Everyone has to make choices, some easier than others. Being in your twenties means having to make decisions that could have a significant impact on your future. Certain choices are a self-defining act, it is a way of expressing personal preference and thereby a way of defining your identity (Blackmun, J.).
But what if I’m not ready to define myself yet? What if my brain hasn’t caught up with my full potential and I’m not capable of making the best decisions for the future me right now?
On the one hand you may be inclined to take your twenties as they come. One could argue that it is not always about the choices that you make, rather it is about your commitment to them. There is no need to take everything so seriously because you can always change directions. Part of being in your twenties means that you can just as easily take on commitments as get out of them. Because most of us do not have a lot of responsibilities yet, we have the freedom to make choices lightly. Some of the decisions that we make may not bring us further in life, but they do make us feel good at the time being. It is this ‘seize the day’ outlook that most of us love and like to hold on to.
On the other hand, being in your twenties means that you are approaching thirty. This means that you have to face certain facts (Dr. Meg Jay):
- 80 percent of life defining moments happen before the age of 35
- the first 10 years of your career have an exponential impact on your future professional life
- most married people in their 30s have met their life partner in their 20s
- female fertility peaks at 28
These statistics might make you rethink the way you spend your twenties. It feels as if the decisions you make today have to be the right ones, because apparently they are going to determine what your future will look like.
It’s time to acknowledge the shades of grey here. Part of being in your twenties means to live somewhat more carefree. Due to the fact that most 20-year-olds do not have a lot of responsibilities yet, now is the time to not over-think everything and just let life happen. That being said, it is also important to take the future you into account. If you wish to build a solid and safe life for yourself, the way you spend your twenties is significant. This may sound more intense than it is. It is about investing in yourself – building identity capital (Dr. Meg Jay). You do not have to have it all figured out, but you have to invest in yourself if you wish to get ahead. Whether it’s following a certain education, getting a job, interacting with different people or perhaps learning from bad choices – it’s all about gaining experience and knowledge. It is this personal capital that will get you further in life.
All things considered, it is essential to let go of tunnel vision. Life is not black and white – it is full of shades of grey. There is not one right path to the ‘perfect’ future you. The most important thing is that you keep exploring, keep discovering what life has to offer and keep going to try and find your way.
Sometimes life can be overwhelming due to the unlimited amount of options. But, who’s to say that this doesn’t also mean that there is an unlimited number of outcomes.