Life is filled with many periods of transition and change; being in my early twenties, it feels as though I am deeply in the middle of one of these transitions.
I’ve begun to notice that I am not alone in this awkward phase in life, as many of my friends and acquaintances are desperately trying to figure it out. I’m sure that many can relate when I say that life looks and feels a lot different than it did a few years ago. From relationships (parents, friends and significant others) to routines and behaviors, I can say that my life is just a loosely based figure of what it used to be. Change allows for us to gain perspective, in turn allowing us to see what we do and do not want. Experience can be used as a tool for learning what we don’t want. Knowing what I didn’t want essentially brought me to where I am now, and molded me into the person I am today, but what do I do when it begins to feel old - I want better, but I don’t know what better is. I’m writing this to share some ways to support yourself through this phase that have also helped me.
Do not be afraid of the pain that change can bring. Even when we are in a place of knowing what we don’t want, we can sometimes stay there just because of its comfort level. Frankly, sometimes shit has to get real before it can get better. Don’t short change yourself of what is better just because of stagnating fear. I’ve been in, and seen, many situations where it would’ve been so much easier to just stay still. When you initially realize you want better, start working towards it and don’t delay things because of the difficulty you might face. Figuring out what you want can be confusing as hell, but keep the big picture in mind.
Aforementioned, pain and discomfort can be a big part of trying to figure out what to do next. Give yourself the space to go through it and don’t be your biggest enemy. Sometimes you gotta fuck up to get where you want to be. The key is trying again, even if you try differently. Whether you have a support system or don’t, learn how to be your biggest supporter. Sometimes we get caught up in waiting for someone or something to help us get to our goal, that we forget to rely on ourselves. I’m not saying be lazy, but the point of this transition is to attain your next big goal or accomplishment so be patient with yourself and allow yourself to go through the motions.
This is the point I’ve personally struggled with the most, which is learning how to give myself credit for accomplishments and then learning how to move past them. I’ve caught myself a few times working really hard to accomplish something, accomplishing it, and then feeling like I want something else. I get caught up in the notion of "This is what I wanted, so why aren’t I satisfied?". I’ve begun to give myself credit for what I've accomplished, but still pushing for something else. I’m learning that it's okay to change course and that I don’t have to fault myself for that. If you have the ability and means to figure out a better alternative then chase that.
My twenties so far have been the most unstable years of my life, but I’m beginning to learn how to live with that. Whether you’re an artist, student, visionary or full time worker, figure out what success means to you and don’t measure yours on someone else’s scale. Don’t worry about what others are doing, how they’re doing it and the time frame they’re doing it in - just worry about what’s best for you. Figuring it out was never meant to be easy, but I know that even with its difficulties there will always be more to benefit from than to lose.