I, like a lot of people enjoy the odd scroll through my Facebook newsfeed and I used to make the mistake of clicking on those articles from the ‘gossip/news’ pages (which I won’t name but I am sure you know) which have a headline something along the lines of 10 signs that….
I am not talking about the articles filled with perfect ‘gifs’ to describe situations (I actually greatly appreciate these), or the list of movies you must watch (although I sometimes disagree with the list I also often find some great new options- plus I wrote one of these types of articles myself!) or the articles about the latest celebrity drama (Kayne vs Taylor, which I may find irrelevant but not an issue). I am talking about the articles that tell you “the 10 signs you need to know that you do not love your partner”, or “the 10 reasons why getting married in your 20s is leaving the party early”, only to be followed the very next day by “10 reasons why getting married young is the best decision you could make”, or the “10 reasons why you should quit your job and travel the world”.
As a woman in my young 20s, I am still deciding exactly who I am and what sort of life I want for myself. This is why I have sworn off these types of articles. Just like horoscopes, you will be able to relate to aspects in every single one of these articles. I used to read the “15 reasons why you should be single in your early 20s” and genuinely by the end of the article start reconsidering my relationship. Then, the next day I would read the “25 reasons why you are doing yourself an injustice if you don’t take a gap year” and have almost filled out my university deferral paperwork and booked a plane ticket by the end of the article. The next week I read the “17 reasons why working hard in your early 20s is good for your career” and by the end of the article thought about working two more part-time jobs whilst studying full time. I am sure you get the picture that after reading these articles I genuinely considered (or reconsidered) my relationships, jobs, university degree, how I save my money, moving out of home, who my friends should be and basically every other aspect of my life.
I realised that I was genuinely feeling upset, guilty and anxious about my life because I thought it should be more aligned with these articles. I finally understood exactly how unhelpful this was. I realised that your 20s are for discovery. But they are for internal discoveries. It is important that I reflect on my life, but not based on these articles- there is not a ‘one life fits all’. I need to decide my next steps based on trial and error and learning about what makes me happy, not what makes others happy. I need to keep dabbling in different experiences, whilst also doing those I already love; I need to keep meeting new people, whilst also maintaining relationships with people I already cherish and I need to keep dreaming about my future, whilst also acknowledging the dreams I’ve already achieved. My 20s are for me and how I decide to live them.
**Important to say that these are not actual titles of articles, just examples**