Wednesday, May 17, 2006

A Call to the Twenty-Somethings

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.


  1. Yes I agree...and to think I still have 8 more years in the 20s. So what are the 30s then? Mid life crisis years? Will I yearn for my 20s when they are gone? Will be interesting to see.

  2. Well, my mom has always said the 30s were much better than the 20s. So there's hope!

  3. Am I the only one sensing the need for a very long vacation? And Karen N, sorry about the job thing, but this way you will be able to spend more fun and random time with your hubby!

    Well, I am just waiting for a few of these things to wrap themselves up...please...for my own sanity? And I think I need a puppy or kitty or both! Just sounds like a good idea, right?

  4. Articulate thoughts; truth discovered. Hang in there, the 20's won't last forever.

    Love you,

  5. I've been hit lately by the hard reality that we will have to work for the next 40 years of our lives AND in order to live comfortably in retirement, we have to start thinking about it and planning for it NOW.

  6. I would love to tell you that it gets better in your 30's, and better still in your 40's, but I can't. I can however assure you that it will be different!

  7. But the 50's are great!!

  8. Yeah...but in your 50s the health problems start kicking in. The 20s may be crazy, but at least I'm not in pain!

  9. Gee, way to be positive Karen! :)

    I think every decade has its blessings and burdens. I just happen to know more about the 20s at the moment than any other. But I'm still enjoying it! It's cheesy, I know, but it's really great to be alive!

  10. Hey, this 20-something wants to read a new post! :-)