Your family and friends start singing the birthday song. Here comes your cake. They tell you to make a wish before you blow your candle. Behind you, two golden foil balloons are hanging at the wall. The numbers 2 and 0. You close your eyes. You say your wish. You blow the candle. Everyone starts clapping and wishes you a happy birthday. Meanwhile, something inside you starts stirring. You feel happy and sad at the same time. You are grateful but extremely worried about everything that has been going on.
You’re 20 and you’re supposed to be working towards your life goals. You’re looking for your first job. You’re searching for your life’s meaning and purpose. You want to accomplish so many things for yourself and for your loved ones. Yet you’re still in denial that you have to deal with adulting. At this point, we start to question where we are and what have we been doing all this time. Are we doing enough? Should we be doing more? Is everything going to be worth it? When are we going to be successful?
Everything seems to not make any sense. We feel like we are stuck in an endless routine. On some days, we feel empowered and productive and there are days when we feel like we are useless and demotivated. We start to doubt ourselves and our capabilities. We start to feel exhausted from all the stress and pressure to be good at something. It may look like we’re doing fine on the outside, but deep inside each and every one of us, we are slowly falling apart. We strive to become the best versions of ourselves each day, but we somehow fail to do so every time.
With everything that has been going on, it’s hard to stay grounded and afloat at the same time.
These two are essential in keeping ourselves well taken care of. By keeping both feet on the ground, we learn to understand the most important things in life. It’s not the material things nor the social media fame—not even the most Instagram-worthy photos. It’s about choosing to be with what keeps us rooted within our inner selves. May it be our family or friends or passions. Keeping afloat is all about going beyond challenges. It’s learning to surpass our deepest struggles and choosing to fight every day. Encountering problems makes us emotionally exhausted and mentally weak, but when we try to maintain courage and presence of mind, we become tough. I understand that it is difficult to deal with the struggles we meet along the day, but one thing is certain: We will get through. With that, I am here to share with you a few reminders to help you keep going despite the constant pressure of living our best lives and working towards success—all at once.
Reminder # 1: There is no need to pressure yourself to be successful.
You are allowed to make mistakes. You are allowed to fail. You are allowed to try again. At the end of the day, it does not matter whether you succeeded or not. What will remain important are the moments that you struggled, the moments that you thrived, the moments that you fought, the moments that you survived. It does not matter if you did it successfully, what matters the most is that you simply did it.
Reminder # 2: Stop comparing your journey with everyone else’s.
In an era where every achievement is posted online (even the tiniest ones such as cooking instant noodles for the first time), it is very common to feel small compared to everyone else’s success. But we need to stop looking at other’s success stories and start focusing on ourselves. We have to understand that we all have unique and different timelines. Comparing each other’s achievements is a complete waste of time and effort. We have different stories, we carry different burdens, we visualize different dreams. But no matter what your life goal may be, always remind yourself this: We are getting there, not at the same time, but we will all eventually get there.
Reminder # 3: Slow down, there is no need to hurry.
You have to constantly remind yourself that you are not in a competition with anyone. There is no need to rush in a period where you should be taking everything as it comes and live in each moment as much as you can. Being in your 20s means you get to do things fiercely and travel spontaneously and love recklessly and live freely. I get that we all do not want to have regrets, but the more we overthink each step that we take, the less we enjoy the authenticity of what life has to offer.
Reminder # 4: Practice self-care.
Living life in our 20s can be stressful and emotionally draining. This is also the time when we are always physically tired from all the hustle. We are so eager to do everything we could squeeze in a day. We tend to get busy and lose track of ourselves. But this is where everything can go wrong. Taking good care of ourselves should also be our priority. Never lose track of your well-being. Always make sure that you are physically healthy and mentally okay.
Reminder # 5: Always check on yourself and the people around you.
We have long accepted the fact that #ADULTING is a struggle. We all know it’s not easy, but we have to face it. By doing so, we may forget to watch over ourselves. And while it is important to make sure that all aspects of our lives are well taken care of, we should also look out for others. Always check on your loved ones. Ask them how they are doing and always offer a helping hand when you can. We never know what they are dealing with, the battles that they fight, and the struggles that they are facing. We may be the only one who has shown care for them or the only one who has offered help. A simple conversation may mean everything. A little favor could make a big difference.
As tough as life seems to be, being aware of ourselves and our surroundings goes a long way. No matter how difficult everything looks like from where we are right now, always be reminded that the world has yet to see us conquer everything that has been stopping us—doubts, fears, toxic environment. So, keep going. Keep walking towards your visions and dreams. Also, keep the faith. Never lose it. You will wake up one day realizing that you have lived a life well lived.