I recently asked my 21-year-old sister what she wanted to do as a career. She had just received her cosmetology license and was looking for apprenticeships. She was also tossing around the idea of going back to school to do something in the marketing field. “What do YOU want to do?” I asked. “Not what mom, dad, or your friends want you to do.” She replied with, “I want a job where people look up to me and I feel fulfilled.” Yes, a little bit general. We continued the talk and she said she’d love to own a salon and specialize in color.
Her statement got me thinking about when I was 21. The deep need to have people take you seriously, even though it’s almost impossible. You can’t take yourself seriously until you figure out who you are and what you want to do with your life. At this age, so much hinges on what other people think of you that discomfort in the career world is two-pronged. It comes from not yet having the skills and experience and also this deep desire to have everyone like you.
To protect ourselves, we focus so much on our looks in our early 20’s (I’m generalizing here and you could be the welcome exception). It’s exhausting! I’m not saying we abandon all sense of grooming when we enter our late 20’s/early 30’s (I am a fashion junkie), but I think we know the routine and start to focus more on things that are a little more substantial, like family and job fulfillment. Oh, keep in mind that we are also man-hunting in our early 20’s. They say that babies are intentionally adorable so that mother’s will take care of them. Maybe that’s why we have the most perfect booties we will ever have when we’re in our early 20’s (again generalizing) so people will want to take care of us. By the time we’re in our 30’s and the booty is starting to sag, we have the skills and experience to take care of ourselves. It’s a wicked tradeoff!
I loved my 20’s. But I wouldn’t want to go back. I know I’m going to age and I’m cool with it. I’m really looking forward to my 30’s. I look at how happy my grandma is in Florida, playing cards and drinking Manhattans at 2 pm, and so I’m even excited to, (GASP!) grow into my 60s and 70s (God willing). I’d love to hear how you feel about aging. Do you dread it? Are you embracing it? Enjoy your day and keep counting.