Signs you're crushing it in your 20s, even if it doesn't always feel that way
Being in your twenties is hard. It’s the decade of change, instability, holding down multiple jobs and telling yourself that the lack of sleep, time, money, and decent romantic prospects will all turn around someday. You’re hustling to get ahead, you’re making big, possibly life-altering decisions, and sometimes it feels like you’ll never figure it out — whatever “it” is, exactly.
Maybe you already feel like you’re doing just fine, like the impending pressure of thirty isn’t something that exists. But most of our society expects us to have things settled by then. Where we live, the car we drive, the house we’re supposed to buy; it’s all part of the big packaged dream, and it seems like we spend a lot of our twenties failing and getting back up. It’s a lot of worry, a lot of hustle, a lot of heartbreak, and a lot of amazing things in between. In case you’re anything like the rest of us — you know, worried that you’re never gonna make it through — here’s a list of signs that you’re doing A-OK.
You’ve kinda, sorta started figuring out what you’re passionate about
You don’t have to have you entire career plan mapped out (although props to you if you can think that far ahead), but maybe you have some thoughts on what you’re interested in pursuing in a perfect world. It doesn’t need to be clearly defined, it doesn’t need to be a twelve-step plan — it just has to be an idea. If you’ve got a passion or an area of interest, congrats, you’re already solidly on your way. Even if you don’t have a clear-cut passion, if you’re open to trying new things that spark your interest, big ups to you. This is your time to explore lots of different options to see what fits best. You don’t have to figure it all out, you just have to allow yourself to take risks, and pursue what you think will make you happy—long-term or short-term. If you’ve got that mind-set down, you’re rocking this whole decade like a champ
You’re becoming adaptable to change.
This is the decade of figuring things out, which means it’s also a time of constant change. You’ll have lots of different jobs, shifting friend groups, and more than a few trial-and-error relationships. .If you can see change coming and feel confident you can deal with it, you’re doing fine. If you need a few sleepless nights to worry your way through it, that’s OK too — as long as you’re flexible and adaptable for the end result.
You make mistakes and deal with the fallout.
Surprise, it’s part of life! Everybody makes mistakes. It is a corny saying but it’s never truer than it is for us now. You’ll fail, you’ll screw up, you’ll hurt people’s feelings: this is inevitable and part of the nature of our existence. Owning up to those faults and doing what you can to make things right is a sign that you’re moving on to knowing what counts.
You are trying to budget, the key word being trying.
The classic imagery of ramen noodles and mac n’ cheese exists for a reason: because it’s true. It’s how you’ll make it to the next payday when you’ve been a little too spendy at the beginning of the month. It’s alright if you don’t have a 401k or life insurance, but if you at least have a savings account this totally counts (even if it only has fifty bucks in it. Hey, you’ve gotta start somewhere!).
You take time for the people that matter.
One of the most vicious stereotypes about us twenty-somethings is that we’re vapid and selfish, only able to care about ourselves. This just isn’t true, but it can be difficult to make sure you’re giving your friends and family the focus they might need from time to time. Being there when it matters, showing up when you’re needed — this is a sign that you’re becoming the kind of person you want to be.
You dream big, but you also dream doable.
It’s never a bad thing to have big, grandiose hopes for life. These are dreams like achieving the career you’ve always wanted, taking a trip across Europe, singing on a stage, or just one day paying off your student loans. A sign of maturity is the ability to also have more doable, immediate kind of dreams. A new car, a trip to a big city you’ve always wanted to visit, getting your first foot on the career rung ladder — those are the kind of smaller dreams you work towards while still hoping for the big ones.
You know who you are — or at least, more than you used to.
If high school is a time of trying on new identities until you find one that fits, the twenty-something years are the moments that we discover who we’ve been all along, and develop who we want to be. A little self introspection never hurt anyone, and if you have spent any amount of effort delving into your personality and the things you want to be, it’s significant.
Taking part in hashtag campaigns, educating yourself on causes you believe in, and volunteering when you can — if there’s some cause on this big earth that you care about and are fighting for —you should be super proud. You’re making your twenties count in the best way possible, you rock star, you.