Adulting is complicated!
We could all do with some guidance and advice when we were younger. Here’s what I wish I knew at twenty ears old…
Once upon a time, you were a little child with big dreams! You were going to change the world and you didn’t fear anything!
You were adventurous.
You were curious.
You were willing to try new things. You had optimism about facing the future. Perhaps you dreamed that you were going to marry prince charming and live happily ever after in your dream home with the white picket fence, two dogs, a cat and the best-behaved kids this world has ever seen! Perhaps you have always been a go-getter and from a very young age you knew exactly what you wanted out of life: you were going to be a doctor or a lawyer or an engineer. You had already determined that there was no ladder you couldn’t climb and therefore you were going to be unbelievably successful, retire young and spend the rest of your days travelling and seeing the world.
Perhaps you were none of those things but I am willing to guess that as a kid, you had bright hopes and dreams of what your future would be like.
But then something happened to you…
You grew up!
Now, you’re a disillusioned twenty-something year old who feels like their life is filled with working at a job which you don’t really like so that you can pay bills you never realised you’d have to pay.
Goodbye, sweet childhood.
Okay, ok. So maybe things aren’t quite as dreary as I am painting them out to be but I think you will agree with me that life seemed so much simpler when we were kids. Things were pretty much black and white and there wasn’t a whole lot of grey areas. The more we grew, the more those grey areas began getting more pronounced and the more grey we see, the harder life gets to navigate. I have often wished that here was a manual for how to make it through life-particularly through my twenties!
"I believe that it is good to plan for the future and to have goals and dreams that you have set for yourself in mind. I think that there is value in planning for a rainy and in having hopes and dreams for your life and working towards achieving those things…but…I think it’s good to keep in mind that no matter how much you plan, life has a way of working around your plans."
It can sometimes feel like we have just barely made it through the craziness that is our teen years only to find ourselves in adulthood!
I remember being told as teenager that I needed to decide now what I would do for the rest of my life. I had to pick a career and make sure that my academics were good enough to gain me access into university so that I could pursue my chosen career. Now, let me say straight off the bat that I don’t think those things are necessarily bad things in and of themselves. I believe that it is good to plan for the future and to have goals and dreams that you have set for yourself in mind. I think that there is value in planning for a rainy and in having hopes and dreams for your life and working towards achieving those things…but…I think it’s good to keep in mind that no matter how much you plan, life has a way of working around your plans.
And guess what?
That may be just one of the best tings that has ever happened to you!
As I look back over my twenties, I really wish someone would have taken the time to tell me this and explain a bit more about life post high school and college. I wish someone would have come alongside me and said: “Hey Rachel, here are some important things that would be good to know as you enter adulthood.”
So, as I close out my twenties, here are some gems that I have learnt over the last decade that I would love to share with you:
"...we have to prepared to accept that sometimes getting to our dreams might mean having to take “the road less traveled”..."
1. Life does not always go according plan but the road which it takes you on is the right one for you.
For most of us when we’re kids, we always had this dream in mind of who we wanted to be and what we wanted to do. There’s nothing inherently wrong with that but I think that we have to prepared to accept that sometimes getting to our dreams might mean having to take “the road less traveled” even though our destination might still be the same.
And we have to be willing to adapt to the way that the journey will play out otherwise we will struggle to have joy in our lives as we pursue our goals and dreams.
Sometimes, taking “the scenic route” is actually the best way to go about achieving our goals and dreams because along the way, we learn lessons that help us grow character, backbone, resilience and strength. We get our metal tested and we see what we are made of. We have opportunities to grow as we work towards making our dreams a reality and the new person we become is better able to enjoy our achieved goals and dreams because we know and remember just how hard we have worked to get them.
2. You’re the only you, you’ve got!
Growing up is weird in some ways because as a teenager, you can sometimes feel like you should be anyone but you and when you become an adult, it can feel like not too much has changed in that regard. As a teenager, it can feel like friends and peer pressure try and dictate who you should be and in adulthood it can feel like it’s the media and the corporate world who want to run your life.
Earn this much.
There seems to be a never-ending supply of voices trying to “guide” you but having the discernment to know which voice/s to listen to…that can be tricky.
I have come to the conclusion that at some point, you are going to have to trust yourself and pick the path that is best for you. By all means, listen to good advice when you come across it but try and balance that out with being true to yourself and being truly you! But that I mean that there is absolutely ZERO reason for you to waste time trying to be what everyone else wants you to be. You so you have to lean to be comfortable in your own skin and accept yourself for who you are! And that might mean being considered as being “unconventional.”
And that’s ok!
Provided that you can look yourself in the mirror and be happy with what you see!
3. You’ve going to make mistakes and that is ok.
Maybe it’s just me but sometimes, I can get so thrown off by making a mistake. I beat myself up for failing, I feel guilty that I let people down, I feel ashamed by my failures and I feel discouraged and demoralised. And while there is room for making mistakes, what’s most important is how you pick yourself up from those mistakes and move forward! The question is not, “Will you make a mistake?” but rather “What will you learn from your mistakes and how will you put the lesson learnt into practise going forward?” Yes, I know that sounds like a cliché but learning to forgive yourself can be one of the most freeing and empowering things that you have ever done because you give yourself the chance to start over again but this time, you’re a little bit smarter and a little bit wiser!
"...while there is room for making mistakes, what’s most important is how you pick yourself up from those mistakes and move forward! The question is not, “Will you make a mistake?” but rather “What will you learn from your mistakes and how will you put the lesson learnt into practise going forward?”
Also, be quick to forgive others as well. Just like you, they are going to make mistakes. Some of their mistakes will hurt you just like some of your mistakes will hurt them. Be as kind to them as you are to yourself. Give them the same chance that you give yourself to start over! Living with unforgiveness in your heart in a very heavy burden to bear!
4.Take some time out for you.
Another cliché but it’s true. Just look at how many people are burnt in the world today. I know that some people might think that being “chronically busy” is cool, and productive…but it’s not! You can only work well if you’re resting well and in order to rest well, you need to take some time out just for you! Soak in the bath tub. Read a book. Listen to music. Call a loved one or just get into bed early and sleep. Take a moment to put you first for a change! The world will not end because you took some time to love on yourself!
5. Enjoy discovering you.
They say that life is what happens when you’re making plans, and in my case, that saying has certainly held true. And, I am thankful for that! Once upon a time, I was gong to be a doctor. That was my plan and I was sticking to it. The thought to explore any other possibility never occurred to me because I was going to pursue a career in medicine.
It was a done deal.
Today, I am a blogger, a Youtuber and a voice over artist.
I know, right?
In hindsight, I am thankful that life threw me interesting challenges and curveballs that have positioned me where I am today because through those circumstances, I have been able to grow as a person and explore myself! It has been awesome to be on a journey of discovering the many facets that make me, me! Through the ups and downs, I have been able to learn more about myself and embrace the person I uncover.
All that to say that perhaps right now, you are in a space where things don’t make sense and you don’t know what the next step is. You had all the awesome plans laid out but right now, life is happening!
Let me encourage you by saying this: relax!
Perhaps, right now is exactly where you need to be because through these circumstances, you will learn more about yourself and grow as a person. As you learn and as you grow, you will find that with each passing day, you are becoming a better person than you were the day before!
So relax. Breathe. And enjoy the journey!