I have been reflecting back on my twenties as I am just a week away from turning thirty. I have decided to republish a few pieces that I wrote on past blogs that represented monumental milestones for me. I have edited the piece. I am amazed and even a bit embarrassed when readings some of my old blog and journal entries if only because I have matured.
This entry is in response to something one of my internet buddies wrote on Facebook. Her post was about 20s anxiety. You know, starting out and establishing yourself as an adult. We all know what it is. Here is my response:
Your post struck a nerve. I have been feeling the same way lately. I am also 24. I live with roommates (in NYC we have to until we’re 45 because rents are so high), have my Master’s degree, a new 2008 look, and recently got a new job. But somehow that is not enough. I am in a constant state of panic thinking that I should be making $40,000 by now, be on the way to a down payment on a condo, have a boyfriend already, and a circle of girlfriends (I have no close female friends.)
A lot of my friends have taken a very casual approach to their future still not knowing what they want to do at age 25 or older. Meanwhile, I’m constantly thinking, “Oh, my God. I need to have my condo by age 30, a retirement fund, and a great career.” I am constantly falling asleep worrying about my future. My friends tell me to lighten up, but just thinking about it is often enough to keep me awake all night or to a panic attack. I look at a lot of my friends and want to scream, “Quick, time is running out- get your life together!”
In the next 3 months I hope to move out of my current residence into a place of my own (working on that, looks halfway feasible), making permanent at my job (I’m a temporary employee implementing a program) and maybe getting into a higher pay scale, starting to network and meet new friends, and starting my savings for a condo. I hope to have a down payment by age 26.
No, Norma, you are definitely not crazy. I think a lot of people have these same fears that we do but they are less verbal about them than we are and take it easy as a result. I believe that our generation is facing a lot of issues that previous ones have not. A college degree is the new high school diploma, Master’s degrees are a dime a dozen, people are postponing marriage and children, you almost surely need a two-income household to get by if you are, and real estate prices are unreachable for us in most places. Who would have thought it’d take me four months to get a job here in NYC with a Master’s degree? Who would have thought that with a job and degree that I’d still be struggling to find an apt. I can afford?
A trip shall be in order for you. Last year at this time I was kind of lost. In Colombia I had a lot of time to travel and think things over. I got a whole new perspective on how I should live my life over there. I feel more settled now because living there was a big goal of mine. I sometimes wonder what could have been if I’d stayed, but I’m seeing how things go here. I would advise you go somewhere completely alone for a week or two. Go to another country or somewhere very different from you’re used to. That way nobody is distracting you and all that exists is you, yourself, and your thoughts. That may straighten a few things out and if nothing else, you’ll feel more relaxed when you come back.
But I think that a lot of your fears and concerns are all of our fears and concerns in our 20s. Being in a circle of 20-somethings can be stressful because we are like balls of anxiety. I’d also really advise you to talk with friends who are in their late 20s and 30s because they have already gone through this and can give you some insight on how to deal and not be so anxious about the future. We are over that college hump and a lot of people expect that you just graduate, go out into the world, spread your wings, and fly solo but it’s not quite like that. You are always still going to have your doubts but as long as you are working towards something, have goals set for yourself, you will continue to move forward.