei/Shutterstock]