Enjoying your twenties yet?
By Chianne Greene, LMSW
They say your twenties are the most enjoyable time of your life. You have little to no responsibilities or obligations and as a result are free to explore all of what the world has to offer. However, what “they” fail to realize is that times have changed. This generation of twenty-year-old, also known as millennials, are managing a lot of internal and external pressures that were not present to generations prior. Millennials are dealing with pressures such as student loan debt, job security, but most importantly obtaining independence. The external pressure can come from going after what “they” think you should have vs. what you want or what is attainable at this moment in time. External pressure can look like a lot of unsolicited advice coming from individuals around you. External pressures can make you feel less than, an underachiever, and can make you want to please those around you instead of being happy for yourself. It can also be annoying and can come at the worst time.
Additionally, internal pressure is the pressure you put on yourself to achieve your desired goals, it can include the feelings of having it all together and figuring it all out with a sense of urgency. Specifically, in your twenties there is a pressure of having it all before you turn thirty and if this isn’t achieved you’ve missed out or it’s too late. Millennials have constructed this idea of becoming an official adult by the age of thirty and if this is not achieved it somehow symbolizes failure. Also, millennials have put a dark cloud over the age of thirty as if once you turn thirty there’s nothing to look forward to. You can accomplish so many other things once you turn thirty and years to come. The reality is age does not define failure or success, age should not be associated with lifetime achievement or a goal indicator.
Both external and internal pressures can cause stress, anxiety, and general feelings of being overwhelmed. The signs of stress and anxiety can include trouble sleeping, constant worrying, a lack of productivity, headaches, among other things. Millennials can have a difficult time recognizing these signs because in time the feelings of stresses, anxiety, and feeling overwhelmed can be normalized. It’s important to pay attention to your body and to recognize the signs when you’re feeling overwhelmed, anxious and stressed. This will be a good time to incorporate more self-care into your routine. Keeping in mind self-care is individualized and there is no right or wrong way to self-care. Self-care can be an extra hour of sleep, less time on social media, yoga, meditation, and a lot of other extracurricular activities. Millennials may have a difficult time acknowledging and accepting these feelings because you’re told constantly told to enjoy this time in your life. The truth is you can enjoy your life in the midst of the pressures you encounter on a daily basis. Additionally, there is no “right” way to live your live before you turn thirty and thirty is not an indicator of success of failure.