Scrolling through pictures on iStock images to use on this site, there seemed to be one constant – that your twenties are largely free, happy, full of friendships and laughter. It’s about success in career, love and friendships.
Except when it’s not.
I’m twenty – eight now. While my twenties haven ‘t been bad, really. It’s been far from predictable, successful and full of constant happiness. My mid twenties – around twenty – five was particularly hard until i went on the Rotary Lions’ Club’s ‘Rotary Youth Leadership Award’. The week there, gave me a new lease at life and a sense of optimism that I hadn’t experienced in a while. Sometimes, your twenties can be quite lonely, to be frank. It’s often a time when friends that have grown up together go their separate ways. If your lucky, you may have one or two that you keep in contact with (I’m one of the lucky ones, actually).
In terms of career success, in your twenties, you face brutal truths; that you will most likely be rejected at least once. Your career may not just take off. For some, being in your twenties means having to move back with your parents. According to the September 2017 issue of Cosmopolitan (Australia), one in ten Australians take anti depressants. (“The Great Millennial Meltdown, Jennifer Savin, pp. 103 – 107. Cosmopolitan Australia, September 2017).
According to the Jennifer Savin article. there is a bit of an industry, at least in Europe. In a hotel in Benehavis, Spain, women in their 20’s and early 30’s flocked to a retreat run by Stephanie Kazolides in a mental health/ yoga/ meditation program called ‘Quarter Life Health Project. The retreat cost A$500 per person.
The twenties seemed to be big contrast for many people than what they think. It’s definitely a contrast from some of the images I found iStock while researching images for this post.
For many people, obviously, the twenties may not live up to these expectations for most people – at least not all the time. It’s a time where you’re still trying to make sense of things, fighting for independence and trying to get on your feet career wise. What shocked me in the Savin article was the percentage of people who enter employment after graduating university – just over 41% which I think is despicable actually, but that may be for another post somewhere along the line.
The twenties comes with growth, expectations and transitions in relationships. Unfortunately, for too many when relational transitions take place, people in their twenties often experience loneliness, which can be really hard. Most people have a vision of what the twenties should be like — by being told by others or themselves. Moving out, working, having adventures, getting married, buying a house, etc.
Yet, following that path isn’t so straightforward, especially for Gen Ys who live in the major cities. Work isn’t as easy to come by, including when you have a degree. I know from experience even getting relevant work placement when doing a TAFE course can be hard (that’s one of the things that got me in a rut).
While I don’t think Gen Y has had it the worst — every generation faces it’s challenges — looking back I think Gen Y could have had things a bit differently. I think for too long, university was seen as the ticket to employment, even though TAFE was getting less stigmatised, university for most was the ultimate goal. I think people who were taught about careers, applying for courses and jobs, etc, I think it would have helped to have a bit more of a talk rejection and possible long or medium – length unemployment wouldn’t have gone astray. Not to mention stigma still faced by people with a disability. Then again, I guess no – one predicted the GFC in 2008, which threw a lot of young people off.
For people who haven’t entered or have only started their twenties, I have one piece of advice – take it in your stride. It’s not going to be all smooth sailing. Be flexible (probably for a while my big downfall). And, most importantly, reach out and get help if you think you need it.
For health resources or support, you can contact and get information from Beyond Blue.
Click on these articles if you think you need better ways to deal with stress (or just some encouragement).
Have you got any tips you’d like to share with 20 – something readers? Feel free to add your thoughts in the comments below.