Were my 20s the best years?
I celebrated my 31st this year and my back aches all the time. Sounds about right? Who knows?
When I was 29, I was scared at the thought that I was almost in my 30s. Leaving the so-called “best years of your life.” Whether that involves drugs, sex, and rock n roll or feeling totally vindicated to do anything and everything without restraints.
But after more thought, I realized I was made differently. I was dealt a different hand because my 20s were actually shitty.
College sucked. Although, I did get written down on St. Patrick’s Day from my RA for alcohol in my dorm room. Sounds like a good time to me! I remember I had to present my case to the student dorm council. They “sentenced” me to take an online course about the dangers of alcohol and create a board game about it, which I had to demonstrate to them later. I mean really?
Anyway, what I meant by sucked is that my school was a commuter school. Everyone traveled in for class and then traveled out. I never felt the community feel with a bunch of college kids everywhere – same faces, planning stuff, going out to events or whatnot. It was missing that college feel I imagined or seen on TV.
Furthermore, I studied abroad only to get into a car accident and needing to come back home to undergo surgeries and therapy. This was in the middle years of my 20s and took up all of my energy – physically, emotionally – leaving a huge life changing mark.
This was all I could remember and will always remember about my 20s. Honestly.
Yes, I did have some amazing and grateful moments like being in my first long term relationship with a boy. Moved in with him. Traveled to Europe with him.
Plus graduating college mid surgeries and all. I’ll always be proud of myself for this – sitting in class with my bulky casted arm and with knife cutting pain while learning about the history of dramatic theatre. How is that for torture?
Then towards the end of my 20s, I moved to Los Angeles to pursue acting. This was the time of actively getting back on the horse – all the dreams I had before entering my 20s and for my 20s.
After the accident, my life was on hold. I was basically forced into limbo.
So is There a Light Through This?
Certainly, I’m not the only one whose 20s weren’t exactly textbook standard. Were yours traumatic as well? Not as “fun” or “exciting” as you believed? Did something happen that you never expected and it ended up changing your life forever?
Or maybe it was one wild ride you imagined, but no doubt still dealt with life stained serious drama or terrible heartbreaking incidents like family tragedies.
I believe life in general is required to have ups and downs. I just didn’t expect my early years to go that deep down for a good length of time.
However, I’m happy at how my 20s turned out – traumatic and completely draining rather than wild and feeling free as a bird.
Sounds crazy right?
But I didn’t fully recognize this until I entered my 30s.
My 20s very well prepared me for my 30s. Granted, I still have some figuring myself out to do, yet with a resume and an authentic backstory that lists each and every type of hardship and pain I had no choice to face and overcome; I’d say I’m a pretty darn strong candidate for a new decade.
My 30s or the “adulting” decade I like to call it is an unknown journey. Career opportunities, relationships, family matters, etc. But it’s an unknown I feel ready for, a little more secured for no matter what happens. I’m not saying I won’t be affected or I can handle anything. I’m saying I have thicker skin to better accept the effects.
And with pain comes an appreciation for love. I know the difference so well, which now allows me to live a fulfilling and meaningful life. A new fresh life.
So whatever it was that made your 20s seem dull and just not even close to being “the best years of your life,” that’s totally fine. You still got something out of it. Something better, I’d reckon. Strength? Independence? Gratitude? Wisdom?
Embrace where you are right now because look how far you’ve come!
And in the end, a new decade is basically saying: LIFE MOVES ON – 30s are the new 20s.