Why it’s completely fine to not have your shit together in your 20s

July 04, 2016
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If you’re anything like me, you probably spend way too much time online. Whether you use Facebook, Twitter or any of the other hundreds of different social media platforms, at one point or another you’ve probably compared yourself against others based on what they’re posting on social media. You’ve probably also felt a wave of disappointment wash over you at least once because someone your age seems to be way more accomplished than you. It sucks, especially when you’re just trying to enjoy your 20s and everyone keeps pestering you about your plans after university.

As you ponder over this question, you may start to panic and feel like everyone around you has got everything figured out. Every time you check Facebook, you find at least one article about a new 20-something genius, or a status update about someone’s amazing new internship or job. And then you starting asking yourself, “What the hell am I doing? Why am I so unaccomplished?”

But this feeling of uncertainty is something that everyone experiences at least once in their lifetime. Just because you’re not exactly where you thought you’d be right now, it doesn’t mean you’ll never get there. Your 20s is the perfect time for you to be figuring it all out. It’s OK to feel mediocre and here are three reasons why.

Everybody has room for improvement

There will always be someone who’s more accomplished than you. The fact that you’ve realised you’re not as good as you want to be means that you have the ability to self-reflect. Without self-reflection, you would never realise there’s room to improve and you would never move forward.

Self-reflection also gives you the opportunity to identify and work on your weaknesses or mistakes, meaning that the next time you reach for your goals, you will be stronger and smarter than before. Which brings me to my next point.

You have little to lose

The best thing about being young and mediocre is that you have little to lose and so much to gain. You don’t have a towering reputation to uphold yet, so you can take bigger risks. Look at it this way, you’re only on the first steps of the ladder to success, so you won’t be bruised as badly when you take a risk and fall. I guarantee that you will fall at least once, because if you don’t, it means that you’re not pushing yourself.

The only thing to remember here is that while you’re on the ground, reflect on what made you fall and improve. This way, you’re making sure that on your next attempt, you will be able to climb at least one step further than before. Before you know it, you will have achieved something awesome. No doubt about it.

Role models galore

There will always be someone who’s a little bit ahead of you and it’s only human nature to be a little jealous of them. But instead of being negative about it, the best thing to do in this situation is to turn those ahead of you into role models. Watch them climb that ladder of success and think about what steps they’ve taken to get ahead. All you have to do is figure out how best to apply that observation to yourself and soon enough, you’ll be achieving your goals in no time.

Finally, success is subjective. It means different things to different people. What’s most important is that you’re chasing after something, not because you want to show off, but because it’s what you want and love most. That is a guaranteed pathway to all kinds of success.

Zaya Altangerel

Zaya is a current student of journalism and science at Monash University, who has proudly mastered the art of laughing at herself and not taking life too seriously.

Image: Justine Reyes, Flickr Creative Commons license