Being 20-something today means getting through a phase of awkwardness our parents didn’t have to face. Whether it’s technology or general societal shifts, we’re constantly navigating the phase of life when we’re too young for a midlife crisis, yet too old for a Keg Stand. Though unique to our generation, millennial growing pains, like the ones listed below, are all too real; but there’s always a light at the end of the tunnel.
1. Netflix marathons sound more appealing than the club on Fridays.
You start a catalog of reasons to not go out that you haven’t used on your friends yet. No, you’re not really sick, but you still haven’t watched the entire third season of House of Cards and it’s been a really tough week. Now you’re conflicted: Go to a party just to wish you were home as soon as you get there, or risk making your friends mad while you do what you really want.
Just a couple of years ago, you were eager to go out to party with friends. Don’t feel old because the club isn’t your thing anymore. Becoming a homebody, even if only for a weekend or two, isn’t a bad thing at all. Consider inviting friends over for your own little party as a happy medium.
2. Going back home to live with your parents after college is a real option.
It’s not your ideal post-grad plan, but student loans are real and many entry-level positions pay employees in gum—that is if you can land a job in your career after school. The real world is hard and you’re under your parents’ rules yet again. This can be a blow to anyone seeking the liberation adulthood offers.
Don’t get down on yourself, however. Our parents didn’t have the same issues we have today when it comes to drowning in student loans. Returning home for a few months might be a better alternative than living in a rat-infested apartment the size of a refrigerator box. This gives you time to think of a master plan and create opportunity. Don’t look at it as a setback, but rather as a fiscally mature decision.
3. Pressure to find a significant other is at an all-time high.
Doesn’t it seem as if at every family gathering, your aunt is asking you who the lucky guy or girl is? Why is cuffing season a thing? Why does your best friend keep urging you to make a Tinder account? And can one day go by without a Facebook notification that one of your friends from high school is getting married? Societal pressures basically tell us that we’re late if we aren’t in a serious relationship.
Don’t fret if you haven’t found the one. As millennials, we forget how young we are sometimes. A lot of us are still trying to figure out who we are and what we want. Maybe you just want to be single for the time being—or for longer. Don’t let outsiders trick you into thinking you have to fall in love today or face a lifetime of sorrow.
4. It’s more difficult to make friends.
The real world isn’t a college campus where you can easily befriend a classmate or someone in your student organization. It takes a little more effort than that. Spending most of your time at work or in graduate school where age ranges vary can give you limited opportunity to make friends with like-minded peers.
But it doesn’t hurt to venture out from your routine. Joining a kickboxing class, book club or other group can lead you to some really cool people with the same interests as you. Don’t overlook online communities if you don’t mind having virtual friends. It also doesn’t hurt to spark up conversation with a co-worker you normally don’t talk to. You never know where you’ll find your next Netflix-binge-watching buddy.
5. You compare your success (or failure) with someone else’s.
Comparison is the thief of joy. So is lurking on social media. You get constant status updates about your friend’s new promotion, your exes’ newfound loves and the health regimen of some chick you’ve never met. Seeing everyone’s happiness on display can lead you to window-shop your way to envy. Dissecting pieces of your life and pinning them up to Instagram dreams will make you unhappy.
Remember that no one has it all together in their 20s. This is a decade of learning. So whenever you feel like you don’t have the best clothes, job or relationship, it’s probably because you’re on social media. Be confident enough in yourself and your journey without leaning on the dreams or realities of others. Do yourself a favor and log off when you feel yourself getting jealous.