Your early twenties are a turning point in your life. These are the years you will find yourself, lose yourself, and find yourself all over again. Just when you think you have life figured out, it changes and you are back at square one. These are the times you will find some amazing friends -- and some not-so-amazing ones. You are forging your own path through this crazy world, and we all have very different paths.
Although these are some of the best times of your life, they are also some of the hardest. It's hard trying to figure out who you are, and how you're going to pay rent in the same thought. We all know the feelings, and we can all admit that the struggle is real in your early twenties. There are a few "rite of passage" moments we can all relate to.
The Financial Negotiation Phase
This moment is characterized by the rationing of every last dollar like we are negotiating a trade. It might sound something like, "If I put $5.50 worth of gas in my car, I can make it to work today and still have enough left over for a McDouble." Although these moments truly suck, they give us motivation to strive for a better future, because no one wants to live like this forever. Stick it out, it will get better as long as you keep pushing on.
Counting quarters becomes a daily thing. There's no point in checking under your seats in your car, because you've already scoured every last inch for spare change. You wonder how in the world you are going to make it to payday, but somehow you do. You will swear up and down that you are going to manage your money better this time, but two days later you are dead broke again. We've all been there.
The Beater Car Phase
We all have to have a beater car at least once. Nothing is quite as exciting as never knowing when your car will break down and leave you stranded. You are so used to the "check engine" light, that you hardly even notice it any more. You may say a little prayer before each road trip, because you are unsure if your car will even get you there. New squeaks and growls from under the hood probably don't even alarm you anymore, because you have your mechanic on speed dial. You probably even know how to do some of your own repairs, because you can't afford to bring your car in anymore.
There's nothing wrong with having a beater car. Treat her good, and she might be good to you. Just make sure you are not driving in a death trap, and get a new one when you can. One day you will be able to appreciate a new vehicle, by struggling through the hard times with your beater. Chances are you have given your old bucket of rust its own name by now, so when the time comes to part ways you might shed a tear or two.
The Sleep Deprivation Phase
You have become a master at pulling an all-nighter and somehow functioning through the whole day. This is good, because it is all foreshadowing what you have in store. Truth is, the sleep deprivation never really goes away. The grind is real, and most of us are full-time working students who try to keep a somewhat active social life on the side. In case you haven't noticed, you kind of need your sleep. Your body might be used to going off of five hours of sleep, but you owe it to yourself to get a full night in every once and a while.
Staying up until 3 in the morning studying is no one's idea of a good time, but sometimes you have no choice. You are finally understanding why coffee is like the nectar of the gods to almost every adult. Summer break cannot come soon enough, even though you know you still won't get enough sleep then either.
The Roommate Phase
The roommate phase can be some of the best times of your life, or some of the worst. You never know how you are going to "mesh" with someone after spending every day with each other for months on end. When you were younger you probably daydreamed with your best friend about how great it would be when you two would live together. You never imagined everything they did could bother you so much. Some of the strongest friendships can't make it through the roommate phase.
It might not be so bad, either. You might end up meeting someone new and clicking with them perfectly. The person you least expected as a roommate might end up being the best one you've ever had. Just make sure to get to know a person before you move in, you don't want to end up with a kleptomaniac or something with serious boundary issues.
If you can relate to one or more of these phases, you are probably in your early twenties. Many of us go through all of them at one time, which makes the struggle even worse. What doesn't kill you makes you stronger, right?
We all know that life isn't always a walk in the park, but the struggles always catch us off-guard. The good thing is, these hiccups in our lives prepare us for the future, which is just as scary and unpredictable. These years should bring us all together in our weaknesses, so later on we can thrive together with our strengths.
Visit My Life on a Whim to find more from Gabrielle.