Life as a 20-something, recent grad can be well, pretty scary. In ways that we probably never thought it would be when all we wanted was to be 20-something, recent grads, who were truly “grown.” Then, life happened. Whether it’s stressing over your student loans, the state of world affairs, family drama, the current state of our government, having a job you hate, not being able to get a job at all or a significant other who just can’t get right, this age, this time in our lives is probably nothing like we thought it would be. Yes, we’re inheriting a better job market than people who graduated 3-4 years ahead of us, but we’re also probably less certain about how the state of the world will impact our lives going forward.
However, this article isn’t meant to talk about that. I’m not interested in the doom and gloom of the world. No, I’m here to talk about the other side of fear, the side that we rarely talk about because it feels silly or ungrateful. But, I think it’s equally, if not more important. It’s not that hard to focus on the doom and gloom. Doom and gloom is everywhere. It’s everywhere because it sells, because we make it relevant. What’s actually hard, is to believe that things will be working out for your good. That working both smart and hard will pay off. That there is good in the world and work that is waiting to be made through you.
I’m talking about the fear that things will go right. The fear that you might actually be successful at whatever it is that you dream of. Don’t know what I’m talking about? Are your dreams big enough? Sometimes, I’m more afraid that things will go according to plan. I’m afraid because if things go right then I have to be the person that I’ve always wanted to and do the things that I’ve always believed I could do. I’ve got to make good on my gifts and that can take a lot of work with of course no guarantee that it’ll pay off.
Millennials switch jobs all the time. We start our own hustles. We create our lives in ways that no generation before us has - because we can. Some of the jobs we have didn’t even exist when our parents and grandparents were growing up. I find that this world of opportunity creates two paths. There are those of us who dare to dream and do the work to bring our goals into fruition. And then, there are those of us who are scared - maybe we’ve never seen anyone with a job like what we think we love before, or someone who dared to live a life of their own creation, so we spend our youth and probably old age building someone else’s dreams instead of our own.
And as scared as I may be to step out on my own and create the life I want, I’m more afraid of not doing it. Of looking up in 5, 10, 15 years and not recognizing myself and my world. Of not bringing forth what has always been in my heart and on my mind.
So, to all my fellow 20-somethings, but really to anyone, working hard towards something you can’t even fully imagine yet, I encourage you to keep going, keep building - even, and especially when it scares you. Because, in the words of my chosen guru Elizabeth Gilbert, “The work wants to be made, and it wants to be made through you.”
I hope you'll do it anyway.