The twenties are all about transition. If I could give my teenage self some advice, I’d tell her to be ready for some big change in the decade ahead. From college, new cities, new jobs, travel and new friends, I have come to understand that the uncertainty of the twenties is not something to fear, but rather something to embrace.
Last year, I lived in Minnesota while I was working at a magazine there. I had one friend, my roommate and childhood best friend. Other than that, I knew no one. It was all new to me. It was out of my comfort zone. It was hard. After my temp job at the magazine job ended, I faced more uncertainty, the question of whether I should return home or embark on a new journey in another new city. I chose the first option, and returning home was probably just as hard, if not harder, than leaving for a new city.
I didn’t have a set plan. Things weren’t going exactly how I imagined they would in my post grad years. I was being forced to remain flexible, and as a very type A person, this was not something I readily embraced. I came home under the mindset that this would be a short few months of transition. My idea was that I would save up, build my writing portfolio and get ready for whatever was next! I remember telling myself that I would solely focus on work and my next step and not on people. I would purposely avoid connecting with old friends and making new ones.
You see, I did not want to start putting down roots and building connections in a city that I knew I wouldn’t be in forever. The truth is that I was afraid. I was afraid of building friendships and connections with people and then having to leave again. In my 23 years of life, I have lived in four different states. I would be lying if I were to say it hasn’t been hard saying goodbye to people, not knowing when you will see them again. I did not want to have to do that again. I did not want to connect with people and invest myself, only to have to cut ties after a short while. What I didn’t realize at the time, was that I was doing myself a great disservice.
Twenty Something Advice (for Anybody):
“Regard everything that happens to you on your journey as a clue, and accept everyone you meet along the way as a teacher.” Elizabeth Gilbert
Here’s the thing: Change is going to happen. You are going to be hit with curve balls, especially in your twenties. Don’t allow fear to stop you from learning from and connecting with all the beautiful people and experiences available to you. I have been back home for almost a year now, and what a year has it been! I have made so many new friends and connected with old ones. I have found mentors and gotten advice from old colleagues and teachers. I am so grateful for the time that I’ve had here. If my time to leave comes in a few months or another year, I can say that I won’t regret my time here. I grew. I learned. Most importantly, I embraced people and allowed them to embrace me.
Wherever you are, it is so important to soak in every opportunity, experience and person that comes your way. Time is valuable. It is also limited. Don’t hold back out of fear. Don’t be so focused on your next step that you forget to enjoy today. My time home has helped me grow as much as my times away from home in college and after graduation. The people I have invested in have also invested in me. They have helped me grow.
Had I stuck to my plan of avoiding people and only focusing on my job hunt, I would have missed out on so many opportunities. I was reminded of this last night, as I sat over dinner with a friend who is moving back home to San Antonio this week. I have probably only known this person for 6 months or so, but he has definitely left a positive impact on my life. I wouldn’t change having met him or learning from him simply because he is leaving. I appreciate the time I have had with him, and if anything, I see him as a teacher.
I want to see everyone who comes into my life that way. I want to ask myself, “What has this person come to teach me?” I want to be a sponge, who is always learning, growing, changing and becoming better. You cannot grow if you are fearful. Fear will only impede your growth and hold you back. Embrace your now and embrace all the beautiful people who are a part it. They have come to teach you something.