Growing up I always used to hear people joke about being on the wrong side of 20, I would sit back and laugh as if ‘ageing’ (the one thing that is promised in life) wasn’t going to happen to me too. Sigh. Fast forward to today, I now tick the age 26-30 box on forms and yes it gives me shivers every time, but I can truly say that these years are probably some of the most shaping times of your life!
As you approach your 20's it can be a scary time. Some people travel the world and some stay within their postcode (me!), but it’s also a time when a lot of people set up life goals - you know the type ‘I want to own 4 houses by 25, be a millionaire and have a chihuahua named Gucci’. Borderline unrealistic, but motivating nonetheless.
It’s a period filled with both rewarding and challenging times, however having recently spoken with a group of girls who are just about to turn 20, it became clear to me that this upcoming generation are feeling a whole new level of pressure.
When I turned 20 one of the biggest changes I remember was switching from clear to black mascara - BIG discovery, and to be fair I was mad late to the makeup game so this was not only a life-changer but a life-saver, thank you Maybelline. However, girls growing up today are feeling so much added pressure to achieve huge things in such little time, and whilst it’s important to set life goals and adopt a determined mind set, it’s also very important to TEK TIME.
Your young years are just that, your young years. They’re an opportunity to learn, grow, experiment, make mistakes, try again, try again and try again. It isn’t a time to put yourself down if things don’t go to plan the first time - instead it’s a chance for you to figure things out and truly devote yourself to you. I’m not advocating that you don’t get a plan in place, mapping out what you want to achieve is great, but I am urging that you are kinder to yourself during this process. In today’s society it is so easy to succumb to social pressures that may make you think you need to have your sh*t together by 25, but I PROMISE you it is OK if you don’t.
Truth is during your 20s you WILL approach hurdles, but you WILL get over them. You WILL get your first ‘proper’ job. You WILL probably embarrass yourself… most likely in front of the guy you like too - sorry girl but sh*t happens. You WILL experience heartbreak and you’ll probably go back, until sense knocks you on the head. There will be a number of things, people, jobs and experiences that will come your way during this time, but the most important thing to remember is that this is YOUR path for YOU to lead and dictate.
If I had a guide on how to survive my 20s I would already be the millionaire I envisaged, so instead we have real tips from real girls listing a few things you can do, read and remember during your young years. If you only take one thing away from this, please adopt the mindset of being kinder to yourself. Social pressures are enough without being too hard on yourself during the time when you should be most forgiving for the funny, inevitable mess ups that you will encounter. But in saying that, you will also achieve great things and so you should be kinder to yourself in ensuring you acknowledge your wins too. Don’t just celebrate yourself once a year - celebrate the hurdles you overcome, celebrate the first paycheck you receive and celebrate the heartbreak you leave behind - because these too are small wins you should recognise during the rollercoaster ride of Your Young Years.
“Just because school ended, it doesn’t mean the lessons over”
Continue teaching yourself! There are SO many interesting workshop, panels and discussion groups so hit up Eventbrite, pick one and go!
“Do not come and die for others, you need to live your life for you”
“Heartbreak is NOT a medical condition, you will make a full recovery”
But if your heart is hurting and you need a pick me up, read this - What A Time To Be Alone by Chidera Eggerue
“Don’t just develop ideas, test them”
If you’d like professional support in doing this, check out SEIDs.org.uk
“Just like you, your peers are trying to figure it out too”
“Sex gets better”
“You’re never alone in what you’re going through, and It’s OK not to be OK”
And if you’re ever not feeling OK, write it down or vent to a friend. Don’t keep it in.
“Don’t push your mental health to the side”
This has never been more important than today.
“Challenge yourself to finish the task at hand”
“Remember education is not for everyone”
Channel whatever skill you have, be it sport, cooking, cleaning or baking - whatever it is, become an expert at it.
“All men are tr….”
I joke. I joke.
Follow Paige on Instagram: @paigeaalexandra