There's a lot they don't tell you about growing up. They don't tell you how hard it's going to be when you're saying goodbye to your high school friends, and how transitioning to college life isn't like the movies. They don't tell you that heartbreak comes in many forms, and you'll experience it when you have to let go of things like the dance studio you built a home inside of, or friendships that just seem to fade into the background until suddenly that person is no longer in your life. They don't tell you that post-grad life is a confusing, stressful overwhelming time that will feel almost inescapable. They don't tell you what your 20's are really like. They romanticize the crap out of everything. The best four years of your life will surely not be the ones spent in the hallowed halls of your high school where your stress amounts to deadlines and which of your friends is in your lunch period. At this point in my life, high school feels like it was another century where my worries, fears, and doubts were vastly inconsequential. College was rewarding and I miss it, but I wish I took more initiative. I wish I had even the slightest clue at where I was headed and thought more about what comes next rather than live in ignorance.
Post-grad life is...messy. To put it bluntly. It's just a mess. Some people are getting married and having children, some are still in school getting their Masters, some have careers and are living their best lives (according to their Instagram feed) and some are floating. They don't really know which way is up or down. If you haven't pieced it together by now, I am a floater. On one hand most of the time I am pretty okay with where I'm at. I'm still young(ish), I have time to figure out where I'm headed and things tend to work out, despite my habit of over-thinking and worries I create out of nothing. And then, there are those moments when it all comes crashing down on me. Yes I've gone back to school and I'm taking steps towards something, but I still only vaguely know what that something is and what if I never figure it out? What if I let my self-doubt and fears take over and completely hinder myself from actually progressing towards anything at all...I have my spiral moments. I think we all do. I just think we need to start being real about them, with ourselves and with each other. Yes, positive thinking is healthy and should be utilized because negative outlooks can be incredibly exhausting. There is no growth in a toxic mindset. On the other hand, we have to accept and let ourselves feel the fears and the uncertainty and we have got to stop putting on a brave face.
I love social media, I'm your typical millennial, sue me. I like sharing my adventures and using editing apps to make my feed aesthetically pleasing to me and those who visit my page. The problem with social media, as we all know is how we use it. It is a highlight real, we share the very best parts of our lives because no one, for one reason or another, wants to admit that they're in a bad place. No one wants the world to know what they're actually going through because it's not anyone's business, but we need to stop acting like everything's all happy dandy all the damn time. I'm not telling you to spill your guts to your entire follow list, I agree some things should only be shared amongst your tight-knit group of friends and or family. I merely want you to start being a little more honest. If you're not okay, there's no shame in that and sometimes being honest means un-following people, influencers or celebs that don't add anything spiritually or mentally beneficial. Sometimes it means taking a social media cleanse and spending more time with friends genuinely, without the distraction of the phone or your notifications.
Being honest doesn't have to just be about more authenticity on social media. Sometimes it means admitting things to friends or family that you've held back from revealing for fear of making someone uncomfortable or putting them in an awkward position. If your friends are good people you'd be surprised at how supportive and encouraging they can be if you give them the chance. Sometimes it's about sitting yourself down and doing whatever it is that sets your soul on fire because avoiding it is what's hurting you, not the outside noise. Sometimes it's accepting that you are at fault, but reminding yourself that there's still time. Your story is not hers, his or their story. There is no reason you have to be on the same page as anyone else whether it be in regards to your career, relationship status or otherwise.
My point is, I love social media and I think your 20's can be some of the best years of your life, because you're young and still have a lifetime to look forward to, but I think we need to stop wearing rose colored glasses. We have to let 20 somethings feel comfortable enough to relish in the fact that they have no idea what they're doing. We have got to stop making them feel ashamed of sharing anything other than what they did last weekend that was post worthy. And I think you and I have to take a deep breath and admit, to both ourselves and the people we care about, when we're not feeling 100%. our best. We don't have to prove ourselves to anyone as long as we're being honest and taking responsibility for our actions when necessary. We're going to fail, stumble, fall and maybe scrape an arm or two, but that doesn't mean we're not exactly where we're supposed to be at this point in our lives. It doesn't mean we're losing the race and we'll never catch up. It just means we have to straighten ourselves out, hydrate, and start again. Pick ourselves up where we tripped over that rock and find another route. Take the time we need to process the misstep, heal from it, grow from it and then dust ourselves off and keep going.
Your 20's aren't going to be easy, but if you want your younger self, the one inside you who created these crazy dreams, to be proud of who you are today, you have to give yourself a break. You have to work for her (or him or them) because you owe it to that version of yourself. You owe it to your present self to live to see your dreams, your efforts, your talents exceed all expectations. And if you change your mind along the way, if all of a sudden what you've worked so hard for doesn't feel right anymore, then go after what does. There is no limit to what you can do with the life you've been given. Some people know exactly what they want from when they're very young, and they stick to it until they make a career for themselves and then suddenly they realize they don't want it anymore. And some people go to college, earn a degree and then have no clue as to where to go. Either way is okay, don't let anyone or anything tell you differently.
Social media is lying to you, and I think it's time we end it. Beginning with ourselves and each other. If you're not happy you don't have to live your life like you're at a masquerade ball. Take your mask off, put down the armor and stop using Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook as a shield. They're a great way to share your highs, but don't be afraid to admit when you're having a rough time. Authenticity, both online and in your daily life, will set you free.