View this post on Instagram
Growing up, I always pictured life in rose-colored glasses.
Graduate from school, get that university degree, get the perfect job, marry young, and have a family.
I’m 26 now, and I can assure you that life is certainly not that structured, and I blame my expectations on society.
Throughout the years, I’ve learned things the hard way—things that I wish someone had taught me growing up:
1. You might not start off with the right major. With the lack of guidance high school students are given, it is only normal to sometimes choose the wrong major. It is not the end of the world if you started out as an economics major and shifted to English literature. I personally first registered in architecture school then shifted to economics after only one semester. I have a master’s degree in Financial Risk Management, yet a passion for academia.
2. You might not be in a stable relationship at 25. Society has created a threshold age of 30, beyond which you are considered a failure if you don’t have a serious partner. Well, some people have other goals in life. Some want to travel solo in their 20s, some want to focus on their careers, some don’t want a relationship at all, and some simply did not find a partner yet. Whatever your reason is, it is valid.
3. Adult acne is real. Acne might not disappear after teenage years. Even with a 10-step skin care routine, skin might still break out. Where do you think stress and hormones pile up?
4. You might suffer from undiagnosed mental health issues, and it’s okay. Mental health has been a taboo for a long time, and it wasn’t until recently that societies started to open up and talk about it. If you might need professional help, reach out and don’t suppress it.
5. Life is hard, and the bad days are numerous. Whether you are a yoga instructor or a financial consultant, life will hit you hard sometimes, and almost always, you will need to take the hit gracefully. Failed interview? You need to prepare for another one. Period cramps? You need to take the medications, take a day off (if possible), and get back to work as soon as you can. Failed relationship? You need to cry yourself to sleep for a week, then move on. Point is you need to pick yourself up.
6. You might not like your job. The workload might be meant for two but is given to one. Your boss might be horrible. Your coworkers might be the mean, competitive type, and your salary might be peanuts. So, what do you do? You look for another job. But let me be the one to break it to you: even if you are working your “dream job,” it will not always be a dream. Extra hours, long emails, and endless meetings exist. Whatever field you choose to work in, you will need to separate between your work and personal life; otherwise, work anxiety will eat you up.
7. Perfect health rarely exists, and working out is not a magic potion. Yes, exercising is extremely important, but some of us have to live with chronic illnesses. And guess what? It’s okay. At some point, you will need to find a way to incorporate your illness into your everyday life. Adjusting your lifestyle to your body rather than society’s expectations does not mean you are a failure. If your backache doesn’t permit you to go on tough hiking trails, find a more back-friendly sport such as swimming.
8. “Quitting is for losers” is bullshit. Sometimes, quitting will save your time and energy. Not everything is for everyone, and not everyone is for everything. When I was an undergraduate student, I started training with a start-up educational company. I did not like the work, nor was I convinced of the mission, but my ego did not want to “quit.” Then one day, I was chatting with a professor of mine, and I brought up my dilemma. I remember he asked me two questions:
>> Does the work add value to your life?
>> Do you see yourself with the start-up five years from now?
And my answer for both questions was no. From that day, I learned the difference between giving up and finding myself through quitting.
It’s a hard pill to swallow, but adult life is not a movie. “Emily in Paris” does not exist, and chasing your dreams and passions does not expire at 25.