Twenty-six and lost
What it feels like to be twenty-six and lost
I am 26 years old. So at this point, I am truly an ‘adult’ by society’s standards. Honestly, in your twenties, it feels like you are trapped in the middle of two separate identities. Being in your twenties means being immature and choosing fun over work and also being a responsible adult who shows up to meetings twenty minutes early to look good for the manager.
I turn 27 in two months time. I remember graduating from university and I thought I knew exactly what I wanted. I thought I knew exactly where I was going and where I wanted to be. I thought your twenties are supposed to be the best years of your life, that’s what people say. Your twenties are supposed to be the wildest and the most fun years of your life. Well, the world lied to you: your twenties are the hardest years of your life. Everything just sucks in your twenties, you feel like you are doing nothing right.
I think your late twenties are even more anxiety-inducing than your early twenties. In your early twenties, you live in the moment, you know you are young and free. You don’t have any responsibilities, you know you have the time to screw up, you take risks and if things don’t go your way, you know you have the time to make mistakes and start over. In your early twenties, no one expects you to have it together.
Years fly by and you reach your mid-twenties and you are no longer as young as you thought you were. We are taught to believe that your late twenties is when you will see your life come together and by the time you reach 30, you will be on track. You won’t necessarily have everything figured out, but you will have some sort of direction, something going for you. But, what if you don’t?
I turn 27 in two months time and as I sit and scroll through my Instagram, everyone I know seems to be getting engaged, married, are pregnant, buying their first homes and some are even about to give birth to their third child. And me? I’m drinking my fourth cup of coffee and Yolo-ing my way through every day. I’m going insane because I don’t have my life together, I feel like I’m falling behind. I’m nowhere near where I thought I’d be. I’m not the best writer that I thought I would be by the time I reached 27. Instead, life has shown me the worst side of the world from a very young age. I am living proof that a person can see well-adjusted, even capable, while drowning inside. I’d argue that most people are actually doing the same to some degree.
Your mid-late twenties are when shit gets real. Why does no one talk about how hard your mid-late twenties are? Because now, you are trying to make it into the world, it’s really about making the most out of your time and becoming who you are meant to be. These are the years where you are juggling what feels like a million things, you are trying to find yourself a career, financial stability, a relationship and you are also dodging curveballs from every direction. And is it me or does it feel like someone is holding down the fast forward button? Because time is flying by. I wish someone had told me that this whole trying to figure myself out, modern dating, and self-love is super stressful. I need someone to tell me that it’s okay to feel lost and not have any idea what I’m doing with my life in my twenties.
“At 23, JK Rowling was broke. Tina Fey was working at the Y.M.C.A. Oprah had just gotten fired from her first job as a TV reporter and Walt Disney had declared bankruptcy.” Did any of these successful people give up? Nope! These people knew exactly what they were capable of doing with themselves. And we are no different. There is so much more to us than we think right now. We know that there is a better version of ourselves. We just haven’t found it yet.
I know exactly what it feels like to be 26 and lost. And I sure as hell know that it is the worst place on earth.