An Open Letter to Every Twentysomething:

Hey there, familiar soul. I recognize you. We have much too much in common, because we’re twentysomethings. You’ve probably allotted this post all of 10 seconds to “wow” you before promptly clicking away. You most likely have 3 – 5 tabs open in your browser. You’ve recently diagnosed yourself with wanderlust. And there’s more than a slim chance you suffer a back and forth struggle between what you want and what you’re willing to work for. You’ve no doubt shamefully overused the phrase “we should get coffee soon”, and only 10% of the time made real plans. And we’ve all had that defining moment, where we found ourselves seriously reconsidering the correct pronunciation of “Bon Iver”. You’ve also probably made a Harry Potter reference or two in your twentysome years. Realistically, you definitely have, and we all know it’s been much more than twice. We’re twentysomethings.

But we have much more in common than that. It’s safe to say that your mind holds many more questions than answers. You’ve most likely been told, more than once, to cherish your college years now, because apparently you’ll spend the next several years wanting them back. You resent the incessant curiosity everyone suddenly has regarding your future. You’ve spent far too much time chasing people who don’t really care about you. You’re exhausted trying to keep up with everyone’s expectations for you, including your own. You’re constantly avoiding multiple uncertainties at once. You’re all too familiar with the “two steps forward, one step back” choreography. More often than not, you probably find yourself stuck in your own thoughts, wishing you could at least find peace there, but you haven’t. You tell yourself you don’t need anyone, yet we all know that’s not entirely true. And you’ve probably felt more lonely than loved for a long time. And I can’t tell you how sorry I am for that.

I think what I understand most about you, is that you’ve been waiting a long time. For everything. Don’t you think? If we’re not waiting to find love, we’re waiting for an acceptance letter, waiting to finish school, to find a job, to move out, to move on. We’ve been waiting for a long time now; so long, in fact, that we can’t pretend to ignore our disappointment any longer. Our hope is crippled, if not dead; and we begin to question everything we’re waiting for, and why.

Maybe we gave up a long time ago and this is nothing new for us. We dropped our standards to an all time low years ago, proceeding to live with reckless haste. Though, even if we didn’t do this, we sure know someone who did. How did that turn out? I have watched too many of our brother and sister twentysomethings give up hope for all that is good and true and beautiful. They find themselves missing and craving that true charity, chivalry, and meaningful conversation they once tasted. But those things never left, they were simply abandoned for more exciting pursuits. And those exciting pursuits failed us.

But, oh, how things have changed. Now we wait on stability, trust, and peace. Unfortunately, we’ve been so rattled by our restless years that we often find ourselves painfully uncomfortable in the presence of the very things we crave. We are left with a choice to either patiently change our hearts to pursue those lasting treasures, or settle for life as it is, because at least that life is familiar to us.

And that’s where I leave you. Because as similar as we are, this is where we differ. We may not make the same decision. We may not want the same things. And so the hopeful and the hopeless turn different ways at the fork, and the entitled and the selfless wander away from one another. I believe that we actually find what we search for in life. At the end of the day, we’re free to choose the life we want; but take heed, because for better or worse, what we choose is what we get.

 

 

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