Most people will wake up on their 23rd birthday to a failing relationship, a dead-end job, next to an empty wallet with a fuzzy head from the night before and no sense of direction in life.
I was the exact same besides being in a bad relationship, because, well, mine was non-existent.
I didn’t go down the whole university route, so I can’t talk about being pushed into the real world with a large amount of student debt. Luckily, during my time being in the Army, I had a good amount of savings left but still, the jobs available were ones that barely paid enough to live off. Relationships are a whole new board game and with social media getting involved, any sense of a real relationship just becomes an distorted picture. You feel lost in yourself with how to handle near enough anything.
Saying that, we pull through.
Most of us make it to our 24th birthday. Some would say we make out the woods. Hopefully some of you could say that by the time the end of your 23rd year here comes to a close, you aren’t feeling utterly lost.
In case that’s not the case for you though. I have a little list that might help you out.
1. This loneliness you feel will not last forever.
Being 23 is a pretty uncoomfortable age . Your university life is probably coming to an end. Everyone is expecting you to start your professional life & because of this you have the most awkward shift within your social life. The people who know you well are too far out to be there & those who physically surround you don’t really know you that well to show support.
Time is needed. Give everything a chance to evolve & give yourself to shift to longer living with your close mates. Trust me when I say this, you will adjust. (I’ve met many people and you realise that we are a communal species who love to connect. This phrase will not last forever, even if the loneliness makes you feel different.
2. We are all on our own journeys, don’t get too beaten up about not chasing your dreams right now.
We are all on our own journeys and if you need to get a shitty office job to pay the bills, then you go and slay it. It’s definitely okay for you to and volunteer in your local charity shop to gain experience. In our lifetime, there is literally thousands of different ways to get to where you want. Don’t beat yourself up in the process, look at what’s happening, try and learn from it but most importantly, just keep moving forward at your own pace in the direction you would prefer to be.
3. It’s okay to be lost.
We are all very similar & everyone you come into contact with, meet or think about has definitely had times during their life where they don’t have a clue about what they were doing. Allow this to be yours. You are getting it out the way in your early years. Smart move I say.
No, seriously. Every single person you meet, interact with or think about in the course of a day has almost definitely had a period of their lives where they had NO clue what they were doing. So this is yours. You’re just getting it out of the way early.
4. Go for the no. Look forward to failing.
You are so young, you have plenty of time to fall over and get back up. Do not be scared of making them risks now, while you have the time, the grit and determination to get back at it.
How many times did we fall over when we were first learning to walk? Our parents have so many funny stories of our “first steps”, yet we got back up and went at it again. There’s no difference here. Learn how to walk again and look forward to tripping up once again.
5. You’ll feel loved again by someone who truly cares about you.
Remember them butterflies, that crazy gut-wrenching feeling. That urge to tell someone how you really feel about them. That exciting, nervous feeling is going to come back. You’ll have someone there who you have something real with once more, even if it doesn’t feel like it at this stage. Your ability to love people never leaves even if its something you’ve sworn you’ve thrown away. It will find a way of coming back.
6. You are going to love you again.
The old you has left and you are changing at a pace you are not comfortable with. Don’t be upset with who you are or who you thought you would be at the age of 23, there’s so much time to grow into who you’ll become and you’ll have plenty of time to become proud of yourself all over again.
7. You are allowed to set and keep boundaries.
Being this age means “YES”. Saying Yes to near enough everything – demands from relationships, long shift patterns at work – because you are not too sure what you can get away with saying no to. Here’s the real deal though, you can set whatever professional or personal boundaries you feel are required to keep yourself stable & healthy.
Don’t feel like you need to earn a right to respect or properly take care of yourself.
8. You are never really on your own
Regardless of what you think, if the shit really hits the fan, you’d have people who would offer to help in ways you cannot begin to imagine right now. You might not have the parents who can support you financially or friends who are there immediately whenever you need them but if reading this allows a few names come to mind, you are already doing better than most.
9. You’ll know you can do better when you feel disappointed.
You would be living your life all wrong if you weren’t falling short of your own goals. In moderation, disappointment means that you beleive in better and bigger things for yourself & holding onto that beleif will take you further than you could ever imagine.
10. Don’t think you need to live your life on other peoples terms.
I like travelling and volunteering so moving to Asia for two years to teach English would be awesome for me…. You are not me & this is about you. If that’s not what you dig and it’s not going to make you happy, then you don’t have to do it, and you don’t have to explain that to other people. The thought of moving to a big city and getting a dead office job because it’s going to impress your freinds and family doesn’t sit well with you. I beg you on this one, DO NOT DO IT!
Believe me, the choices that you make now will set the tone for the choices you make for the rest of your life. Living your life on other peoples terms now to keep them happy? 30 years down the line you’ll be doing the same. Find your passion, find that desire in your stomach and only be concerned with making your future self proud with the choices you make today..
11. Don’t disregard your right to say NO.
Get used to saying no. Say no to everything that doesn’t sit well with you. The people who bring the worst in you. No. The jobs that really don’t entice you. No. The ‘opportunities’ that only stop you from building a bigger and braver lifestyle you’d rather be on. No. Learn to say no now, comfortably and strategically and you’ll be saving yourself heartache and regret later in your life. Remember, you can change your mind at any time about anything, if it doesn’t serve you anymore and you don’t want to work on it. Say no.
12. We are adults, you’re going to have to ask for what you want. People don’t mindread these things.
Your dream job, that perfect relationship or your ideal lifestyle isn’t going to find it’s way the minute you put your hand out because you’ve been obeying the rules. You need to ask, directly and something incessantly. Unfortuntately for us all, this is the way the adult world works. The sooner you can get comfortable asking for things you really want, the sooner you’ll get results. Results that those who are afraid to ask for won’t see,
13. Forget about feeling embarrassment.
Embarrassment is a joke & a choice. The prouder you choose to be of yourself, no matter where you are in life, the further you are going to go. Confidence is the key to success. be your biggest fan.
Recently, I was in a local bar and started speaking to two young ladies, we had the normal introductory conversation (Name, age etc) when one of them went red in the face. I had asked her where she works and she got embarrassed about it. I said to her “Who am I for you to be embarrassed about something you are doing in your own life, we’ve been speaking for about five minutes and you feel embarrassed infront of a stranger about your own path. I’m a nobody to you, quit that shit, be proud of where you are” Far too often we wrap ourselves in the idea that people we don’t know are going to be judging us for what we are doing or the direction we are moving in. Well here’s a secret, you know that feeling you have that other people are judging you, I promise you, they are feeling the exact same about you & everyone around them. The world doesn’t revolve around you, me or anyone for that matter, so stop being embarrassed in front of people who quite frankly don’t care. Own your shit and be proud of it.
14. You won’t like this, but your body is aging, you need to look after it
We all still try, but lets be honest, a diet consisting of beer, powernaps & takeaways isn’t going to keep you going forever. Your body is changing & you need to take responsiblity to accomodate this if you don’t want to feel rough for the rest of your days. Treating your body correctly and ensuring it’s got the right nutrients is going to have a greater impact on you later on in life. Think about your future on this one. Follow this link for some great nutrtional products.
15. You’re definitely more attractive than you consider yourself being.
One thing I hear from a lot of middle-aged people who I personally know is that they thought they were unattractive in their early 20s.
With everything in life but moreso our appearance, we are our own harshest critics & at this time in our life, the most unattractive quality we can have is a lack of confidence in own appearances. Believe in yourself like crazy. In a world of doubters and negative people, you need to be your own biggest fan. It will help later on in life when you aren’t kicking yourself that much.
16. You are going to carry on changing. Accept this fact.
You might be going through a beautiful, rare moment right now where you feel you have everything figured out…. Not trying to dishearten you but this is far from the truth and this quiet moment will be over very quickly. Your thoughts, emotions and views are constantly changing and your life will prove that. This isn’t a bad thing, remember that you are still developing, the worst thing you can be right now is stagnant.
17. Seriously, take a break.
Being 23, I know how easy it is to get caught up with everything. Trying to find yourself whilst battling at your career goals and forming and holding a social life and relationships, we really forget to just sit back for two minutes and breathe. Just take a break from all the dashing about to get it all worked out. You still deserve to live and enjoy life. Obviously don’t forget about your goals but certainly learn to find peace in all the craziness and just take a step back. It will all come together soon.
18. A natural consequence is losing friends at this stage of life.
Growing older is a natural part of life and at this stage, we will lose touch of roommates, hometown friends & even loved ones. We are all moving in our own directions at our own pace, it’s not upto you to keep every kindle of friendship alive. Somethings will naturally fade out & it’s because they should. Some friendships are only meant to last a few months whilst some are there for a lifetime. Don’t take this to heart, everyone you come into contact with has a reason for being there, if you drift apart, you have both shared a path that helped shape you into who you are now.
19. You are not a bad person for leaving people you have to leave behind in order for yourself to grow.
We all grow at our own pace, the older you are, the more you’ll notice some people just sabotaging themselves. It’s not your job to help everyone & it’s certainly not your job to help someone from themselves. You can be there for them, support & love them for as long as needed but it boils down to the fact that if they are getting in the way of your ambition, success and drive and constantly dragging you down, then you have a responsibility to yourself. It’s not selfish to keep moving forwards. They’ll be in touch, don’t sweat it.
20. Unless motivating, give up with the comparisions.
It’s a great thing to use comparisons if you are using them to motivate yourself to rise up on anothers level of success & acheivement. It becomes a significant waste of time and energy on your behalf if you are using them to beat yourself up. You are you, you are not your colleague who just got that promotion or pay raise. If you want to rise above everyone around you, you need to use the skills unique to you rather than trying to lynch onto what comes so natural to others.
21. We all fuck up. Don’t beat yourself up about it.
Nobody is perfect & if they tell you otherwise, you don’t need to be listening or spending time with them. I’ve made huge mistakes and looking back I’ve had some pretty low times. (Check out this page if you haven’t already). We are taught to be ashamed of our failings, our low points and only show our best side to people as though we are on a photoshoot so we have thousands upon thousands of young people scared to come out because they think they are the only ones going through stuff. Let me tell you know, you are not alone, we’ve all survived which means you will also survive this.
22. We are all also shitting it.
It’s a fact. Who actually knows what’s going to happen tomorrow or next week, never mind 5 years down the line. No-one has a foolproof plan because it doesn’t exist. None of us are 100% sure on how to get where we want and we don’t have it figured out.
Even the people who are the most confident, those who arewilling to share their stories to the world and help other people, we are all a little unsure & we do sometimes get a little bit scared. It’s life & it’s perfectly fine to feel that way. Uncertainty is key to this whole experience.
23. Your life would be boring if you had it figured out, learn to ride the waves.
Imagine how boring and how much of a let down your life would be if you had it all squared away at the age of 23. The ups, downs and straights are a natural part of what keeps us moving. The truth is, right now is the best time you can have to ride out the flucations, struggling prepares you for a great future of resilience, struggle, prepare to fail and keep on doing it whilst you are 23. The future will fall into place & you have plenty of time to do so.