Whoever said the 20s were their best years was seriously messed up.
I have friends going overseas for the summer. When they get back, they don't know where they'll work, or even where they'll live.
I have a friend living hours from her fiancé. She's moving soon, but doesn't know where she'll work, or even where she'll live.
I have a friend who just lost her new job because of something silly. She's just gotten married and decided to go back to school, and the loss of a job makes things even tighter than they were.
I have friends buying homes for the first time, or choosing not to buy, because life is too uncertain to put down roots just yet.
I have friends with unexpected honeymoon babies, and friends just getting on the roller coaster of trying for a baby.
The 20s stink.
And where am I in all this? I'm at the realization that getting out of college was not the end of the maze like I thought it might be. There are still new and unknown options at every turn. Which ones lead to dead ends? I don't know. Ask me where I'll be in 5 years, and I have no idea.
The 20s are the years when you notice your knees starting to hurt, you have a little trouble focusing quickly, and you can't keep up in ultimate frisbee. The 20s are the years when you look at accomplished people, realize they're your age, and wonder how you missed that boat. The 20s are the years when you figure out why so many people drink coffee in the morning, because there's no other way you could look like you've got it together when you walk through the office door at 8am.
The 20s are the end of the beginning, and the beginning of the end. They're the end of all the training, all the nurturing, all the care. They're the fall-or-fly, sink-or-swim period where our parents look on with their breath held, hoping and praying that all the choices and turns they made in their own mazes got them to the end result of well-balanced and capable children.
But the 20s are also the beginning. We spread our wings. We soar for the first time in our lives. We make decisions on our own, and as scary as they are, we find we can make good decisions.
We begin to realize our worth as people. We have the faint realization that it's not the youth who can change the world, but us. We are the new business world, the new media, the new society. We are shaping our professions into what they will become. We are shaping society into what it will become.
We are faced with two very clear choices in our maze: the path of mediocrity, or the path of passion. Follow the first, and our world never changes. Follow the second, and there will never be a calm moment in your life.
But then again, the world will never be the same either.
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