Monday, 7 October 2019

It's completely normal to feel lost in life: Learning to embrace the crisis of your 20s

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Photo by David Alberto Carmona Coto from Pexels

When I was a little girl, I always looked up to 20-year-olds and viewed them as wise and put together. Fast-forward the time to now, I am nowhere near as wise as I imagined 20-year-olds to be. As a teenager, the shift from my teen years to 20s appeared like some sort of an incredible adventure. I was excited about transitioning from a feeble teenager to a fully functioning adult.

Unfortunately, no one warned me about the difficulties of this period in my life. The period of your 20s is a decade filled with numerous unwanted crises. Feeling lost, not knowing your purpose, questioning your self-worth - all these feelings at the time when the society expects you to be a contributing member of society. 

My head these days feels like a fly that has been squashed by a stampede of animals. Nevertheless, I am determined to assess the ways in which we (you know the struggling 20 or so year olds) can embrace the crisis of our 20s

This post will explore the process of learning to embrace the crisis of your 20s, and hopefully help you along in your journey and self-discovery.

Leaving the education system and thrown into the big wide world 

The main thing that defines the period of your 20s is finally leaving the school system. When we are young, we spend a lot of our time sitting in desks, jumping from one learning objective to the next. At that time, our lives are defined by rules and the grading system, this means that we don't have to worry about where we are in life. We do certain things because our teachers tell that this is the right thing to do. 

The education system is like a little bubble, however that bubble eventually bursts as we get older. Leaving the education system removes the safety net between yourself and the world. When you are in school, the teachers concentrate on literature, maths, science and other subjects that you are supposed to understand, but no one explains the difficulty of the world itself. Teachers forget to explain that having 'good grades' under your belt does not give you a golden ticket for receiving special treatment in life.

The big wide world is cruel. You need a thick skin to survive in this world.  I think that this point in your life where you begin to notice the difficulties of life is the key factor that contributes to the crisis of your 20s. It is important to detach yourself from the education system and understand that real life is different

Overthinking your place in life and the reliance on social comparisons 

I am constantly overthinking my place in life - and who doesn't, right?  My mind constantly buzzes, attempting to assess if I'm good enough. Sometimes it drives me mad. When we are in our 20s, it can feel like the whole world is on our shoulders. Society expects us to know our place and where we belong in life. We are told that we must try our hardest to succeed because this is what life is about. 

Let's face it, assessing your goodness and where you fit in the world can be difficult. You might, for instance, question whether you are doing the right thing, if you made the right decisions and so on. 

The life of your 20s is fuelled by overthinking. During this confusion filled time, social comparisons can appear as a useful way of putting your life in perspective. For many, social comparisons provide a vision to aid your aims and life goals - it's simply seeing what people tend to do and where they are in life. It can almost feel like a pat on the back: "Look it's okay, you are fine. You are doing the right thing. This is where you are in life in comparison to others"

Unfortunately, social comparisons can also make you feel alienated. It can make you feel like you must punish yourself for every unachieved goal. Reliance on social comparisons can cause mental health difficulties. Hence, you should define your own place in life. Forget other people, you will never know what happens behind closed doors. Construe your unique reality and avoid relying on social comparisons to define your place in life. 

Facing rejections and confusion about the point of life  

The time of your 20s can be ridden by countless rejections. We need to sell our strengths and achievements in order to get on the career ladder. It's almost like we are products in a catalogue, screaming "Pick me! Pick me!"  to those with far more power and credibility. There is a lot of competition when it comes to the job market, but this becomes the most apparent when you are in your 20s. 

This time is strange because you are more experienced than your ordinary student, yet still not as experienced as people who have been functioning in the big wide world for longer than you have. 
This puts individuals in their 20s at a disadvantage. 

Experiencing rejections can make you feel confused about the point of trying in the first place. When we are in our 20s, we need to learn to approach life strategically. For instance, you can choose to be negative about your rejections or use them as a tool to help you do things better for next time. 

The struggle of turning into an adult and understanding yourself 

The notion of the self-concept and whether we have true selves has been debated for years in  Psychology and Philosophy fields. The period of your 20s is portrayed as the period of self-discovery, as we turn into adults, we are presented with a difficult task of understanding ourselves - our character, purpose, values and so on. 

Bannister (1983) argues that our perception of self is based on understanding what other people think about us. This means that the true self is an illusion, a mere collection of expectations about how we should be. I think that the unknown related to our self-perception contributes greatly to causing an existential crisis

Your existential crisis is not permanent, you need to accept your struggles and understand that you are not alone in experiencing them. After all, it is a natural part of life. #

Try to fill your life with positive experiences, do the things that you love instead of looking for answers to the unknown. Trying too hard to find the answers may make you blind to the wonders of the world itself.  Remember,  it's okay if you don't fully understand who you are as a person. 

Some ways to help you embrace the crisis of your 20s:

1. Accept that life is filled with challenges. Use these challenges to help you grow. 

2. Expand your horizons and never get stuck in a familiar routine. 

3. Limit your over-thinking. 

4. Be around the people who benefit and accept you. 

5. Never give up on your dreams. 

6. Get used to the unfairness of life.  

7. Try not to take things personally. 

8. Always ask questions. 

9.  Listen to people who are wiser than you. 

10. Learn to accept your flaws. 

11. Try to reduce your social comparisons. 

12. Always be patient. 

13. Stop giving your negative thoughts too much credit. 

14. Actively seek for knowledge and keep learning. 

15. Take the time to care for your well-being 

16. Understand that it's okay to not know things. 

17. Remember that your difficulties are not permanent. 

18. Communicate your thoughts and ideas. 

19. Put your life in perspective.

20. Have your unique reason for being. 

Embracing the crisis of your 20s does seem like a challenge. It requires a lot of determination to get through this period in life. Luckily, it will not be permanent. After all, it is commonly said that as you get older time tends to pass quicker. 

Fill your life with positive experiences, so that when you look back to the life of your 20s, you can remember more joy than despair. It is completely normal to be filled with confusion. Keep growing, your life will fall into place in time. 

I hope you have enjoyed this post. Don't forget to follow my blog for similar content. You can also follow me on Twitter or Instagram

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  1. I can definitely relate to some of these feelings. It's a pretty confusing time. These are great tips though, really beneficial to have someone remind you of things like that every once in a while x


    1. I know right, it's a time filled with so much confusion. Glad you enjoyed the post :)

  2. I remember thinking that 20-somethings were SO grown up and "proper" adults but honestly, I'm 27 and never felt like less of an adult in my life! Your 20's are such a confusing and transformative time. It's so important not to compare either because some people are settled and married with kids in their 20's whilst other people are travelling, some are working on their careers and everything in betweeen. There's no guidebook, so do you!


    1. It's crazy how much comparisons we tend to make with other people. Exactly, just being yourself is the key! Thanks for your lovely comment.

  3. Great points. I think every decade has its highs and lows. I keep waiting to get to a point where I have everything figured out, and that has not happened yet! Definitely be open to learning though. Life is full of lessons. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Every decade is also filled with growth :) Thanks for your comment!

  4. This is so relatable! I would often overthink during my 20's, and worry that I am not where I am supposed to be. It really is a confusing time especially when others around us are reaching certain milestones. I've now learned we all go at our own pace and things happen at different times for everyone, we just gotta focus on our own individual journey and everything will be okay. Thanks for the inspirational post, hope you are having a lovely week! <3 xx

    Bexa |

  5. A great post and totally relatable to 25 year old me! Great tips too, thank you ��

    1. Thank you so much, glad you found the post useful!

  6. This is such a great post with some very insightful points and tips. Although I'm nearing the end of my 20s (say it isn't so!) I still feel like a 19 year old trying to figure it all out at times! I will be noting some of this advice down and trying my best to continue following it!! Thank you so much for your post - really enjoyed and very happy to have found your blog! ☺️

    1. Hey, I'm glad you enjoyed reading the post. I suppose these tips can work with life in general. After all, existential crisis can happen whenever! I enjoyed reading your blog as well, it was lovely.


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