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Are Our 20s a Repeat of Our Teenage Years?

Twenties: The age that most teenagers dread. 

And teen years – the time when most of us, in our twenties, want to forget. 

Although both times are filled with milestones, like graduating from high school, moving out, and being admitted to college, they definitely can sometimes feel like a repeat of each other. Surely enough, we are all trying to figure ourselves throughout both stages, and we are all pressured by society to achieve as much as we can. 

Are Our 20s a Repeat of Our Teenage Years?

And sometimes, we feel that we are just a bunch of lost college or high school students especially when…

1. Social media tells us to conform. 

Instagram, Tik Tok, Facebook, Twitter – you name it! They’re all familiar topics from those in their 20s and teenage years, especially those who identify as Gen Zers. In fact, among US adults, 84 percent of social media users are around 18-29 years of age

It is a large age range, but those currently in that age group do tend to use these social applications as a form of interacting with their friends, discovering trends, and keeping up with their favorite celebrities.

Although social media is a relatively new concept, it definitely affects our adulting and adolescence experience. Fashion trends are just as common for teenagers as those in their early 20s, and even celebrity gossip is a widely discussed topic among both age groups as well. 

If you’re experiencing this in your teenage years, it will continue to happen in your 20s as well. Remember, you control what is allowed to enter your thoughts. Especially when it comes to social media.

2. Others ask us about our plan.

According to societal norms, those in their teenage and early adult years should have a rough plan of their career aspirations and future goals. That’s what many assume anyways, and continuously question. 

Although it is not entirely true, the ‘What do you want to become?’ and ‘What are your plans after school?’ questions are the highlights from high school to post-grad years. In fact, the process of applying to colleges, marketing yourself, and trying to get involved in extracurriculars never really stop anyways. They just gradually turn into volunteer experience and networking in adult years. 

People will ask you this when you’re in high school and they’ll ask you it in your 20s too.

3. The need for freedom.

In your teenage years, you may have felt a constant need to rebel, challenge authority, and experience freedom on your own terms. This is mainly due to the brain development process, as the prefrontal cortex gets into the practice of testing boundaries and making decisions

However, the need for independence may also carry on into your 20s as well. At this point, you may be questioning when you can be financially independent, make your own decisions or live away from your parents. You may decide to attend events and choose to opt out of family gatherings in order to feel more independent. And you’re willing to stick to your own boundaries as well. 

4. Job hunting.

Many of us may have started our job hunting process after we celebrated our 16th birthday. I mean, don’t we all remember those good old days of attending job fairs, asking our friends for references, and going to the mall to hand out all of our resumes? But perhaps, those moments set a precedent. 

Job hunting is something you would regularly experience in your twenties as you’re trying to find a position and company that aligns with your values and beliefs. In the next couple of years, you’ll constantly find yourself revising your resume and cover letter just to gain an opportunity for an interview.

Sure, it may have been a headache to look for a job as a teenager, but those headaches will continue as you finish your academic journey. 

Your job hunt will continue for a while so you might as well take advantage of the practice early on.

5. Looking for a relationship.

High school is also the time associated with teenage relationships, prom nights, semi-formals and if you were lucky, finding your own high school sweetheart. But the need to find the right partner and to be with someone will continue later on. Sure, high school relationships are not as serious, but once you reach your twenties, the need to be in a relationship may pressure you. 

In fact, many college students sign up on a dating website, and try their best to find an online partner. Some may want a committed relationship, and others may not. But the bottom line is that the need to be with someone and to vent to them does not stop after you graduate from high school, but will continue once you reach adulthood. 

6. Trying to make friends.

Teenage years mark the time when you want to make friends with a new group that you never imagined, or find interests that belong to a specific group of people. You may find yourself switching friend groups every so often, as you want to find a place where you feel belonged and respected for your own beliefs. 

However, the need to make friends, similar to the need to have a relationship, will continue on into your early adulthood years. In fact, you may even feel more lost as you meet new people and discover more about the world. Some people even speculate that as soon as you turn 18, you will meet a lot of temporary people up until your mid 20s. 

As a result, friendships are important as a teenager and an early adult, even if it may be difficult to find the right one. 

7. Discovering who you are.

Throughout your teenage years, you may begin to discover some characteristics about yourself that you never imagined as a kid. You may feel an affinity towards rock or hip hop music, and you may begin to experiment with different types of activities, including sports or drawing. You imagine that by your early 20s, you will have an idea of who you are and continue with the hobbies you enjoyed as a teenager. 

But once you are in your 20s, you will realize how much you changed and how much of it was unexpected whenever you think about your teenage years. Surely, we are affected by what we are exposed to. But as your experiences change, you will find out more about yourself than you imagined before. 

That growth does not only happen and stop after your teenage years, but will continue. 

What To Remember During Your Teenage and Early Adulthood Years:

Although we may experience similar events throughout these two development periods, we may feel more confused than ever as an early adult. This can be due to many factors, including social media since we are taught to believe that what we see online is a reflection of what our lives should become. 

Therefore, during these years, we may feel isolated and devastated, as we believe that we could achieve so much more. Unfortunately, those of us who went through difficult challenges and events may want to skip and forget about our late teens to early 20s forever. 

However, throughout the challenges, we need to continue to remind ourselves of our aspirations and goals, and realize that we are unique in our own way. Being affected by societal pressure can result in us to conform with the crowd, but at the same time, we should be aware of the never-ending process.

About the Author


Candice is currently attending school for social service work. One of her passions is helping others through my writing. In her downtime, you'll find her listening to music, watching random YouTube videos, and writing about career goals and resumes. She hopes to start freelancing for writing and obtain a leadership position in a public services sector.