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