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Feeling Lost in Your 20s

Why It's OK to Feel Lost

Lost on the 20-something journey? You are not alone. Everyone says that this is the defining decade, the most difficult years of all, while simultaneously handing out the reminder that these are the best years of your life and they shouldn't be taken for granted or wasted. So we become consumed by the pressure to find our place in the world before it's too late. We become stuck between taking a breath to enjoy it and hurrying our way through it. These fleeting years build the decisions that will ultimately determine which way things will swing and what we'll do with the rest of our time here. That kind of weight can make the excitement of our youth and the future ahead trade itself for fear and uncertainty. It's a growing experience that we're all bound for.

Nothing about life is linear, and yet we habitually trick ourselves into believing so, expecting our path to purpose to be a straightforward one. Mistakes are made, plans are disrupted, and the next step becomes blurry. As much as it may seem so, and as often as being 20-something creates the illusion that everyone else besides you has it all figured out, no one truly does. It's convenient to trust this myth as a way to reason with yourself about why your aimlessness, loneliness, or sheer disinterest with where you're at in life is unacceptable. But what if we used the confusion as a means to explore? There's nothing wrong with getting lost. Whatever "there" we're all searching for doesn't exist.

The age when everything is figured out never comes.

How we choose to navigate ourselves out of this state of being "lost" is completely up to us. Forging a path forward cannot be crowdsourced. It's an opportunity to decide what the truth is for ourselves. Lacking a compass and wanting to have all the answers can be tricky, but it doesn't mean that we won't ever find success. This fact alone that we're searching for meaning, happiness, and rightness is a testament to the fact that we're doing better than we think we are. The sooner that we can accept that instant gratification isn't a natural part of the experience, the sooner we can enjoy what comes.

Let's use our 20s to be present. To be bold and take chances. If there is something distinctly ours waiting out there for us, we should allow ourselves the opportunity to stumble into it. We can never be sure of when we're going to fall into our path, and getting lost may be the only way to find it. Explore new cities, take on creative endeavors, and use the time to learn the parts of ourselves that haven't yet seen the light. Run as fast as we can toward anything that makes us feel whole and have the courage to walk away when we identify the things that don't. Allow grace and forgiveness when what we thought was right turns out to be wrong. Experiment to gain courage and use that courage to experiment some more.

Change is the currency of your 20s. The more of it we can grab hold of, the richer our years will be. Travel, move to a city where you don't know a soul, switch jobs, turn strangers into friends, quit one thing and pick up another, and do the things that you love just as much as those that terrify you. If you're not sure which road to take, that's a good thing. It means that you have options. Things are lost before they're found, so maybe we find ourselves by way of the unknown, however messy it may be. Maybe we find contentment in losing ourselves and releasing from the grip of whatever idea we have of how it's supposed to be. We don't have to rush.

The age when everything is figured out never comes. Each time we enter a new chapter of life, we're exploring untouched territory. Rather than perceiving navigating off the path as a source of discomfort, we should find the adventure that's inherently part of it. The only thing that's certain in life is its uncertainty. All anyone can do is follow the ebbs and flows of it. Feeling lost is OK. It's needed for the rest of our days. It is the way not to figuring it all out, but soaking up experience. Getting lost is the pursuit of happiness expressing itself. Embrace it rather than avoiding it. We're walking our way through.

Image Source: Burst / Verne Ho
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