You all watched and listened (and probably rolled your eyes) as I braced for turning 30. I was convinced my life was going to be over once I hit that milestone.
I have a couple girlfriends, and followers, that just turned 26 and 27 in July and have shared the panic they’re feeling that I also went through.
I remember reading articles and interviews of women talking about how their 30’s were the best years of their life and that they finally hit their stride. I couldn’t relate. I thought my 20’s were incredible and felt like that carefree feeling would come to an end and I’d eventually have to be responsible (my least favorite word) and start settling down because, let’s honest, my biological clock was ticking. I couldn’t imagine how it could possibly be better.
Well, it actually can be. Now, hear me out before you start tuning me out in the same way I did to those articles. Trust me – I felt what you feel.
I posted one of my new favorite songs my Avicii a week ago and the song really resonated with me. Specifically, there’s a part that says, “All this time I was finding myself and I didn’t know I was lost.” I couldn’t think of a better way to sum up my 20’s.
Your 20’s are the time in your life when you create yourself. You do the most growing and you learn so much about yourself, your likes, your dislikes. You get to travel to amazing places and experience amazing things. You get to date and figure out your preference in men or women. You get to make mistakes and ask for your parents’ assistance. And then again. You get to take risks with limited consequences. You explore every limit of yourself and life. Your 20’s are pretty great.
What you’re probably forgetting or may not realize is that unsettling feeling you have (yes, I know you feel it) is being lost. You always feel like something’s missing and you feel restless. You search for reasons on why that might be and offer up solutions. Maybe when I meet the love of my life. Maybe when I get married. Maybe when I have kids. Maybe when I explore every part of the world I can afford. Maybe when I get my career on track. Maybe when I make enough money to live comfortably. Maybe when I continue my education. Maybe when I move to a new city. Maybe when I make more friends that can relate to me. Maybe if I volunteer my time or somehow give back to the community. Maybe if I get a dog. Or buy a house. Or a new car. Or sell that house and that car. It never ends. And, while you love and appreciate your life, that feeling of restlessness won’t leave you.
“All this time I was finding myself and I didn’t know I was lost.” The thing is, all those feelings are normal. You’re creating and finding yourself, you just may not be conscious of it. What if I told you that you’ll reach a point in time when you feel satisfied and at peace. Would that make you believe your 30’s and getting older in general aren’t so bad? You see, all that creating and exploring you’re doing while you’re in your 20’s finally pays off. And, that drowning feeling goes away as you realize you’re reaching the shore as the waves effortlessly push you towards it and now you have all the fun endorphins from that crazy swim. And, you’re left with yourself, but in better shape than when you started your 20’s (maybe not literally, but figuratively…how did you lose that metabolism when you lost yourself?). And, you finally accept yourself for all that you are – flaws, craziness, beauty, and intelligence.
So, keep exploring. Keep finding yourself. Keep taking chances. Keep trying to figure out what you like and what makes you happy. All that will pay off and you’ll finally find peace and have some amazing memories along the way. I promise.