I'm actually a little puzzled about what spin to take on this blog post. Being in my 20's is proving to be a whole new ball game. I remember being told when I was a pre-teen that my teenage years would be the most challenging of my life.
Well, scratch that!
My 20's are redefining and refining the meaning of "challenging"! As a child and then as a teenager, I longed for my 20's. As kids, we all longed for that time when we'd be "all grown up". You know, independent: making our own money, living in our very own apartments and being free to do whatever we pleased outside of our parents' eyes.
And in many ways, now that we're in our 20's and doing most if not all the above, we realise our childhood dreams may have been a bed of roses, but now that we're laying on them, we've began to feel the thorns.
But I'm learning that thorns are the very beauty of blossoming roses. Would roses please and enthral if they didn't have prickly thorns that made the stalk even more delicate to hold? I'm learning that the beauty of our blossoming 20's is that we learn lots of lessons and grow past the thorns of life as we bloom.
In Our 20's:
1. We've experienced loss and it hurts.
A friend of mine lost her Dad today, another his mother just a week ago. Being 20-something means you've most likely lost a loved one; maybe a friend from high school who never graduated college, a grand parent or even a sibling. You've felt loss - harsh, piercing, unraveling, unsolicited and unforgiving. You've had to accept that the pattern of life is riddled with loss. After all, trees do shed their leaves in the fall and nothing, even the finest diamond, is forever. I'm finding that being 20-something is coming to terms with the reality of loss in its cruelest and purest form, and finding the strength to keep moving on.
2. We've made mistakes.
Maybe you dated a guy for four years and it didn't lead to marriage. Maybe you fell into addictive patterns. Maybe you had to drop out of Uni for a while. You've done things worthy of guilt, shame and regret. Big things that you couldn't even whisper to yourself aloud. That's okay. You're human. You're imperfect. I'm learning that the mistakes I made have only refined my character, humbled me and grounded me.
3. We've had major arguments with our family members.
You've probably felt the harsh thorns of leaving the nest. You've disagreed with your parents about your career path or the person your dating. Harsh words may have been exchanged, there may be silence and unspoken anger, there may be deep resentment. Growing up, I'm finding, is being able to form your own opinions and stick by them, even when they may hurt those you love momentarily.
4. We've grown in self-assurance.
Suddenly no one can give you crap! Ha! Trust me, I've had my own share of encounters in which I've given strangers a piece of my mind - raw and unedited. If I don't agree with something, I have the courage to voice my opinions, unapologetically. I'm learning the sound of my own authentic voice and I'm learning to trust it.
5. We've lost some childhood friends.
We've changed. They've changed. You now have an accent. They now got married and have kids. (Story of my life!!) You just don't seem to click with them anymore. They're still clubbing. You're settling into a demanding career. Or maybe you're still keen on a girls' night out, but they can't come because they have little ones who need nursing. I'm learning to accept change. I'm learning to trust that as my path changes, I'll meet new friends who'll walk with me even as I cherish old friendships that brought me to where I am today.
6. We've fallen in love.
Ohh heavens! Let me just take a sip of water before I continue pleeaaassse. Girrlll!!! Now, let me tell you, I'm sitting squarely in this boat. Who knew love could be so powerful? Falling in love in your 20's is nothing close to that flirty, fleeting and innocent teenage love. Suddenly there's a war within me. I want to spend my life with someone. With him. I don't know how. But I am convinced. 20-something love is driven, purposeful, enriching, difficult, consuming, delicate. (Let me just leave this one here. Hmm, anyone feel me on this one pleassseee??)
7. We've started #adulting.
I cannot tell you the number of home decor and furniture shops I've come to know! *Face in both palms* What the heck?! I even say things like "Waow! Those curtains are so beautiful!" or "I need to get some new pots and pans." Say whaattt?!!! Womanhood has come. It is here, sitting on my couch as I type this out. How is it that I notice curtains, fresh fruit and cute crockery?!! *Gasp* What is life? #Adulting is here and it has set up permanent camp. I pay for electricity and water. And believe it or not, I actually mean it when I say "MY kitchen pantry". Oh and no, I don't go out every weekend. In fact sometimes, I'm asleep by 9PM on a Friday evening. (Okay, imma leave this one here too!)
8. We've landed our first real jobs.
You actually are a salaried employee now or (you'll soon be - hang in there with the endless job applications babes!). Your closet may be full of work attire. No more ripped jeans and baggy tees for everyday wear. Now you have a collection of black skirts and you wear 3-inch pointy pumps like the ones your primary school English teacher wore to class!! *Gasp* Yes honey, that is YOU now. Hahaha! (I'm also laughing at myself here!) But heck, it feels good to walk into "the office" everyday. You may be doing low level data entry, maybe even serving coffee to your line manager but guess what? Now you've got your foot in the door. Congratulations on this life milestone!
And so here we are.
Just being 20-somethings. Just making it through. Just learning. Just thriving, and at other times, just surviving.
But guess what, we are making it through.
In spite of all the prickly, precarious thorns.
You and I are blossoming roses.
May we continue to bloom and grow in love and pure sunshine,