I know it could sound laughable cause the early ’20s are “supposedly” the time to make mistakes and have fun, but we all know there’s are all kinds of pressure pulling us in all directions. At this age, “AGE” has nothing to do with anything anymore. I know 20-year-olds living like typical 20-year-olds, and I know 20-year-olds who are easily livin’ like 30-year-olds. It’s all so subjective and situational.
In my experience, moving to the states at 19 made me grow up a little quicker than expected. By 22, I was already supporting myself financially, which meant I had to get the hang of adulting – FAST. The pressure to get my life together was way over my head, and I felt like every decision I made would shape or break me. Expectations were always high as I was expected to have a job straight out of grad which made me miss out on any chance of having an adjustment period to figure what I actually wanted to do. If you’re reading this and still haven’t graduated yet, I’d highly recommend you to intentionally set some time aside for some soul searching, even for a couple of months! Between my fast-paced job, adjusting to life in the U.S, trying to function like a normal human, and keeping up with friends and family back home. Well, its obvious finding balance has obviously been a HUGE struggle point.
Here are a few ways that have worked to try to retain my sanity and find balance in my 20’s:
1. Meeting in the middle.
Being in your early 20’s, the FOMO is at an all-time high. I used to get so agitated because I wished I could go out as much as I used to, but that wasn’t my reality. The ’20s is a weird time cause you get to the point where you realize you and your friends’ lives are not the same anymore. Each person is going through far different experiences than you are, but getting to the point where you accept that is the first step. After that, it’s all about meeting halfway. E.g., instead of partying for hours like good ol times, I would propose hanging out for a quick bite/drink instead. This way, you’re still able to have some fun, but not go overboard in a way that could compromise anything else you have going on.
2. Marking it on a calendar
I know, I know – who wants to plan when to have fun? It defeats the purpose of the meaning of fun. BUT, I’ve come to the point where I’ve tried every other way to avoid it, but I always end up being unbalanced. So yes, I’ve become that girl who schedules out chunks on her calendar with details of what they do that day – even down to happy hour. If I don’t set it up on my calendar, I can end up overdoing whatever it is I set to do because I didn’t set a limit. Google calendar is my go-to, and I’m sure you guys will/have heard me talk about it over and over again. It’s seriously my favorite thing to keep me on track with my time.
3. Creating a reward system
(Disclaimer: this is a pretty toxic trait, and I’ve yet to talk to someone about this, so please hallar if you relate!) In terms of balance, I used to fall on the opposite spectrum, where I never used to feel like I could reward myself. I guess I was under so much pressure for a long time (mainly, self-inflicted) that I would always find a way to keep busy, and if I did something “fun,” I would counteract it by working harder. HORRIBLE MENTALITY btw.
This is where the reward system came to save meeee. Instead of all work or all play, I now go in between the two. I start by focusing on work and productive stuff for a few hours and then take breaks in between to do something fun. It could be anything from watching an episode, YT video, grabbing a snack, scrolling on IG for no reason. Whatever that I want to do to get those serotonin levels flowing and feel like I’m not a workaholic zombie. And back to point 2 – I have to set a time to do these things so that I can keep track of how much I’ve worked and how much I’ve had fun, so we keep things balanced.
I’d love to know – what side of the spectrum do you fall to? All work and no play or vice versa? In our 20’s, it really goes either way! Leave a comment below on some things that have helped you stay balanced.