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I don’t know about you, but throughout the past five years, there have been many times when I wanted to give up on life and become a burrito of sadness. Please tell me I’m not alone.
Your twenties are hard. Quarter-life crises are real. Being shackled by student loan debt is real. Sub-par jobs where your debt degree (that’s what I’m calling it now) falls short are real.
I have done SO many ridiculous, stupid things in my 20’s. It’s embarrassing actually. I’ve tried to forget most of it. So, in celebration of almost reaching my official mid-twenties and in hopes that I’ve learned some lessons, here are 25 times I have hated life as a 20-something. Note: most of it was entirely my fault, too.
1. When I changed my major for the 23rd time, because at 20 years old, I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life. I still don’t.
2. Acting out on that new major by choosing to attend a school in Maine because running away from your problems always fixes everything…
3. Meeting a guy online, getting to know him, and convincing him to go to said school in Maine with me, because meeting someone face-to-face isn’t important in those types of decisions.
4. Flying to finally meet the guy in Ohio before the school year started… Then realizing he was not my type at all and being stuck in a really awkward situation for the next year.
5. Fleeing Maine because it was all wrong for me, and I needed to escape the guy I invited there.
6. Deciding to drop out of the Maine school halfway through Spring semester because I was so miserable, then realizing I couldn’t because I would owe the government too much money for the pell grants used.
7. Spending $200 in application fees to colleges in Oregon because I was SURE that was where I needed to be.
8. Getting accepted to every single Oregon school, then backing out because I realized I was a nutcase and that continuing to run from my problems was not going to fix my life or me.
9. Staying in a toxic on/off again relationship with a controlling dude who I allowed to manipulate me though all those previous experiences… Because I thought I was tough and could handle it, even though I had lost sight of who I was, what I wanted, and what God wanted for me.
10. Realizing I had to go back home, be strong, and face the music, ultimately admitting that I had let my life run away with me, all because I had lost the ability to stand up for myself.
11. Stressing about what my life had become and where I was going from that point.
12. Calling my old hometown employer and begging for a job – essentially going back to where I left off and pretending like the time I spent in Maine never happened.
13. Choosing to go to the dentist for braces and discovering that my teeth were way worse than anyone had thought.
14. Having to make dentist and health appointments alone because I’m an ADULT!
15. Having my first well-woman appointment and having it NOT make me feel well at all.
16. Taking out student loans to pay for things I didn’t really need and kicking myself in the face after I graduated.
17. Bragging about having a job before I graduated college, then eventually quitting after 4 months because I was so miserable there and I sucked at it.
18. Having to admit that I “failed” at my high-paying, great benefits job, and then going back to my original college job as a caregiver (because I couldn’t find work in my field).
19. Living on my best friend’s couch for 7 months because I refused to move back home and admit total defeat.
20. Consolidating my stupid student loans and putting them on a graduated repayment plan because I was broke and couldn’t afford the standard monthly minimum payments.
21. Searching for jobs all over St. Louis to stay close to my boyfriend and realizing no one thought I was worth even $11 an hour.
22. Taking the first job in St. Louis I was offered because beggars can’t be choosers.
23. Compromising on values and goals I had set for myself because everything else had gone wrong, why not those too?
24. Being stuck in a city I don’t like because when you’re too poor to move for work, you have to stick it out and take what you get.
25. Realizing that no one really thinks you’re special, because you aren’t. Most of the time, you’re just average.
But that’s okay. The world lies and you must guard your heart. Not trying to hurt your feelings, but surviving in this world is not easy and everyone will not go and do big things with their life. Some will resign themselves to going to a normal job, having a regular family, and having some fun every once in a while. And that is just fine.
I hated the first five years of my twenties, but I have learned from my mistakes. I needed to be knocked down a couple of notches. The next five years are sure to be better, and I’m going to make every day count. I’m not going to let anyone bring me down for being complacent OR having dreams. Whichever way I fall will be just fine.