I’ve just read a post about a girl who has just turned 20, discussing what she aims to achieve during these vital years of her life. It annoys me that people say your twenties are the best years of your life…my teens were pretty good and I hope my thirties, forties and fifties will be also. What is so special about your twenties?
Aged 23 was definitely a highlight. I graduated from university and headed to America to teach children photography at a summer camp. A part of my life that opened my mind to new possibilities and a year that I accomplished many things I thought I never could or would do.
But there was the year I turned 20, when I had made a decision to ‘quit’ my current degree because I realised it wasn’t for me. Something that took a lot of guts to accept and deal with. I felt like I had failed. I began a new degree at a different university but the friends I made were not the same. Do I regret leaving? Possibly but I also try hard not to live with regrets because I do believe that everything happens for a reason.
Turning 21 I started a relationship with a guy. At the beginning he seemed just what I needed. It wasn’t until, aged 22, that I realised he was the opposite. I had to walk away from this guy that had been my best friend, come boyfriend during my first year at my new university. He helped me get over my ‘one true love’ but then left me for another. I had to make the decision to detach myself from him as I knew he could no longer be there for me in the ways I needed him to be. I felt very alone without him but, like everyone does, I found my happiness again.
Ending that relationship and distancing myself from that boy, was one of the best things I have ever done for myself. So maybe he was what I needed because now I am able to recognise the signs of a toxic relationship. He wasn’t a particularly nasty person but he made me feel very small and without me realising, managed to draw all my happiness out of me. I can’t even begin to explain how he did this but, as you learn, some people are just not meant for you.
Like I’ve previously said, aged 23 I was at one of my happiest points of my life so far. It was a year filled with personally achievements. An adventurous year. I did things for myself and worried about nothing except what food I was going to have to eat at the Jewish summer camp I attended.
This happiness did continue during part of my 24th year on this Earth. There were aspects of this year that were not perfect, such as my job. I was a waitress and didn’t want to be. However it was here that I met George so I am thankful for that because it was the times that I spent with him that made my 24th year a happier one. He made going to work worth doing because I got to see him watering his herbs and grow in confidence in a difficult kitchen (he is a chef).
Thinking I could do better, career wise, I started to apply for other jobs in London. That’s where my best friend was working. She painted the 9-5 working life in London as a fun and wholesome experience. She talked about what we could do at weekends and the drinks we could enjoy after work. I wanted that. The only problem was, was that I didn’t know what I wanted a career in or what I was qualified to do. That is how I became a receptionist.
At a similar time George left for his travels and I was determined to prove that I could still be happy without relying on someone else for that. I think it’s quite hard to do when you love someone because being loved and loving someone is probably one of the best things in life. Not being able to see that person everyday is bound to bring your spirits down a little. However I also realised that it wasn’t just the lack of my loved ones presence. It was my job. Why did I think being a receptionist would be right for me? It isn’t creative or active. It is just stressful and mundane.
It was also my best friend. We hadn’t spoken for months despite the promises of a great London lifestyle. I am still not sure what happened between us despite me trying to find out but I was left feeling lonely in London.
That’s when I decided to act, booking my travels. Why shouldn’t I go and spend my time with someone I love doing something I know made me happy previously?! A career is something I can worry about later on in life, right?
My point to this post is that, yes, your twenties can be the best part of your life but they can also be your most challenging. Leaving your teens behind also brings great responsibilities.
You and you alone are responsible for the decisions you make. You will probably be faced with a number of big life choices once you reach your twenties, whether it be related to your career, where you live, how you spend your time. Having the freedom to choose your own path can be invigorating but also scary.
In your twenties some people find their dream job instantly but most have to work from the bottom up. They have to do a few jobs (like me) before they figure out what it is they want to do. It can be frustrating at times, not knowing which direction to follow. I also know that worrying about this is what they say can ruin your twenties. However, it is hard not to think about because after all, we all have to find a way to support ourselves and that requires a job that pays you.
Also in your twenties you begin to have the type of relationships that mean something more than they did when you were at school. This means that it hurts more when they end but you also learn more from them.
Friendships you thought would never end can, as you both mature and grow in different directions. This can also be hard to digest and understand but you will make new ones.
I am not trying to state that your twenties will not be the best time of your life. Despite some of the bumps I have undergone so far, having nearly reached the halfway mark, I can honestly say that most of the years have been, on a whole, great…but they have also been hard. Full of learning curves and scary, big, possibly life changing decisions.
I’m assuming this is all normal…perhaps someone that has survived their twenties can confirm?
We may look back at these years with nostalgic tinted glasses, thinking that they were the ‘best years’ but right now, living them, I know they can be hard work as well. What you should aim to do is make the most of all your years by getting rid of the things that don’t make you happy and replacing them with things that do.
Key tip for anyone else who sometimes feels overwhelmed by the life decisions we are sometimes forced to make in our twenties: Watch the Friends TV Show. I find it so relatable to points in my life and soon realise that I will be ok.
Life is what you make it and I just think that every decade should be considered ‘the best’ because within every ten years there are bound to be highs and lows.