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Embracing 24: Navigating Twenties Without A Script

by Esmeralda Tamayo

The opinion pieces expressed in this publication, The Montclarion, are those of the author(s). They do not claim to reflect the opinions or views of the The Montclarion, other than Editorials written by The Montclarion Editorial Board staff.

Embarking on the rollercoaster ride of your twenties might not be like the fairy tales you grew up watching. No prince charming awaits, and landing your dream job straight out of college is rare.

While social media paints a glossy picture, the truth lies in the challenges of navigating the ambiguous waters of your twenties—discovering your identity, embracing new challenges, accepting failures, and managing evolving relationships.

Your twenties are not about having it all figured out by 20 or needing to finish by 30.

In recent years, early adulthood has been characterized as a period of volitional identity exploration that involves “trying out various life possibilities and gradually moving toward making enduring decisions.”

This phase prompts relentless overthinking about the future, occasional loneliness in the journey of self-discovery and the responsibility of adulting. From filing taxes to building credit, the demands of independence become apparent.

Entering your twenties also brings the quest for lasting love. Platforms like Tinder may make finding “the one” feel like a nightmare.

In Roberta Woodworth’s engaging podcast, “Navigating Your 20s: Challenges and Expectations,” she explores the rollercoaster of experiences that come with being in your twenties.

Woodworth sheds light on the challenges of being in your twenties, where individuals often feel the weight of expectations that have been building since their teenage years. The podcast highlights how it is pretty normal to feel the stress of trying to figure everything out during this transformative time.

To make things relatable, Woodworth uses a simple and relatable metaphor – bread – to explain the complexities of love. Think of a bakery filled with all kinds of bread. You might be attracted to a seemingly perfect bagel, everyone cheering you on to go for it. But, just like a donut missing something in the middle, that seemingly perfect person might not be the complete match.

She also compares this to gluten-free bread, which has some similarities to the love you are seeking but unfortunately falls short. The podcast suggests that there are plenty of options in the “bakery” to explore and taste. If you are lucky, you might find the perfect one. It captures the weighty and sometimes stressful journey of finding the right match in your twenties.

Navigating the job market for that perfect job and the income you’re aiming for can be quite a challenge in your early twenties. It often feels like people do not take you seriously or try to capitalize on your perceived “inexperience.” In my professional journey, I have encountered labels like “the young teacher” and “young lady.”

This reality has pressured me into projecting a consistently serious demeanor to earn the respect of my colleagues. It’s a struggle to be perceived as credible and deserving of respect in a world where youth is sometimes equated with a lack of experience.

Looking back at my age, I am now 24, and it is surprising how quickly time passes. I find myself married to my prince charming, a twist I did not foresee since marriage was not in my plans. I am currently on the job hunt for the right fit, I am okay with taking my time.

Learning to appreciate the present, I am focusing on my achievements without dwelling too much on the future or the “what ifs.” I have grown tired of comparing myself to others and am proud of who I am, hoping you all are too.

The truth is, our twenties come without a script. To ease the weight of future uncertainties, I find solace in a guiding quote: “We often rush to grow up, tired of our childhood yet yearning for carefree youth. We sacrifice health for money, only to spend money to regain well-being. Lost in worries about the future, we forget to enjoy the present.”

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