Life ahead at 20-something: Fighting fear, embracing opportunity
At 20-something, the old saying is true: we have so much of our lives ahead of us.
Our parents and grandparents smile in anticipation of our future, encouraging us to "seize the day."
But more often than not, we roll our eyes and brush it off. What do they know? We're seizing all we can. But most days that means just trying to survive 2 a.m. study sessions, critical work deadlines or that interview for our dream job we pray we won't butcher.
Truth be told, these elders — whether parents, grandparents, friends or mentors — are speaking from experience. While we're navigating our 20s — retaliating against the fear that comes with endless possibilities — they're looking back on their lives.
With the advantage of hindsight, they're busy analyzing the crucial decisions they made in the past and the opportunities they missed. Circling back to their 20s, again they ponder one of life's biggest questions: What if?
What if I had gone to school for something else? What if I had married her? What if I hadn't moved? What if I had given more and worked less? What if I had chased my dreams instead of true love? What if I had taken that risk? What if I hadn't?
While they sit around the table with a cup of coffee and friends, they reminisce not only about the incredible careers they built, the families they raised and people they loved, but also the inevitable regrets or — at the very least — their curiosity for what could have been. They discuss the relationships they didn't build, the love they lacked or the dreams they left unchecked on their bucket lists.
It's in these moments that they lovingly remind us 20-somethings that we have so much life ahead of us. They know the older we get, the less time we have to change course. They encourage, advise and sometimes caution us because when it's all said and done, they don't want us to regret what we did or didn't do with our lives.
So, as we tremble in our current state — stumbling through life with the uncertainty in who we are and where we're supposed to be — we must remember: this is not the time to fear the possibilities. It's the time to embrace the endless opportunities in front of us.
It's easy to drift through life hoping we end up at the right destination, but the thing is: happiness takes a small sliver of intention. In our 20s, we have the time and power to choose what that looks like and where we stick our pin on the map of life.
This decade gives us the freedom to create the life we've always dreamed of, to not settle for what's easy, but to chase the things that scare us. As a young adult, we're able to determine our future, carve the pathway to our dreams and decide who we want beside us when we take one of two roads diverged in a yellow wood.
We hope that road leads to the mountain top where we can throw our arms up in victory and prepare to advise the next generation on how to live life right.