You Are Deciding Your Life (Right Now). ~ Jennifer Boatright

Via Jennifer Boatwrighton Jul 22, 2013

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Twixsters, Ka-dults, Post-Adolescents—whatever term one chooses to use, they all represent the same idea, which is that of a twenty-something individual.

I can honestly say that yes, I do fall into this category as a 25 year old single and independent female.

According to research, the brain caps off its second and last growth spurt during the years of one’s twenties. It is at this time, that the brain rewires itself for adulthood…preparing for “real” world events such as jump-starting ones career, tying the knot with that special someone, purchasing a home and creating a family.

All of these life changing events happen in such a short period of time, but why? Why must we make these life-altering decisions when we, 20-somethings, haven’t fully explored who we are as individuals? Are we scared? Scared of what, though—time, opportunities that may never come again, living up to society’s expectations or even meeting the demands of our parents/grandparents/friends?

As I scroll down my news feed of today’s most popular social media network—yes, Facebook—I am constantly reminded that I am unlike many of my 20-something “friends.” I am far from being married for I am not even in a committed relationship. Dating for 20-somethings is almost like playing the game of musical chairs for we are all running around having “fun.”

Once the music stops and we are left without a chair, does the “fun” end there? For me, it does not. I sit off to the side and observe. I observe the others who are still playing the game in hopes that they, too, do not find themselves without a chair (or in this case, a soul-mate).

I often wonder about these 20-somethings who have stopped playing the game—the ones who have tied the knot with their “life-long” partner, their forever best friend. In the years to come, will they look back and think to themselves that they have married the chair that was closest to them because they were afraid of being left standing alone? Possibly.

Should one feel guilty for not conforming to society’s expectations? If one has not started a career, tied the knot with that special someone, purchased a home and/or started a family of one’s very own by a certain age—mid to late twenties—will one be able to survive in this demanding society? Of course!

I am, like 15 percent of the U.S. population, a twenty-something. With that being said, I feel as though this is the most influential decade in one’s life. It is at this time, where astounding experiences occur. We begin to explore more in depth who we are as individuals, who we want to become, where we hope our lives take us and the ways in which we can make a difference in today’s materialistic world.

The biggest step in fulfilling this process is to completely forget about society’s expectations and to begin to invest in identity capital.

When I say that we, 20-somethings, need to invest in identity capital, I am referring to the fact that we need to find something that is going to add value to who you are as an individual and invest in who you want to become next. For me, this step of investing identity capital has been an astonishing experience that will continue throughout the upcoming decades of my life—30′s, 40′s, 50′s and further.

Over the course of five months, I have really begun to explore myself in a variety of ways—ways that I had always dreamt of improving myself as a whole. Deciding to become vegetarian was the first life-altering decision that I made during this process of exploring who I am and who I want to be. By making this decision, I received a vast amount of criticism and laughter from my family members as they each thought this decision was possibly the “stupidest” decision one could ever make.

Ignoring their opinions and standing firm with my decision, I now feel healthier and energized each and every day. What type of person would I be had I let their remarks change my decision? I would not be my own individual and therefore, I would be living my life for others rather than myself. As a 20-something, this is an extremely hard concept to grasp as we are continuously seeking to please others.

During this same period of time, I have explored different religions, primarily Buddhism, as well as the practice of both yoga and meditation. I feel as though these go hand-in-hand with each other as their central focus is being in the present moment—not allowing your mind to wander to the past nor the future. As with my decision to become vegetarian, these three decisions also received a great deal of negative remarks from my family members as they are not the “typical” behavior that my family expects.

Through this new way of living, I feel as though I am becoming my own twenty-something individual who is not afraid of what others have to say about my views or way of life. At this point in time, I am mindfully choosing who and what I want in my life. The decisions that I have made thus far have impacted the way in which I view life as a whole, and for this, I am beyond grateful to have learned this concept at such an early age—yes, early—the age of a single and independent 20-something.

When I think of myself and many other 20-somethings, I am reminded of airplanes—airplanes leaving the LAX airport, bound for somewhere out west. Right after an airplane takes off, a slight change (decision) in course is explored. Whether one is landing in Alaska or Ecuador, we have made the choice of our final destination. We explore all of the possible destinations and the steps in which we need to take in order to arrive at that long-awaited location.

This is just like our lives in that every decision we make will determine our future.

Twixsters, Ka-dults, Post-Adolescents, Twenty-Somethings. This is the prime of your life, a time in which you are able to explore who you are and who you want to become for your remaining life. It is at this time when we can make those life-altering decisions—decisions that will help us to grow physically, emotionally and mentally.

At this time, you are the only one who is responsible for the steps in which you need to take to determine your final destination.

You are deciding your life right now.

 

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Asst. Ed: Linda Jockers/Ed: Bryonie Wise

Photo: via Pinterest

About Jennifer Boatwright

Jennifer Boatright is a yogi, vegetarian and life-long learner who resides in North Carolina with the love of her life, Ginger, a four-legged creature who has taught her so much about life. When not on the mat, Jennifer can be found laughing, educating the future generations and running/hiking with her dog. She is a lover of simple things.

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7 Responses to “You Are Deciding Your Life (Right Now). ~ Jennifer Boatright”

  1. Joy says:

    Hi Jennifer, thank you for sharing such a beautiful story… I am also a twenty something, single, independent, vegetarian and student of yoga (living in western australia)… well done on pursuing your own path and finding yourself! Your words have made me feel better and more confident about my own life decisions… thank you, peace and love xxxxx

    • jboatri1 says:

      Joy~

      I am so glad that my story was able to reassure you about your life and the decisions that you have/continue to make!! It's also comforting to know that there is another individual who is so similar to myself :-) Always remember to live your life for yourself….do what makes YOU happy…..LOVE and embrace each moment…..even the hard times. Keep living on my twenty-something friend!

  2. Aigul says:

    Hello Jennifer, your article resonates with my life as well. And my description is almost the same as with the above poster. Though I'm from Almaty, Kazakhstan. Yeah and I also feel lots of society expectations on me while I'm trying new paths and failing some of them. I'm in search and in uncertainty, but with lots of determination and dreams.

    • jboatri1 says:

      Aigul-

      Thank you so very much for taking the time to read and comment on my article! As we go about our life on a day to day basis, we must remember that we need to be living for ourselves. Yes, it may seem a bit selfish, but we cannot allow society and their expectations to determine the way in which our life is meant to be lived. I hope that you stay strong in your life decisions and keep your dreams big!

  3. Barbara says:

    I'm not a 20 something i'm a 40 something who conformed, who took the path most traveled. By age 23 i had traveled the world met a man and had a baby… I thought it had to be done that way.. but allowing others to chart your course is never good and others expectations are burdens we don't have to carry. Live and learn, laugh and cry…fall in love and then get broken…get lost in a foreign city, get terrified, get clam. Don't miss a second of it.

    • jboatri1 says:

      Barbara-

      I must say, that I really love the phrase that you used in your comment…."I thought it had to be done that way". Seeing this, I am a little worried that a lot of the current twenty-somethings in today's society will be saying the same thing in several years. But, those are their choices and I do hope that they love every minute of their lives!

  4. Emily says:

    I couldn't agree more, Barbara. I am also nearing 40, and wish i had come across this piece in my twenties. A very important message, indeed.

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