05 December 2013

on finding happiness in your 20s

I love the joy and hustle and bustle of the holiday season. I love the way the world is happier than usual; celebrating and eagerly awaiting. But, just as salty tastes saltier with something sweet, so I've noticed that if you're not in the place to celebrate during the holiday season, your pain can feel a little more painful.

Lately I've received a lot of emails from people who are hurting. Recently single. Or single for far too long. Feeling emptiness. Lost in their 20s. And my heart has hurt for them as I've read their words - clearly feeling lonely in this big, celebrating world.

Someone emailed me a few weeks ago and asked how she can find happiness in her 20s. She said some days she wakes up feeling awesome and loving life, but other days she wakes up sad, wondering what she's doing with her life. Why hasn't she figured out where she's going? Who she is? What she wants to be when she grows up?

Sometimes I think we put too much pressure on ourselves to figure things out. My mantra lately has been less about answering the question of "what do I want to do with my life?" and more about answering "what do I want to do with right now?". Sure, I am still forward thinking and planning, but I'm worrying less about every detail of my future. Do I want to do this exact job forever? I have no idea. But I want to do it today. And that's what matters right now. 

I think both the beauty and pain of our 20s is that they're one big jumble of bliss and frustration and laughter and tears and love and heartache. It seems like we don't always give ourselves enough space to figure this season of life out. Nobody warns you that everything changes when you graduate. I've seen relationships that were amazing in college completely dissipate just months after entering the real world. 

It's incredible, in my opinion, to see the way people can change and grow. But just as our muscles are sore after a hard workout, so our minds and spirits get a little fatigued during this season of growth. 

We have to give ourselves time and grace. 

Not every day is going to be perfect because we're not meant to be completely satisfied with this earth. But some days are going to be pretty dang amazing. And, as far as I've seen, the further into my 20s I go, the fewer and further between those funky days seem to be. Slowly, things are beginning to settle - to make a little more sense. And all these good days at 27 sure make the tricky ones at 25 seem worth it. 


  1. A few years ago I really struggled with the question of what do I want to do with my life. When I learned to let that go I became a whole lot happier! I love what you say about what do I want to do right now? It's a refreshing take - when many of us are so focused on goal setting, vision boards, what's next (while they do have their value!)

    Such a great point - how we can also become fatigued! I think I am experiencing that a bit now after some exciting few weeks. I'm looking forward to a bit of rest and recuperation!

  2. LOVE the idea of "What do I want to do with right now?" I am guilty of focusing more on the future than the present at times. I find that it helps to remind myself "Your'e only 27, sister, you've got a lot of life to live!" There will be so many changes in my career, family, and life...just gotta be patient and see what's in store :)

    You are wise beyond your years, Whitney!

  3. Love your blog!!
    Y'all should check out Meg Jay's book "The Defining Decade". She also has a really good TED Talk, "Why 30 is not the new 20". Both are very good and so relatable by current 20-somethings!

  4. Definitely the 20's are the defining decade! They are very important but there is nothing wrong with being single in your 20's! The grass is greener on the other side...I know plenty of late 20 years old who miss being single! hahah

  5. friend, you're so wise! love this heart refresher :)


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