I tried to sit down and create a blog entry that was something everyone could relate to, but once I started I couldn’t stop! There was so much information that needed to be conveyed that I decided to make this a three-part series that I will post throughout the coming week.
Being a 20-something is rife with uncertainty, excitement, and an exploration of the unknown path into “adulthood”. This decade has become a theme, heck even a culture, for men and women in this age range. It is the ultimate decade of transition, life changes, and the ever confusing battle between never wanting to grow up and the exciting new world of being an adult. In a study conducted in 2012, data showed that the median age for someone’s first marriage is 27, and the median age for the birth of a first child is 25. With two of the most considerable life changes happening within the span of a few years, it makes sense why this decade is so transformative and is used to help refine “who we are”. With the attempts to establish a career path, the college years, the incurable fascination with travel, first marriages, childbirth, navigating singlehood and relationships, managing money (or lack thereof), the refinement of friendship circles, and a plethora of other important life changes, it is easy to see how your 20s may be filled with crippling anxiety yet also extremely important life lessons. When thinking about the way we experience our 20s in the modern age, I’ve noticed it can come across as the only time we deal with these kinds of questions. Yet, I have encountered 35, 45, 55, and even 65-year old men and women asking the same kind of questions, experiencing the same identity crises, and going through similar life challenges. Here are a few of important questions everyone will encounter at one point or another in their lifespan, not just in their 20s:
Am I In The Right Career?
How are we supposed to balance passion AND pay the rent on time each month? Should we have to sacrifice the things we love to do to work a profitable full time job that is completely unrelated to our passion? Should passion even factor into that equation? Is there anything wrong about working a job that is not related to your passion? So many people work years at a job that they don’t enjoy just for security and have severe anxiety about leaving to pursue something less stable, and rightfully so. It can be terrifying to go through years of schooling, rack up thousands of dollars in debt, and invest so much of your time and realize that you maybe aren’t the best fit, or that it wasn’t what you thought it would be. One of the things everyone should try to figure out is what money means to them. Is money only a means to pay the bills and survive, is it a way to fund your passion, it is something that will work for you, or are you working for it? Work constitutes one of the most important activities of our lives since we devote so much time to our careers. More adults spend more time at work than sleeping, having fun, or spending time with family. Career choices are often debated and second guessed, much like romantic partners, “is there something out there that could be a better match/make me happier?” Psychologists have used twin studies to show that vocational interests are actually more stable than personality characteristics! People are more likely to stick with a first career for many years despite decreasing satisfaction. But what job can actually make me happy? What do I even want as a career in the first place? Described in an article from NPR, Jordan Peterson, a teacher in the department of Psychology at the University of Toronto, created a writing assignment that helps students write down concrete and specific goals and strategies in order to help themselves achieve and overcome obstacles in their path. Experiments in the 1980s on therapeutic and expressive writing have shown that the process can reduce depression, increase productivity, and even help increase physical wellness. So, if you were to put pen to paper, how would you answer such heavy questions like: Why do you do what you do? What is the engine that keeps you up late at night or gets you going in the morning? Where is your happy place? What stands between you and your ultimate dream?
What Do I Believe?
Faith, or lack thereof, is one of the strongest categories of identification for many. Almost everyone has a box to check when it comes to what they believe in, be it atheist, devout Catholic, agnostic or Christian. Yet, each label does not tell the personal journey that each person has gone through to reach their beliefs and faith or lack thereof. Those labels don’t describe the trials and tribulations that people have gone through that have challenged their faith, how broken down they may have felt at times, what led them to discovering their faith, and what questions they have had. It is very much part of the human experience to question what or who you believe in, whether it is a deity or not. Everyone believes in something, religious or otherwise, and we all need it to help answer the many questions we have about ourselves, where we came from, and our purpose here. How did you come about your faith? What paths have you taken that have led you to where you are? What is your higher power, and if you don’t have one, what ideals do you cherish? How important is faith in your life? No matter your path or journey to where you are, the ideals and strengths and you derive from it is what will matter most.
TO BE CONTINUED….
If you are struggling with any life transition issues, seeking a good therapist to help you work things out and sort your feelings could be instrumental in increasing your coping capabilities.