After graduating from college, my perception of what life would be like post-graduation couldn’t have been farther from reality. From things like jobs or money coming easily, to the idea that I could still live off of no sleep and junk food was a harsh truth of entering adulthood. I was truly convinced that I was so secure in my career (in actuality, I was laid off from my first job), making friends would be easy and that I would hit all my (self-inflicted) milestones by 25.
If you think about it, many people’s trajectory and friends have been handed to them in the past. Between high school, college, being in a dorm room or a sorority, it’s easy to have to put minimal work into how you fill your day or who your friends are.
The openness of my early twenties caused me to tell so many lies – to myself! The realities were filled with unnecessary pressure and self-doubt. I wish I had a better understanding of what my early twenties would be like, so I could have enjoyed my current situation – rather than fight what was coming my way.
3 Lies I Told Myself In My Early 20s And the Realities That Came With Them
1. Everyone else has it “all” figured out.
Have you ever hopped on social media and thought, “How does everyone else know what they’re doing?” This was me constantly throughout my early twenties.
Although it couldn’t have been farther from the truth, it felt like everyone else knew exactly what they are doing. I was convinced that everyone around me was happy in their job, had a massive group of friends and was out every night, just because that’s what I would see on the internet. The funny reality? No one Instagram’s their Saturday night in alone watching Gilmore Girls!
My attention to everyone else’s highlight reel was dangerous. It created so much self-doubt, so much blame for myself because I truly felt isolated. It’s important to remember that social media is truly a highlight reel, and everyone is a bit lost in their early twenties. It’s an amazing time to learn more about yourself, so the best thing we can do is embrace the unknown.
2. You don’t need to network.
I was thrilled when I got my first job, I had big plans for moving up through the ladder in record time. I had always thought that once you have a job, you have that job until you choose to leave. Besides physically attending my 9-5, I always thought that there was no other effort I needed to put into my career! Boy, was I wrong.
To my surprise, I was laid off from my first ever job – which was a total shock. Not that anyone should live in a state of fear, however, this did teach me to be more diligent in my networking. It’s not like you always need to be on the job hunt, just keeping in touch.
After this experience, I started regularly attending industry events and getting together with people from past companies or friends who had similar jobs to mine. You never know who will refer you to a job in the future!
If you struggle with networking, know that everyone loves talking about themselves – you can easily ask someone in your field for coffee and pick their brain about their job.
3. You should be [insert accomplishment/life stage here] by a certain age.
Whether it was marriage, the size of my apartment or getting to a certain level at work, I thought I would have so much accomplished by the time I was in my mid-twenties. I spent the first half of my twenties worrying about these timelines, doing everything it took to meet them. It took me a while to learn that everyone’s path and the journey can, and should be, different. There’s no need to force yourself to be on a certain route just because it felt like the norm.
For the first time in my life (at 27, finally!), I’m happy with the right now and I wish I could have done this sooner. I had so many unnecessary goals for myself in my early twenties. Telling myself I needed to be a certain level at work, or in a relationship by a certain time was an unnecessary pressure I put on myself! If you could learn to be happy with the right now, while being ambitious towards your next step, you’ll alleviate the unnecessary pressure I had put on.
Graduating from college, it was easy to believe that everything would be simple and natural. The reality is, it’s beautiful that everyone’s path in life is different, it’s what makes us interesting! I challenge you to embrace your own path without preconceived notions in your early twenties.
What are lies you’ve told yourself?! What realities came with them? Comment below, we want to hear!
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