When someone thinks of their 20s, it’s ideally filled with travelling, making mistakes, making loads of friends, experiencing everything, breaking rules, doing things because you’re young, you’re free and because if you don’t do it now, when will you?
But here I am, doing the exact opposite of that.
My name is Sydney. I’m 23 years old. I’m a fully certified Registered Nurse, which took 4 years of school and a massive licensing exam to complete. I have a full time job. Thanks to grants for rural nursing, my schooling is paid off. I fully own my own car. I have a puppy and a hedgehog. I’m in a long term committed relationship and I’m currently looking at buying a house with my partner. Like wow, I’m actually an adult and I’m kind of functioning at a rather acceptable/high level. So why do I constantly feel so inadequate compared to those around me?
Most would call me “level headed” or “on the right track”, but you never hear someone say “Well your 20s are for your mortgage and your 2 jobs to save for your future children’s college fund”. Instead, you hear: “your 20s are to make mistakes, your 30’s are to pay for them.”
Yeah I know, whine, whine, whine, “You’re actually ahead of the game; your life is so hard”, and yeah, I know I sound like a little shit, sue me. But while I’m facing responsibilities of my 30s now, I get to be a little shit because I’m going to be crazy jealous of you.
Yes, you, the one who is going back to school in a new city, or you, the one who is travelling to a new country or touring before starting their “real life”. It’s going to be scary and wonderful and you’re going to meet so many people and experience so many things. Add onto that the fact that you don’t have to have your life figured out right this moment, and for where you are in your life (in your early 20s), that’s totally acceptable. Yet here I am, skipping that entire stage and the security that I never knew I could find there.
Slowly, I’m becoming more okay with it. Do I feel like I’m bypassing an entire passage of life? Sometimes, yes.
Those around me, especially those older than me (for some reason) are there to remind me that I’m “like an old person in a 23 year old’s body”. But you know what, Margaret? Fuck you, you ruined the economy.
And not only that – each person has a different journey. Your 20s are just a group of numbers, and that entire decade can play out however you choose. I don’t have to feel obligated to follow a path that maybe isn’t for me, and neither does anyone else.
If your 20s don’t work out, that’s ok, because your life doesn’t start and end in your 20s. You’ll figure it out, we’ll all figure it out at some point or another; some sooner than others and that’s ok.
Life isn’t a competition, “passage moments” don’t exist. All that exists are moments that make you happy, that make you embrace life and make you feel proud of you.
Sydney is a twenty-something nurse from Canada. Recently she’s trying her hand at being an outdoorsy 20-something in rural Ontario where you may find her playing in snowdrifts and hiding from mosquitoes. Sometimes she’s pretty funny, usually she’s just sassy and swears too much. You can follow her on Twitter, Tumblr or Instagram, if you want her beautiful face to grace your presence.