Perhaps I’ll sound like a spoiled millennial writing this, but that’s fine. And it’s pretty much the point.
Most people in their 20s are currently experiencing one of the biggest quarter-life crises since…forever. We’re learning that college doesn’t exactly do what our high school teachers promised it would, most of us are up to our ears in debt because no one taught us things in high school beyond how to prepare for a standardized test, and we’re basically killing each other to get better jobs. It’s tough.
So, when we stumble upon an article that proclaims it knows “23 things every 23-year-old should know” we think “Huzzah! Finally! The answer to all of life’s questions!”
You read the first couple of suggestions nodding your head, thinking “Okay, I’m down with that. Who doesn’t want to go snorkeling for no reason?”, but then it dawns on you. Does me not doing all of these wonderful, amazing things mean I’m an unfulfilled, cowardly hermit with a Final Fantasy-sized existential crisis?
Lately, on various websites like Buzzfeed and Thought Catalog, it’s become a regular thing to post articles basically telling twenty-something-year-olds to “do this or you’ll LITERALLY die as soon as you turn 30 because you’re not random and exciting enough!”
Maybe I don’t want to get out more. Maybe I do want to get out more. Maybe I want children right now, but maybe I’m just not going to have them. Maybe I’m not ready for children, but I want to have them anyway. You see where I’m going with this. Is life about following a checklist according to what decade you’re in, or is it about actually living it according to how you want to live it?
Now, of course, everyone needs to see where they measure up from time to time. We all want to feel normal. However, just because you only check off a minuscule amount of “standard twenty-something things” each time you read a magazine obnoxiously telling you have more one-night stands, it doesn’t mean you’re a terrible person. It just means…..nothing actually. It means nothing.
Long story short, you can follow a list telling you to “make more career moves” and “take more risks in life”, or you can live life based on who you are and what you want to achieve. There’s only one thing you should be aspiring for in life. Not 20 things for 20-year-olds. That one thing…it’s just happiness.
Just be happy. Live life on your own terms. Set your own checklist, and if you end up straying from it, well, that’s what’s called living.