There’s no doubt that a person’s twenties are often some of the most exciting—and most terrifying—years of their life. Finishing college (if attended), entering the workforce, possibly starting a family, or just trying to climb up the corporate ladder are things many people in their twenties are busy doing. However, for some of us, things seem to take a standstill by the age of 25 and we have no earthly idea what we’re supposed to do with ourselves. If you’ve found yourself in this boat in your twenties, don’t worry: it’s alright to feel lost at 25.
I remember the day I graduated high school. I was sure that my identity struggles and career struggles would take care of themselves. My peers and I eagerly went off to college and pursued different paths, but for some reason, I never seemed to find my path as quickly as I thought I would. I changed majors three times, had a slight identity crisis, dealt with some major points of grief, and spent most of my early twenties figuring out what I would finally finish up my college degree with. Throw in some odd jobs, financial aid stresses, family issues, and you’ve got an equation that comes out equal to a seriously lost individual.
By age 25, I had finally graduated with a degree I was happy with and passionate about: nutrition science. Even though I left college with a mountain of student loan debt, I was certain that I’d find a job and that things would just take care of themselves. Guess what? That didn’t happen. In fact, I spent the next two years looking for a job and feeling incredibly lost in life. Where had things gone wrong? What specific decision led me here?
If you’ve ever found yourself in these shoes or felt lost at some point in your life, don’t worry. Things do finally work themselves out and you’ll see the pieces of life start to come together within a few years. To help you get there much quicker than I did, here are a few tips I’d suggest anyone follow.
1. Don’t Let Your Major and Possible Job (Current or Future) Define You
Many times in our twenties, we have to work jobs that might not be what we set out to do with our lives. That’s okay. Don’t worry about your job defining who you are. If you feel you need to make a change, then by all means, do it. Don’t be afraid to go after your dreams, but also don’t worry if you have to work a few crummy jobs to make ends meet. In the meantime, when you’re off work, be sure to explore activities of all kinds that you’re passionate about, no matter how small they may seem. Doing this will often lead you to a career area you might be able to look into at some point. You’ll also be able to deal with life a little bit easier when you are participating in something you’re passionate about.
2. Try Your Best to Let Go of Past Failures
Whether it’s a job, relationship, school program, or anything else that just didn’t go like you planned, try your best to let it go. You can’t take it with you, but you can let it make you stronger and smarter. Don’t let your past define your future, always look ahead and just keep stepping forward. This makes you feel more accomplished and able to approach things that come your way with a new mindset. Failure and regret get you nowhere, but taking one step, day by day in a new direction, does.
3. Don’t Let Anyone Define Who You Are
It’s very easy to get caught up in relationships with friends, family, and partners during our twenties that end up making us dependent on others for happiness. Do your best not to let this happen. Having a strong sense of self is important for helping you not feel lost in life, and if something was to ever happen to one of these relationships, you’d be stronger for always being yourself. Don’t let others define who you are and what you want to do with your life. Be yourself and always remain true to you—no matter what.
4. Be Smart With Your Finances
This step is often hard for many people in their twenties when jobs can go up and down and debt often starts to pile up. No matter how little money you make, be smart with it. Remember that you don’t need to have the newest of everything, and minimalism is highly underrated. Being smart with your finances will give you an internal confidence and also help you be in a better condition if something unexpected happens in your future. If you don’t make enough money or are already having financial problems, try to find a side job or evaluate your spending right now to see how you can improve things. Look into free budgeting tools online and through mobile apps that can help you with this.
5. Reach Out to Others
It might also be helpful for you to reach out to others who are older than you and let them act as mentors during this time of confusion and loss. Not many people had their entire lives figured out at 25, so take advice from a variety of people and think about their experiences. This doesn’t mean you have to take all of their advice or repeat their choices, but insight from others can create new perspectives and possibly even new ideas that may lead you towards a better path.
Remember that no one gets an award at age 30 for having a perfect life, so if you’re in your mid-twenties and sweating things, don’t worry: it’s alright to feel lost at 25 or any other age. For more inspiration that may help you get through your twenties a bit easier, consider trying these 20 Things Highly Successful People Do in Their Twenties.
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