Why you should be free in your 20s
My year abroad taught me many things, but what I learned the most is that I should feel free in my 20s.
One afternoon at University of East Anglia, a university technician was helping me with my computer issues and to fill the silence I asked him, “What advice do you have for someone in their 20s?” He was in his 40s and answered with, “Don’t take your 20s for granted; you won’t get to experience this age again.”
I like to think that we can all still feel like kids at any age but he was right, this is the time when you and your friends have the most energy to have fun, take risks, and not be tied down by massive responsibilities like a spouse and kids, a mortgage, or a career. Of course, not everyone sees these aspects in their future, but it’s in their 20s when everyone else is also not tied down yet either. In our 20s, most of us want to be free-spirited and do things just because we can, because we’re free.
This technician told me with a smile that his 20s consisted of playing in rock bands and working shitty jobs. He said it like he was positively reminiscing like that time held some of his most memorable, fun, exciting experiences. It almost felt like a subtle longing, as he is truly content with his present life, married with a child and working at a university helping students full-time.
Our 20s are for mistakes, for not knowing our future, for trying everything and anything, and for realizing what we love doing. I don’t think it’s for settling into a long-term career or relationship or feeling like you know your exact future.
I think our 20s are supposed to be messy, confusing and full of change and new experiences. We’re finally given the freedom to choose our own life away from where we grew up; it’s time to feel free after being tied down for most of our childhood.
I didn’t take a year off between high school and university, as I’m about to enter my final year, but this doesn’t mean I’m dedicated to one career right afterwards. I’m in university because I enjoy learning and I want to learn more about what I can do with my passion as a writer.
I’m in university to be among like-minded people, who can relate to a new found independence, who are as equally as unsure of their future but are figuring it out a few steps at a time.
I’m at university because I want to know what the university experience feels like. I want to explore a world of academia whilst still exploring a world of life experiences and I want to see what I can create combining these two.
I don’t think I am a career-oriented person, and I don’t think I want a house, kids, and a spouse. I am only finding out what I love, and where I feel most loved. I am experimenting with people, places, and things, and finding out which serve me and which don’t. I am here to live through the ups and downs of my 20s, this decade that I will never get to relive. I am here to enjoy my 20s, not stress through them.
The world is huge, and I am just learning about what I can do in it.
I hope you feel free right now too.