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What to do when you’re twenty and the angst is gone

So the teenage years are finally over. Time to rejoice!

Until you think of all the things you didn’t do and dig up that old bucket list you made at fifteen and planned to finish by eighteen. You may have a few regrets of not doing everything you wanted.

Let me just say: this is totally cool. That road trip with your friends probably wasn’t going to happen anyway. Time for a dose of reality

Welcome to adulthood.

But trust me, it isn’t the lame nine-to-five depression pit that you are conditioned to think it is. There is still so much to be done. So forget about all the petty high-school concerns and focus on what’s ahead. Job? Out-of-state college? What’s next for you?

For me, college was the next big decision. I was told to pick a major that would make bank and chose a college close to home. My dad said accountant and Stockton. As much as I love sitting at a desk all day, that didn’t seem right. Wasn’t me. So I looked around for a school I wanted and tried to find something as close to English as I could.

That’s when I found communications and Rider University. For me, I knew what I wanted: far enough away from home without being out-of-state, small school … well, that’s as far as I thought. But it worked out for me. I visited and liked it here, so here I stayed. Plus, the communications department is pretty rad. I didn’t know the extent of the field either.

Happiness is key in decided what you want, which is why making these decisions on your own is important. Sandra Bullock worded it quite nicely, saying “I think most of us are raised with preconceived notions of the choices we’re supposed to make. We waste so much time making decisions based on someone else’s idea of our happiness… Nobody says, ‘just be happy – go be a cobbler or go live with goats.”

I hunted for colleges on my own, applied on my own, and my parents thankfully just went with it after they put their two cents in. This is all on me, the loans, the job after, etc, so it was my decision. I’m glad I made the decision on my own to better myself.

So back to that bucket list. What are some things you want to accomplish? Personally, I’m writing a novel. It’s taking a while because of other obligations, but it’s what I want to do. I kept telling myself to wait on it; I’ll learn the writing tools I’ll need in college. Sometime during freshmen year I realized I didn’t have to wait. Yes, there is always more to learn, but waiting four years to work on one project seemed ridiculous. I can write. And write I shall. I’ve known who I am for quite awhile. Rob Lowe said, “I think part of maturity is knowing who you are.”

Well, I got that down.

First thing you need to decide is what to do. Who are you? What can you see yourself doing in five years? What is going to make you wake up most mornings with a smiling on your face singing “Here Comes The Sun?”

The point is, there are some things you can start doing now to work towards whatever goals you’ve made. Make an updated goal list and prioritize them. Then decide how you’re going to accomplish each one. That’s the part people forget: the action part. “Amateurs sit and wait for inspiration, the rest of us just get up and go to work,” Stephen King simply said in his book On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft. That’s why so many gyms are empty.

Waiting around isn’t going to accomplish anything except wasting time.

Being a teen was fun and all, but now there is no more waiting. This is the time to decide what you want. Even something as small as taking soda out of your diet could make a difference in your life. So go invent that gadget or start making that business model!

You’re twenty, what are you waiting for?

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