I sat done at a wobbly, wooden table decorated in festive red, green and yellow paint. The chips, queso and pico de gallo were neatly placed and quietly awaiting my arrival. I walked up and connected eyes with my high school mentor/ journalism teacher, something like an old friend. We had years to catch up over an hour’s lunch. The conversation was jam packed but well worth it.
As my former teacher and I sat there catching up, I began rehashing the many blunders I have made since he knew me at the ripe age of 17. It would’ve been easy to feel like in a lot of ways I have messed up, failed in more areas than not. Dating mishaps, friendship changes, job failures, family issues, you name it, the 24-year-old version of me has probably seen it.
The cool thing about my high school journalism teacher is that, for lack of a better word, he is cool. As I sat talking about the many mishaps, the twenties has brought so far, he reminded me of something important: “It’s okay to not have it all figured out.” What??!? My thoughts came to a screeching halt. What do you mean it’s okay to not have it all figured out? Do you mean it’s just fine that I do not have it all together? Music to my ears!
Twenty Something Advice (for Anybody):
“If you’re not making mistakes, then you’re not doing anything.” John Wooden
Talking to someone who has known me for so long and has seen my progression over the years took a big load off my shoulders. Because I know that he believes in me and sees what I can be. I think the trick is not getting so caught up in the mistakes I have made or will make in my twenties and to continue to see the potential that others so readily see in me in myself.
Of course, making mistakes as you grow, learn and stumble is not an excuse to act crazy, but it does mean, “Hey, you! That twenty something over there! Don’t be so hard on yourself.” I think being in your twenties is a beautiful place to be because it’s in between. There is so much room to grow, to learn, to reinvent yourself, to start over, to pursue a childhood dream. The possibilities are endless.
If you’re anything like me, a twenty something whose life doesn’t look exactly like what you thought it would in high school or college, well here’s some news: You don’t have to have it all figured out. It’s okay to not know. It’s okay to stumble. It’s okay to make mistakes. The point of it all is to teach you to keep going.
My high school teacher reminded me of the optimism that the 17-year-old me he once knew possessed. The 24-year-old me could learn a lesson or two from her. Keep your eyes wide open. Keep chasing those dreams. If you make a mistake or two and get off course, then that means you’re right on track.