Wednesday, January 16, 2013

20 Everything.

You had to know I would follow up my 20 Something, with a 20 Everything, right?  As I've continued to work my way through this book I've been putting a great amount of thought into what 'everything' is, especially in your twenties.  I will turn 28 later in 2013 and as I near the last part of my 20s I think I've already run my way through the gauntlet of the quarter-life crisis from friendships, finances, firsts, and well, expectation hangovers as Hassler so perfectly describes them.

But as I find myself now, 27, a homeowner with a steady career and a balanced set of old and new friendships I find that I've redefined what 'having it all' might be for me.  Perhaps I did most of that by finding out what it is not.  20 everything isn't about money.  It isn't tangible career success (though that doesn't hurt). It isn't how you look.  It isn't who you know, what you get invited too, your significant other, or your social media popularity.  It isn't more: stuff, people, places, or things.

20 Everything probably looks different for each person and for me it's been been a million little things.  It's been moving back to the city that feels like home.  It's been learning to allow myself a few mistakes now and again.  It's been traveling, seeing, experiencing, and being.  20 Everything has meant being an aunt.  It's been sleeping on an air-mattress til I could afford furniture in my first home.  It's been clipping coupons, tackling debt, and finding my footing.  It has been falling in and out of love.  20 Everything has been big victories, tough losses, high highs, and low lows.  It has been a roller coaster but a worthwhile ride. 20 Everything has been finding my own voice outside of others opinions and expectations.  It has been the big, small, hard, easy, perfect, and chaotic moments of the best decade yet.

Hassler perfectly outlines the struggles we all face in this phase to meet our own expectations and to live up to who our parents, professors, bosses, and friends all thought we'd be as well.  Our 20's are a battle to set up the life we want from here on out.  They are hard work and sometimes crushing disappointments.  But they can be the most rewarding years of our lives.

I for one wasn't sad to leave the college years behind in favor of adulthood.  These past four years have truly been the best yet and I expect it to keep getting better every year.  I've done some of your typical hard 20-something sacrifices like a second job til I paid off school and my car as well the ramen noodle diet when I spent my first few paychecks on clothes instead of budgeting.  In the end though, I wouldn't trade a moment of the struggle to find myself.  Every second has been worth it to get to this, today.

20 Everything is different for each of us but I would argue that most of finding it is realizing that the journey its self is the biggest part.  It's not a place to arrive at, it's the process of getting there.  It truly is the best decade yet.


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