Why It's Okay to Not Have it All Figured Out in Your 20's
You don't have to have it all figured out, my friend! It's okay to not know all the answers. I certainly didn't have it all figured out right away (and I still don't). But there are some things I'm starting to see as benefits of not having all the answers (or thinking you have all the answers) right off the bat.
You're Going to Change
Your views, opinions, and dreams change and evolve over time. As you gain experiences and learn from both mistakes and successes, the things you believe and the things you're working toward will grow with you.
When I was a kid, I thought I wanted to be a daycare provider. Now I think I was crazy. I don't want to be that anymore after learning more about myself and more about what taking care of a dozen kids in my home would look like. And I'm completely okay with having changed my mind. I might still change my mind in another five or ten years, and that will be okay, too. I know what I want the next year to look like, and that's all I need.
There's No Rush
You still have plenty of time to do all the things you want to do, friend! I'm not encouraging you to procrastinate by any means, but there's no rush. You don't have to do things on some arbitrary timeline in order to be successful.
You might feel the pressure to get all your ducks in a row the second you step off that stage at graduation, but you have more time than you think. Nobody else has it all figured out either, no matter how much it may look like they do from the outside.
I had friends who had their whole lives planned out before they graduated (or so it seemed), but when they finally finished school (and for some, graduate school), they were just as confused as everybody else. They didn't do it wrong, and neither did those of us who came back home with no idea what we wanted to do.
This season of life is full of opportunities to make decisions. It's the time we get to start figuring things out, and there's plenty of that time. Sure, some people might gain their footing and start figuring it out faster than others, but that's okay. Everyone has their own race to run.
You can do what you want when you want (at least to some extent). You can pursue your career, travel, get married, start a family, or do something else entirely!
Experience is the Best Teacher
We learn best through experience, and there are just some things you can't understand until you experience them firsthand. Do you remember things you've learned in your life? Did you learn them from textbooks or from life lessons?
I tend to remember things that have struck an emotional chord with me. Even though a do a lot of reading, I don't retain most of it. But I do hang onto the things that I've gleaned from my own steps and missteps.
In fact, every so often, I share what I've been learning lately, and the lessons that make the list are almost exclusively learned through first-hand experiences. I've heard many of the lessons before, but sometimes they don't stick until I relearn them the "hard way."
Understanding Will Stretch You
You'll have greater empathy for others and their struggles after going through more struggles yourself. I didn't understand how hard finding a job could be until I spent time being unemployed, desperately looking for a job. And I certainly don't understand how hard parenthood is, even though I've caught glimpses from babysitting and spending time wrangling my friends' kids with them.
There's something inherently personal in doing it yourself, even if you've read on the topic or had someone else explain what you can expect. Everyone experiences things differently, and you can't really know how you'll react until you're smack-dab in the middle of the situation. Floundering and falling will show you that everyone (including yourself) is fallible, and allow you to extend grace to yourself and those around you.
Knowing that I have bad days when I don't pay as much attention to whether I'm cutting someone off in traffic or snapping when someone interrupts me makes me more understanding when other people around me do those things to me. They still sometimes get under my skin, but I try to give the other person the benefit of the doubt because I know that bad days happen to us all.
So give yourself some grace, friend. It's okay to not have it all figured out.
If you're looking for a way to figure out how to live a more meaningful, fulfilling life, I have created a course just for you! It will help you redefine your value, figure out what you're good at, find fulfilling work, and learn to live purposefully in your everyday life. Check it out!