Do You Feel ‘Lost’? Here Are Simple Ways To Navigate Your 20s
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Ahh, the great quarter-life crisis. Let’s face it, if your life was on Waze, the navigation voice would have “Recalculating” on loop. You may feel lost, metaphorically. Most likely, you’ve re-navigated a little on your path through teens and twenties. And that lead to a little status anxiety.
But we are for the arguments that it’s okay to change the goal posts once in a while to help you traverse the paths that is life. “Falling prey to ‘shoulds’ is a negative way to run your life – you’re always going to fall short,” explained psychologist Jacqui Manning. So take a chill pill if your priorities are shifting.
Just live IN THE MOMENT
Got unrealistic expectations? This can leave you in a constant cycle of anxiety of always having to chase that carrot. “You can end up finding that you’re never happy in the moment,” Jacqui said. “People often get into the mindset ‘When I have X, I’ll do Y… and then I’ll be happy’. But the problem with this is that you don’t realise that your emotional state or who you are isn’t dependent on what you have, but is something that you have control over, no matter where you’re at in life.”
It’s Ok To Be Single and #SelfPartnered
Unfortunately, for many women, they think the elusive ‘X’ is finding their real-life Chris Hemsworth. “I felt this deep desire to settle down by 27,” said Danielle*, an advertising manager, who is now 31. “My ovaries almost hurt from how badly I wanted children, and I became a dating machine in the pursuit of that.”
Four years on, Danielle says she feels lucky that she never found Mr Right Now in her late twenties. “If I’d met someone, my judgement would’ve clouded on just having a baby and it might not have been the right decision. These days, my life is very different. I’m independent and have more confidence in who I am. My life is full.”
And therein the magic lies: You have to be kind to yourself You have to be kind to yourself — sometimes trying to stay in control saps all the fun out of the journey.
focus on you Before Anything
Like Danielle, Jasmine*, a producer and blogger, had set herself a ‘married by 28’ milestone. But as it crept closer, her mindset changed. “As I approached my ‘deadline’ I realised I wasn’t prepared to do that,” Jasmine recalled. “In my job, the hours can be pretty crazy and I started taking my blogging pretty seriously, which didn’t leave time for dating. If I had settled down, my career wouldn’t be on the trajectory it would be right now.” Ultimately? Rather than having finite goals, make the aim about you staying healthy and sane.
your own worst enemy is…
Sure, your worst enemy is yourself. We are the ones lumping ourselves with this massive weight of expectation, getting rid of it starts with, well, ourselves. So the first step? Eradicate “I should…” from your vocabulary. “Acknowledge all your wins and successes. This is more productive than falling prey to a toxic ‘should’.” Take time to listen to yourself, take a moment and really listen to your inner voice. “You only get one shot at life, so choose the path that makes you happy,” said Manning.
* This story was previously published in CLEO Malaysia in 2018