Sunday, August 22, 2010

Our Great Struggle

In such a timely and coinciding fashion, I came across a link on Facebook (breaking my own rules about avoiding the site) posted by a friend's older sister. She wrote something to the effect of, "Not sure if it's a relief or a worry that according to this article, I am just like every other 20-something." Her note immediately caught my eye (this was literally one day after I registered with "20-Something Bloggers).

The New York Times article entitled "What Is It About 20-Somethings" explores the emerging scientification of our age group. Meaning, that just like puberty, mid-life, or seniority, "emerging adulthood," as it is being coined, is a viable and documented final stage of brain development. Author Robin Henig, along with the scientists, theorists, and 20-somethings she interviews, explores and confirms the idea that people in this age group face a contradicting time: one that says you can do whatever you want, but one that gives you so many options, it's hard to pick just one. And if you do pick one, sometimes you fail, sometimes you succeed, but a lot of times we (20-somethings) are just so confused or excited by all the options, we can't seem to be able to stay committed to anything.

Picture courtesy of newyorktimes.com

I felt much like my friend's sister did. I was comforted by the fact that many people my age, and scientists can confirm, feel just about as lost yet excited and hopeful as I do. But I was also frustrated. One, because it means that I am not unique (boooohooo...). And two, what should we be doing to get on the path to happiness?

I'm often of the mindset that we should do whatever we can to move forward--meaning, we should always be looking for the next experience, if it's a new job, a graduate degree, meeting new people. But this course of action leaves me feeling empty and exhausted after a while: doing all the things I think I'm supposed to do, the things I think I will regret if I don't, the things I think other people want me to do (or even to do for themselves). And I want these things, but they aren't doing the trick. Meaning, after a while, I can't help but think: "I'm doing all the right things, I look good on paper, but I don't feel any different or more 'Me.'" So I think it's time to stop. Time to start enjoying life for the uncertain time that it is. Because sooner or later, it will be all too certain.

For now, I am going to relax, slow down, and accept my fate as a 20-something. And just be.

5 20-somethings just being somethings at Lolla, 2010

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