Skip to Content

Are you yearning for a future you haven’t yet earned?


The fact that I am not writing this from a well-decorated, two-bedroom Brooklyn apartment after a hard day of work at my challenging and fulfilling (not to mention relatively well-paying) job with a delicious filet of fresh salmon baking in the oven is, honestly, kind of a bummer to me. I hoped that by the age of 24, I would have had the guts (and funds) to move to New York City, the budget to eat well every night, and a career that made me excited to hop out of bed every morning. I thought I would have more travel under my belt, more friends in my contacts list, and a sizable chunk of change in my savings account.

I’m not an idiot, though. I was fully aware that hardly anyone jumps right into their ideal life after college. Despite knowing this, I’ve found the reality a little more difficult to swallow. Something about my post-grad experience in the “real world” reminds me of treading water. I’m staying afloat and my head is above the surface (most of the time), but I’m not going anywhere. I’m able to make ends meet, but I’m not able to go after what I truly want out of my twenties and out of life. As much as I try to avoid it, sometimes it discourages me that I simply can’t afford to live my twenties the way I pictured them.

If you also feel like you’re treading water, realize that, 1) you’re not alone, and 2) you need to quit being such a little bitch.

Okay, that was harsh. But it’s true. No one’s life is 100% ideal, and I guarantee your Facebook friends who seem to have it all together are actually only giving you half of the story. You know the type. They only post flattering pictures from exotic locales, check in at high-end restaurants, and post statuses to brag. I’m telling you right now, these people do not have it all together and their picture-perfect lives are nothing to pine for. In fact, they might have more problems than the rest of us. But, I digress.

What I mean to say is, it’s time to quit feeling down-in-the-dumps if not everything in your life has panned out perfectly. So you don’t have a ring on your finger at 25. So you didn’t get into a top tier law school. So you can’t afford that high-rise apartment. Despite all of that, you are doing fine. You’re okay. The future you once dreamed of doesn’t have to come true in order for you to be happy and fulfilled. You can learn to love each day. You can be happy with something different than your teenage self once envisioned.

You can also use your frustration and pain to fuel your success. Push harder than you ever pushed before to be the best version of yourself. Keep working. Be a genuinely good person. Don’t let setbacks become failures. You can have the future you have always dreamed of, but only after you’ve earned it.

About the Author

Natalee Desotell

Natalee graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2013 with a triple major in Political Science, International Politics & Economics, Languages & Cultures of Asia, and a minor in Global Public Health. After a couple years in the working world, she recently returned to her alma mater to study Cartography and Geographical Information Systems. A self-proclaimed public health nerd, her dream job is to communicate epidemiological information visually through beautiful interactive maps and graphics. She enjoys iced black coffee, punk rock music, and surprising people.