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The Folklore of The 20s: Stop Running At Others’ Pace

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“At what age are you planning to get married?”

“How many kids do you want in the future?”

“What kind of wedding do you dream of?”

I have been asked these questions numerous times as a teenager and I know you have been too. I answer these questions with the question: “Is that a life requirement?”

It seems life is linear to many—you go to a university, earn a degree, land a good job, go on the dating scene, get married, and build a family—however, have you ever asked yourself if this is the type of life you want to live?

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Teenagers are under enormous pressure to do everything by the time they are twenty.. It is often said that your 20s are the most crucial phase of life as it is the period where you gain freedom from everything. But do we really gain freedom when we restrict ourselves by following the norms set by society?

The conditions of society often lead people to compare themselves to others. For instance, you imagine yourself in a dramatic scene where you just stand in the middle of nowhere while others walk past you. We start to ask ourselves, “How is that person able to buy a house already and I’m still living with my parents?” or “How is that person able to travel multiple countries in a month while I work 9 hours every day?”

We forget that we have our own pace in life. It does not mean that when one has made a different progress than you, you’re not making any progress at all. Here are four examples of 20s folklore that should make you roll your eyes:

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Being Engaged Before Turning 30

Have you ever thought when you were younger about experiencing cheesy proposals and fairytale weddings?  

I used to believe when I was a kid that getting married and building a family was a life must-have. Similar to Disney movies where you find a prince charming and end with a happily ever after. As a woman, it felt like you were obligated to be prepared for a certain role that was unavoidable—becoming a wife and a mother. But as I grew older, I started to wonder why there’s a stigma surrounding single women in their late 20s? As if it’s an aberration of one’s being to not be hitched before turning 30.

There are some people who are forced to take the responsibility of being the breadwinner in the family. Which hinders them from putting their plans as their top priority, maybe including marriage. Others decide to jump on different paths to get to know more about themselves. Some believe that this matter is not just their cup of tea—and all of these reasons are valid to be where you are in life. 

Do not pressure yourself into doing something you’re not prepared for. It is not a loss if you tend to prioritize yourself and tick off other boxes on your bucket list other than marriage. Life will eventually fall in its right place at the right time.

You Are As Good as Who You Were as a Student

You can succeed in the field of academia, but still experience humiliation at work.

We were hardly prepared for life after earning a degree, beyond finding a good job. No matter how much you excel in your university, one way or another, you will commit mistakes in work. It will become a matter of mindset to able to succeed where you are currently planted if you take the challenge and learn from your mistakes. Always make sure that there’s an available room for growth—celebrate your successes and mistakes in your twenties!

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It’s Okay To Sacrifice Your Health for Money

I have dealt with several people who’ve told me that I should be hustling hard at this age, to live a comfortable life in my retirement. Many of these people work several jobs in a day to earn good money to save for their future. 

It is always admirable to see people thriving at a young age. However, the burnout from the things we do for money is also something that we should talk about more. Prioritizing what’s best for yourself is never a selfish thing. Whether it’s taking a day off or leaving a job that’s no longer beneficial to your well being. Never compromise your health just for money. Your health weighs more than any money you could earn in your 20s. 

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If It’s Not Now, Then It’s Never

Is there a specific timing for everything?

Indeed, YOLO. Experience and opportunity come hand in hand at this stage. But remember, your 20s are your phase of growth, independence, and learning. We often associate our age with the things we must experience, like the excitement of getting a driver’s license when turning eighteen.

We let ourselves be dictated by our age with what we should experience, but one thing never changes—we always grow a year older. Our experiences should not be based upon what our age is, but what we think is right for us. Time passes by, but it does not mean that you will not have an opportunity to go out there and achieve what you aim for in life. 

Walk at your own pace. Slow progress is still progress. The luxury of being in your twenties is about having the space to try and fail and to allow yourself to learn and embrace all that life is. Take it one step at a time.

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