What do you want to be when you grow up?
If you asked my 15-year-old self she would give you a straight answer. Ask my 18-year-old self and she will tell you she’s gearing herself towards one specific goal. But if you ask me now, all I can tell you is that I do not know anymore.
This can be existential dread that comes with being a 20-something or I lost all hope and motivation the moment I graduated. Whatever the answer is, it’s not the same as it was four or five years ago.
The Real World is Different From What’s Promised
The job market sucks, employers withhold your benefits, and you are expected to hold down a job for more than a year or two in spite of low wages and a toxic environment. They look at the jumps on your resume more than the reasons for it. Freelance and project-based works sound like freedom until you look at your bank account, so you are left to wonder how you are supposed to survive.
The real world is filled with disappointment and expensive needs we have to afford –including a roof over our heads. When people say Millennials are demanding, they should take one good look at why we want so much. It is because of the state we are left with, to fend off on our own, and find a job to achieve Generation X’s white picket fence dreams.
Though, if we are being honest our dreams are now limited to a bank account which will never go empty.
Where I am now and lost on where to continue
Earlier this year I have accepted I have no purpose in life. I was ready to accept a 9 to 5 routine at any job which would present itself. Then slowly losing the hope which once burned inside me. It felt like there was nothing I could do to change anything because there will always be a curveball hitting me in a different direction.
Ask me ten years ago where I would see myself now, she would tell you things like an editor of a magazine or a journalist heck maybe a screenwriter. Basically, my 13 year-old-self had more determination than my present-day self. She believed she had some sort of creative calling.
How I wish I was still blinded from the world.
But even though I have accepted the meaning of nothing, I still deny it. I try my best to find some sort of significance to everything I do. Looking at coincidences mistaking them as fate and signs that maybe there’s still that creative spark. Maybe I can write a sentence I might actually like. Perhaps a verse or two which didn’t take two weeks to write.
It is a shock I even got a job which involves writing. Now, I’m sitting in an office filled with creative minds while mine runs dry, with a blank document and three empty deadlines.
Where have all my dreams gone?
At some point in your life, you will feel trapped. Maybe not in your 9 to 5 job or the routine that comes along with it, instead you feel trapped on the dozens of “what if” moments you fall asleep with.
There will be nights you lay on your bed wondering whatever happened to the list of goals and dreams you had when you were a kid. You’re only 23 and already you feel like you’ve accomplished nothing or gave up trying.
Then there is that moment when you realized you had no dreams in the first place. You graduated feeling hopeful until it was time to send out resumes, there you realized you have no idea what to do or what to pursue. It is either met with a million options or a limited number of opportunities.
Right now, I accept whatever opportunity which comes my way hoping it will not bite me in the ass. I have no clear goal in mind neither do I have an inkling of what I think I could want. Gone were the days where being in publishing was an option, instead, I ride along with whatever comes next hoping it will be my “calling.”
Your 20s are made to make mistakes
We are not expected to know how adult life works yet. No one in their 20s understands what they are doing, most are just cruising along with the illusion of contentment and social media posts.
Some believe they are running out of time because they set an expiration date for their goals and dreams. Meanwhile, some have no clue on what their future looks like because even their present is muddled. Then there are others waiting for destiny, some sign from the universe which will lead them to their true lives.
Let’s be honest, our twenties does not have a cohesive narrative –no signs, no universe, and definitely no path lined up for us. Most of the time it’s a confusing and frustrating turn of events based on impulsive choices, many of which took a lot of anxiety to plan out.
No one has their life together during their twenties, it is, however, paved with mistakes to help us grow. Mistakes to help us realize what our future could look like even if the vision is not exactly clear yet.
To my fellow 20-somethings who feel like shit has already hit the fan, hold on a little longer. We won’t be 20 forever.