Cover Photo: The Dynamic Decade That Is Your 20's by Lauren Suval

The Dynamic Decade That Is Your 20's

In my 26th year, it’s hard not to note how the 20’s — this ever-in-influx, ‘emerging adulthood,’ decade — is pretty dynamic in all sorts of ways.

I do not wish to preach, and I’m certainly not interested in doling out ‘this-is-what-you-have-to-do’ advice.

However, I just thought I’d share insights I’ve picked up along the way, in the hopes it resonates. Make my fellow twenty somethings out there feel less alone on the crazy ride. Or something like that.

On Love:

I spent my early twenties getting over someone; even if that painful truth had a home under the surface for years. And because of that, I attracted guys who weren’t really available — not deep down, anyway.

I spent time with a guy who seemed enthusiastic to go out with me, only to relay (after the third date) that he was ‘too busy’ to see me again. He had a girlfriend a few months later.

Lots of confusion out there. Or lots of excuses out there.

I spent time with a guy who dropped off the face of the earth because he couldn’t tell me how he really felt.

Lots of botched up communication out there.

[And, hey, I didn’t help matters either by not taking the silence as his answer, by not letting it be.

Lots of lessons out there.]

And then I’d fall for someone who couldn’t really open his heart in the same way, but that was okay, because it was all a much needed learning experience, all a stepping stone.

When things fall apart, to make way for something bigger and better, it’s a real nice feeling.

And all those pent up fears from the past? From previous relationships and losses? What to do with those? Shedding baggage from the past is a journey in of itself, but that too, is a real nice feat to conquer or work towards conquering.

On Friendship:

Different years marked various chapters of friendships. There’s been a few groups that have ebbed and flowed; a few groups that shared game nights and memories and purpose, but as life goes on, so do people. Maybe they change, or maybe you just get to know someone better and better and realize that that original connection and compatibility simply isn’t there anymore. Maybe it never really was.

And maybe the ending is quiet, maybe it’s loud. Tinges of nostalgia are embedded within a peaceful reckoning of clarity.

And those bonds that are strong — the sturdy ones — there the ones that you know will stay. 20’s and beyond.

On Work:

Life is too short to do something you hate. At least I think so. And luckily, there are more opportunities readily available nowadays; there are more choices.

And yet, practicality may have to thwart idealism. Compromises may need to be made. Maybe the job won’t be great. None of this stuff is easy. None of these decisions are simple.

I did a couple of unpaid internships after college graduation. I tried out different career paths. I want to write, but writing isn’t necessarily stable. I suppose I can write on my own time while doing something new.

But I still say life is too short to devote a bunch of hours towards dread. Towards a burden.

On Life Paths:

I know people who are married. I know people with babies. I know people who live with a boyfriend or girlfriend. I know people who live alone. I know people who live at home. I know people who are still getting drunk at bars with friends on Friday nights.

I try not to travel down Comparison Lane. Or mold myself into societal expectations. Everyone follows their own path.

And sure, it’s helpful to have an end goal and move towards what you ultimately want, but I also trust that pieces will fall into place. They kinda have to.

Lauren Suval studied print journalism and psychology at Hofstra University, and she is a writer based in New York. Her work has been featured on Psych Central, Thought Catalog, Catapult Community, and other online publications. Lauren's e-book “Coping With Life’s Clutter” and her latest book, “The Art Of Nostalgia,” a collection of personal essays, can both be found on Amazon. She loves to be followed on Twitter @LaurenSuval and on Facebook @LaurenSuvalWriting.