Photo by Brian Mann from Unsplash
Navigating your way in your twenties — can be one hell of a ride. In your early twenties, you’re so full of life and spirit to go where the wind takes you, and so you like the idea of running and exploring the world. You yearn for the freedom to make your own choices — something that’s been deprived of you in your teenage years. As early as possible, you want to build your empire, make a name for yourself. You feel the urge to prove to everyone you’re worth their attention. But like anything else, everything has its limits and consequences, including time.
When you were young, you used to build castles with Legos but now, as you get older, you’re building your castles with concrete (accompanied by your persistence and hard work). You have to do this while following an impossible deadline you forced yourself to follow. Being in your twenties is like being introduced to a life where you do nothing but run.
Run so fast and you get burned out.
Run so slow and you will get left behind.
Don’t run at all and you will be walked over like a doormat.
We all want to be told what to do but at the same time, we want to figure it out by ourselves. It’s like we want to try out life as it is, see what works for us, and start all over again if it doesn’t fit our liking. In other words, we want to live without any real risks and accountability for our actions. We want to be able to make as many mistakes as we can, but we don’t want our time nor money to run out. We want the world to freeze as we continue to search for our life’s purpose while still being able to spend time with our families and loved ones.
WHY DO WE FEEL LOST IN LIFE?
As soon as you wake up, you distract yourself by getting your phone and spending at least two hours on it in the morning. You browse through social media until you come across one or two posts that trigger something inside you. Tiny splinters of insecurity hit you and then suddenly it turns into one giant ball of self-doubt. The insecurities tie up a knot inside your stomach, and then series of flashbacks come — possibly regrets of the opportunities you didn’t take because you didn’t have the guts to try.
We feel lost in life because we succumb ourselves to the better versions of other people’s lives. We attach ourselves to their successes by shrinking our worth. Moreover, social media has been an active enabler of these insecure and selfish feelings because almost everything is paraded in perfect facades. People are somehow summoned to flaunt a part of themselves that they think is socially acceptable, and so if they find they have none, they will either do everything they can to conceal this “flaw” or go off the rails to fit in (even if they have to jeopardize their well-being).
IS IT NORMAL TO FEEL LOST IN YOUR TWENTIES?
Everyone goes through a period in his twenties where everything seems blurry. You feel like everything you see is holding you back from whom you’re meant to be. You feel lost when you think you don’t belong. You feel lost when you’re in an unhealthy state of mind that makes you feel nobody understands you. All your life, you’ve been making choices that didn’t add up to the kind of outcome you want, and so you think you’ll never make a decent decision in your life.
Yes, it is absolutely normal to feel lost in your twenties. Everybody feels lost in his track at one point in his life. The reason you think you’re all alone in this intricate maze called life is others are simply better at pretending like they’re not. To be found, you need to be lost. Acknowledging that you have a purpose in this world — regardless if you haven’t found it — is the key. That is the first real step to getting where you want to go. Finding your purpose is a lifelong struggle and commitment to stick to, even when you try so hard to avoid it.
IF YOU’RE FEELING LOST, EMBRACE THIS VERSION OF YOURSELF TO LEAD YOU TO THE RIGHT DIRECTION
What people don’t realize is feeling lost isn’t exactly the worst thing that can happen to you. Not only is it completely normal, but it also has its perks (depending on how you perceive it). Unless you start embracing and accepting the fact that you haven’t found your true calling yet, you will never be able to escape from the demons that are holding you back. When you’re contented, you don’t lose. When you feel lost, this is an opportunity to pause and reflect on your ideas and actions recently. This can be that once-in-a-lifetime signal or omen that can turn your life around. Remember that you feel lost for a reason, you have the chance to find yourself again.
HOW TO GET BACK IN THE GAME WHEN YOU FEEL LOST:
ASK YOURSELF THE HARD QUESTIONS
Asking yourself the hard questions involves convincing yourself to confront the truth. If you really want to be in control of your life, you need to step up. This means initiating the hardest conversations with the people dear to you, like your family and partner. Due to the emotional vulnerability you have with them, you’re limited with your options and life choices. You’re constricted with the expectations and opinions of other people, especially those who are important to you. You need to be courageous enough to stand up for what you believe in and be accountable for your decisions. You need to convince them to listen to what you have to say even when they have to agree to disagree. Win or fail, it’s on you; that means if you can fail, you can also win.
CELEBRATE HOW FAR YOU’VE COME
Sometimes the reason you feel lost is not that you don’t know where to go. Most times, it’s your confidence that’s slowly deteriorating because you feel unappreciated and unseen of your efforts, and that is why your mind is collecting doubts, giving you the wrong answers to your questions. You need external validation, like someone to tell you you’re doing great and someone to celebrate your achievements with. That’s perfectly okay to long for support but the reality is, you’re never going to have a permanent supportive partner or system to walk with you through every step of your life.
You need to do it yourself. You need to stop and look back to what you’ve been through for the last week, the last month, and the last year. Acknowledge the person that you are now. Acknowledge that you are no longer the same person as two years ago or even eight months ago, and that is beyond powerful. That is proof that you are willing to change and now you’ve succeeded, but you’re still getting started.
TAKE RISKS LIKE YOU MEAN IT
You don’t exactly know what you’re doing or where you’re heading, but for some reason, you’re forced to choose a path. It is not enough to dream for your life to change; you need to do the work from scratch. This is the piece of advice that everyone keeps giving but never does. It takes an enormous risk to pick a path out of myriad paths because when you make the decision, there is no going back. You wouldn’t know the outcomes of the other potential choices you didn’t pick. All you have are “what ifs” and an obsessive attitude to get answers to your questions. You want to make an action only until life will be kinder to you according to your terms. Unfortunately, life doesn’t work that way, and that’s what freaks you out.
LOOK AT THE BIGGER PICTURE
If you really think about it, everywhere around you is filled with inspiration, warning signs, clues, and hints for a direction that are usually hidden in plain sight. Every day, you are exposed to them especially during times when you feel like you’re alone and no one understands you. If you feel this way often, it can be insinuated that your perception of the uncertainty of life is so shallow, narrow, and closed. To you, life is only black and white and there is no such thing as gray areas and exemptions or even space for miracles to magically appear. You will start to notice and accept that you aren’t absolutely sure about anything in life when you start opening your mind to the endless possibilities that your choices can take you. If you train your mind to look at the bigger picture, you will realize that there’s more to life than your feelings.
3 IMPORTANT THINGS TO REMEMBER WHEN YOU FEEL LOST IN THESE 5 AREAS IN YOUR LIFE:
The journey to self-awareness is a rocky road full of unknown obstacles ready to come at you. When you think you finally know who you are, life will throw something to prove you wrong. It may be a person from the past coming back and getting under your skin or maybe a traumatic event mocking at you for chasing your dreams. Whatever it is, you need to push through the tempting influence to go back to the place that caused you pain.
- To know oneself is a lifelong adventure. Truly knowing yourself is a personal journey, and it takes more than just having a couple of nights answering existential questions. It takes time to discover the truth in yourself. Don’t rush getting to know yourself; everything starts to go wrong when you get ahead of the process.
- You have different lifestyles. Keep in mind that life is fair because it is unfair to everyone. One’s lifestyle is not and will never be a competition to somebody else’s. Don’t waste your time finding your self-worth in the lives of other people because you will never find it there. What you will find, however, is an imaginary version of yourself that will be nothing more but a made-up fantasy.
- Go at your own pace. You pressure yourself into accomplishing your ambitions in the timeline of other people. Life is not a race. It may feel like it because you’re thinking ahead way too much and forget to be mindful of the present. Work hard but do not lose your faith in the wonderful future that’s in store for you.
As you enter your twenties, finding the right partner is going to be one of your many dilemmas in life. Several of your friends would get married while you would attend several weddings as well, each more anxiety-driven than the last. You feel your self-esteem shatter on the inside every time you hear one of your friends getting engaged or expecting a baby. You feel ecstatic for them, but you can’t help thinking about your happy ending as well.
- The right one will come. It may seem like you’re running out of time but you’re not. Don’t resort to bringing out the worst in you as a defense mechanism for the lack of confidence you have in yourself. If you’re truly destined to have a loving relationship, it will come to you as long as you’re open to it.
- Your love story is not a competition. Stop looking into social media of the ideal love story; it doesn’t exist. You are hurting yourself and damaging your relationship by letting these obnoxious expectations get in the way of you building happiness as a couple.
- You need to be a good person before you get to be somebody’s partner. Everyone is so caught up with finding the right partner who is going to sweep them off of their feet and show them what they’ve been missing. They see a relationship as a prize to be won, something to show off to make other people insecure about themselves. This is where it all goes wrong; expecting someone to do all the giving for you meanwhile, you just sit there showing no reciprocation at all.
This idea of having a perfect job with perfect pay provides more than immediate needs and security. All of us have our time to bloom. Just because their time has come before yours, doesn’t make yours any less special. Don’t choose the façade to look successful over happiness that makes you truly successful.
- Be patient enough to see the results of your hard work. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed and conclude that you are not going anywhere with what you’re doing right now because you don’t see the results you’re expecting. Sometimes we unrealistically create these expectations for us to achieve at a certain time frame and it’s pulling us down.
- Productivity also means recharging yourself. You get easily burned out because you work too hard seven days a week without taking one or two days off. You make yourself feel guilty when you take a break even when you know you deserve one. Training yourself to become a machine isn’t going to make you feel good about yourself. The results may appear quicker than anticipated but the cost to your health and relationships will be more grave.
- Success is relative. Although our jobs are important aspects of our lives, these do not reflect our whole lives. Happiness doesn’t sum up what you do but who you are as a person. You can have a 9-5 job or a single mom with a start-up business and still be a successful person. Success doesn’t have to be the ideal picture you planted in your mind.
For most of us, our twenties are a time when we seek approval from the people we adored when we were young. We want to reach out to them and deep down, make them like us. We look at their praise and acceptance as a form of success in our attempt to follow in their footsteps. Remember that a true friend is rare; it’s unlike the portrayal in movies or books. As we look for companions that we think can relate to our ideas and behaviors, search for true friendship, not a perfect one.
- You don’t have to change yourself to be accepted in a group. No group of friends is worth trying to change yourself to fit in what they consider likable attributes about you. Don’t reduce your dignity to a year’s worth of moments when you’re not being utterly yourself. Find happiness and acceptance from those who love you for who you are, not what you can do or represent for the group.
- Friendship goals portrayed in social media are toxic and untrue. When you compare your life choices to other people’s choices, you will be bound to their expectations. You will be stuck living a life where you’re doing things for someone else. Keep in mind that you don’t know what happens behind the camera or the sweet caption on Instagram. Don’t be easily fooled by what your eyes see.
- A true friend will stay with you through ups and downs. When it comes to choosing the right friends, always remember that you can’t call someone your friend based only on his attendance on the good days. Your friend’s support, guidance, and love should reflect especially on the bad days.
Sometimes, God ruins our plans before our plans can ruin us. The next time you feel like nothing is going right and start blaming it on God, remember that you’re still breathing. You’re still blessed and given the chance to turn your life around and to go through life with Him by your side, as your number one priority.
- Trials are meant to strengthen us. You feel lost in your faith because you think the stumbling blocks in life are proof that He is not there watching over you. On the contrary, these obstacles are thrown at you to test your strength and faith in believing in Him even when the situation isn’t perfect. You are given challenges to call out to God, to ask for His intervention, and to surrender all your worries.
- All the people in our life are there for a reason. One prominent reason you feel like you’ve lost faith in God is the fact that you’re meeting the wrong people in life. You think to yourself, “There are a billion people in the world and yet the people I encounter in my life are the worst of the worst.” You live in such negativity that all you see are the people who did you wrong, and you can’t help but feel like you’ve been abandoned. Remember that everyone you meet is there for a reason.
- Hard sacrifices are to test our faith. Don’t forget that glorious moments are felt after a lifetime of continuous struggle. Life in your twenties and beyond is not going to be easy, and you need all the faith you can get. Even when the circumstances are unlikely, you need to believe something amazing will happen (because it will).
Your twenties are a time when you inevitably break free from your shell; even when you don’t want to, there will always be a force to be reckoned with that will pull you out from your comfort zone and there’s no way of stopping it. When you finally see the world for what it is, without the sugarcoating, the mini-paradise stories, you will realize you were right about being scared. Indeed, it’s a scary world out there.
In your twenties, you’re being pulled from a hundred different directions, and just by the sound of that makes you overwhelmed. When it comes down to feeling hopeless and lost, remember that this is an important stage through your transition to growth. You would learn to see life clearly when you don’t see it through the same pair of eyes. A new perspective–a completely different one from yours–is what you need to clear out your thoughts. When you feel lost, it takes more than cheap words and empty promises to get out of that place. It needs a leap of faith, a rigid action to keep going despite life’s uncertainty.
“The greatest mistake you can make in life is to continually be afraid you will make one.”Elbert Hubbard