This is a Young Professional Advice from Friends post written by Ashley Sapp at Chaos and Words. YPAF is a collection of voices from different ages, places and industries to share advice on starting off and being twenty.
Your Twenties: The Ultimate Experience
When one begins their twenties, s/he may be in college, searching for a job, working multiple positions, still living at home, finding his/her own place, moving somewhere new, beginning his/her career, perhaps even getting married and having children, or many other examples. The choices are seemingly endless, and that is, in part, of why being a twenty-something is probably even more daunting and confusing than being a teenager. There is still so much to learn, and yet, we are considered adults.
Being uncertain on what you want out of life can be unsettling. Personally, I ran through a multitude of ideas of what I wanted my career to be, and though the industry and job title varied, there was one thing I remained passionate about at all times: writing. What I slowly figured out was that there are ways to put my skills and passions to cohesive use if I did not limit myself on what my possibilities could be. That is perhaps the biggest piece of advice I have to offer other twenty-somethings: allow your potential to expand continuously. There is no need to cut yourself short before you even start.
I had trouble with this notion, believing that because I had little “real world” experience, no employer would want to give me a chance. However, if I had continued that line of thinking, I would never have been offered the position I have now, where I get to proofread and edit manuscripts, articles, and reviews for a heart failure research physician. We will always be in varying learning stages throughout life, as it is part of growth and knowledge, but it is especially true during our twenties. We maintain aspects of nativity, leaving ourselves open to interpretation. One thing some of my own mentors have told me is that they forget how to be naïve as an adult. This doesn’t sound like a bad thing, but being a bit green around the edges allows us to soak up experiences and information like a sponge and truly appreciate it.
Acknowledging naivety but striving for excellence also creates an atmosphere of strengthening talents and passions. The continued desire to learn, grow, and then utilize all of the above is one way to align our passions with our skills. Despite inevitable rejection, I was able to rekindle the drive to do something I enjoyed. It may be corny, but keeping ourselves rejuvenated when it comes to our careers is important since opportunities can be found in a multitude of places. Rejection is difficult to face, but it is not necessarily the end. It’s imperative to keep in mind that we will always be learning, and at times, rejection enables us to find an opportunity we otherwise would not have thought of (I experienced this exact phenomenon after many dead-end interviews).
Something I’ve been learning along the way is that our twenties are not about figuring it all out, as it may seem. We will always be on that path, so don’t stress yourself out if you’re going at a different pace than others. This is YOUR life, and no one else’s. Embrace the ups and downs, the confusion, the innocence, the fun, and the ultimate experience of being in your twenties while you’re in them. There is a reason this particular decade of age is written about so often: bend with it and enjoy it.
Ashley Sapp is a twenty-something southerner with a love of all things bookish and wordy. Her ultimate dream would be to sit out on the beach with a pen and paper, writing out her novels to the music of ocean waves. In the meantime, she’s an editor and writer with a passion for human rights and publishing.