26: Growing Up or Growing Old?

Being 26 is weird. Twenty-five was a scary milestone for me as you might have seen in last year’s blog post because I felt like it was a point in my life where I should have something figured out (if not everything). It’s a time in your life when half the world is telling you that you’re old, and the other half is telling you that you have all kinds of time to figure things out. At 26, I feel like I can say with some conviction that both parties are wrong.

I’ve come to find that in your mid-twenties, if you haven’t figured out your life yet, you’re not doomed. But there is also still a sense of urgency. You don’t have all the time in the world. In fact, you never did even if it felt like that as a teenager. Now is the time to fully embrace the skills and talents and aspirations and dreams that you have and MAKE something.

I’m still struggling in the “self-esteem” and “self-doubt” areas of adulthood though. I’m not sure if most of us ever really escape those problem areas, but I think I need to at least find a point of self-satisfaction and the ability to believe in myself in order to become successful at anything. What’s frustrating to me is that I spent another year not making the changes that I want to see in my life. Part of it was fear. Part of it was a lack of opportunities. Part of it was indecisiveness on my part.

Your mid-twenties is chaos at its finest.

I see the people who seem like they have it worked out. And if you talk to them they would probably say they don’t, but in comparison they at least know for now where they’re headed in life. I think that’s what’s so frustrating to my generation. Those of us who are unmarried and don’t have kids and are working a less-than-ideal job yearn for that sense of purpose and a well-planned future we were told about as children which is looking more and more like a fairytale every day. We want purpose. And a future. And guidance. But instead we’re met with either criticism or coddling.

It’s quite frustrating.

But where do we go from here? I’m 26 now. I want to say “This will be the year I make the changes!” But I’ve said that and it hasn’t happened for two years now. What would make this year any different? Exhaustion and sheer desperation?

Making changes is hard. Figuring out what it means to be an adult seems impossible. Loving yourself amid the failures is the hardest.

Twenty-six is a near year. A new age. A new leaf to turn over. And I hope when I do my yearly review of this blog post in 2017 when I’m 27 that I can smile and say “Haha! I beat you self-doubt! I beat you lack of self-esteem! I made the changes! I found happiness and self-satisfaction and hope!”

And if I can’t say that I hope that I’ve at least found something satisfying for my soul. Perhaps all my wildest dreams aren’t meant to come to fulfillment, but I hope that I can find a sense of peace and purpose in what I’m doing even if it’s different than what I had imagined.

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