Our Transitional Twenties

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By legal standards, they tell us we become adults at 18. While we may have had the esteemed honor of registering to vote and buying lottery tickets, I think it’s safe to say the majority of us were a far cry from “adults” at that age.

Then we enter our early twenties and by all accounts that should, in and of itself, make us adults. At this point, however, a decent number of us are still focused on late night cram sessions and scoring big in the next beer pong tournament. There are a couple of blasé years in the middle where we’ve graduated college and are edging our feet into the water that is first jobs, new apartments, and sophisticated drinking aka cocktail hour after work.

Then suddenly, if you’re anything like me, you are on the cusp of thirty and realize you still don’t know what you want to be when you grow up. At this point, many of us are married with at least one child, and it suddenly hits us like a ton of bricks. Over the past couple of years, something changed and we really did become adults.

Who knows what made us realize it…maybe it was your child entering school, being called ma’am or mister at the grocery store, or that unfortunate moment when you officially used the phrase “back when I was a kid” and have begun to pity the poor children being raised in today’s day and age who just don’t understand what it means to be young.

Despite the fact that we are now the grown-ups we’ve always known we’d become, things still feel kind of uncertain for most of us. I don’t know about the rest of you but sometimes I feel like I’m living in a strange void where things don’t make a lot of sense. I sense the maturity that comes with age and feel confident in my capability to make respectable decisions, but when things go bad I often find myself still wishing I could crawl into my mommy’s lap and have her tell me things will be alright.

I sometimes look down on myself for not having it all together. But what does that really mean? Is it essential to have your dream job by the age of thirty? Is it so terrible to still be working towards that perfect degree? Should we be completely confident in the decisions we’ve made for our lives? Is it wrong to think back to the not so distant past and wonder if we could have, should have, done things differently?

I don’t think this is a time for regrets and disgruntlement. Despite our encroaching adulthood, we still have the chance to make changes in our lives…to figure out where and who we want to be.

Rather than spending our time Facebook stalking those individuals who really do seem to have it all figured out (damn them), maybe we should allow ourselves some more time. Give our still young minds the chance to grow and develop until we reach the point where we’ve forged our way to the answers we’ve been so desperately seeking. There’s no timeline to this. If we make it through our thirties and forties and are still waiting to “figure it out” that’s okay, too. Spend some time nursing a bottle of wine and a gallon of ice cream on the couch while you Netflix…it’s ok. As long as we’re happy with the roads we’re on, that’s the only thing that really matters.

So let’s just give ourselves a breather, revel in the fact that we’ve already lived almost thirty incredible years, and keep dreaming of whatever the future holds.