When I was younger I would spend many hours chatting excitedly with my best friend about what we’d be like in our twenties. Our visions were formed from watching rom-coms and shows like Sex and the City, where fashionable and sassy women with cosmopolitan dramas would go on dates with men in classy bars.
I’d have good hair and teeth and be comfortable with myself, with a good job that allowed me to be creative. I’d stop off for a coffee with a cute stranger I bumped into on the tube and discuss favourite novels and songs until it got light outside. Then I’d return home, curl up on the sofa under a blanket with my pet dog and fall asleep to the sights of a lit up city outside the window. That was what my life would be like. And I was excited, because it wasn’t now, it was just a lovely idea back then.
Ideas can be crushing though. They sweep past you like a hand that brushes yours and leaves you looking around, puzzled as to where that fleeting moment of comfort went. The truth is that my twenties haven’t been what I’d hoped. And it’s likely that they won’t be, or haven’t been for you either.
You’ll think about the past and sometimes not know who you were, and for that reason, wonder who you are now, and what you can offer to the world in the future. You’ll be lonely, and confused. Confused about absolutely everything. That which seems tangible one minute can be turned into ashy fragments of letters and faces and places the next.
Thinking too much will drive you insane.You’ll re-consider the friends in your life and the choices you have made and need to make about a million times. There will be many days where you’ll want to hide and disappear. Then there will be days where you’ll want to take on the world. Focus on the latter, because this is the time in your life where you really can do anything you want to, even though it’ll feel the opposite because you have no money and feel stuck.
Don’t feel like you need to settle down with someone. Don’t feel like you need anyone. Being OK by yourself is something rare in itself.
Rejection is not the end of the world.
You do not need a plan. All the questions you get asked and furrowed eyebrows from parents will make you think otherwise, but plans, while often useful, will only make you feel like you’re failing. Take opportunities as they come and create a route as it appears.
Go on long walks to clear your head and listen to music that makes your heart swell and your head swim with ideas. Smile at people, dance, read famous quotes from those that have lived and soak up the details of every little moment. Try to be a good person, and never let the emptiness of not knowing take you over. There’s so much yet to happen, and that doesn’t mean it has to happen right now.
You’ll be ok. Always tell yourself this. Because the rush of feeling that this is the future, and it’s happening right now, and it’s passing you by will turn you invisible and take you away from seeing the wonderful things you already have made for yourself.
Lastly, remember everyone’s at least a little lost. No matter what age they are. (And if they aren’t, they’re probably not as interesting.)