Discuss Something: Twenties Time

Tick tock.  Wait.  Tick tock.  Wait.  Tick tock.  Wait.

When you’re in your teens, it feels as though you’re constantly going.  You’re going to school.  You’re going to practice.  You’re going to camp.  You’re going to prom.  You’re going to graduation.  You’re just going because that’s what society tells you to do.  That’s what you have to do to get somewhere.

Then something weird happens.  You hit your twenties, and although you’re still on the move, it feels different.  You’re not moving in a linear direction like you were in high school, or working toward some societally-dictacted goal.  No, your twenties are unpredictable.  You start going to college, but are forced to take a gap year when you can no longer afford the tuition.  Or you finally secure a job, only to be fired three months later because of company cutbacks.  Or even more unexpected, you’ve moved back home because you can’t find work anywhere.

And even if your path is more straight forward, the pacing is still different.  Sure, you can go to work from eight to five, just like you went to school from eight to three, but working and learning are two separate entities.  As you learn, it’s not that difficult to recognize progression.  For instance, when you begin taking Spanish lessons, the only thing you know how to say is probably, “Mi nombre es Laura.”  But after a few weeks, your vocabulary has expanded to the point where you can say, “Mi nombre es Laura y tengo dos hermanas.”  (I admittedly have not taken a Spanish class in five years, so that probably doesn’t say what I intended it to say).  The gradient of job progression, however, is often much harder to measure.  (Unless you’re fortunate enough to land some kind of promotion.  You luck duck, you).   For all you know, you could be performing the same work for five years and see no increase in pay, no increase in status, and no increase in your marketable skills.

Perhaps more jarring than any movement or erratic pace, though,  is standing still.  Waiting.  It no longer comes from a place of sheer excitement about what lies ahead, such as, “I can’t wait for graduation” or, “I can’t wait for that boy band concert.”  (Oh, come on.  Don’t lie.  As much as you despise boy bands now, you were probably all over their cds as a teenager.  Unless you’re a guy.  Then it was probably something else…like video games, or heavy metal cds.  I don’t know).  Now the wait comes from a place of concentrated impatience and desperation.  You can’t wait to find a new job because you need the money to pay your bills.  You can’t wait to get a car because that’s the only way you can get to work.  You can’t wait to get a new place because there isn’t enough space for you and your growing family.  (And because the walls are paper thin, and the water heater is perpetually broken).

So, if moving forward in your twenties is unpredictable, and the wait is making you desperate, what are you supposed to do? Watch life pass you by?  That may sound silly, but really, what are you supposed to do?  Move forward at a potentially erratic pace and crash spectacularly, or dwell in desperate waiting?  Both sound rather undesirable, don’t they?

– l  xo

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