The twenty-something crisis.

Beginning at a young age, most of us are raised to believe that we have to have it all, and that true power comes from working your hardest and obtaining a slew of accomplishments. We demand ourselves to always reach success. Too often we set ambitious yet attainable goals, expecting good results, but then we suffer at the hand of our decisions and attitudes when they don’t come together the way we planned. We usually find a way to sabotage ourselves because we want to be super powerful human beings: be everything, do everything, and still have time to unwind at the end of the day.

When we operate this way, we set ourselves up for failure, which usually leads to disappointment or frustration. The reality is that there are only so many hours we can work and still have a life–we cannot possibly do everything. We’re always trying to gain control of things, and when we feel it slipping through our fingers, we become bitter and miserable because we settled ourselves into the idea of trying to control everything in our lives.

We linger in a state of wanting and not having. Whether it is love, fame, wealth, status–many will do just about anything to get it. Desperation smells, people. And it reeks. Whilst desperation can be a great motivator, I can honestly say that not much has happened for me at a time of desperate need. I lived in constant fear and anxiety. The problem wasn’t what I wanted; the problem was my level of expectation.

For many of us, in our society, the written path for both men and women between the ages of twenty and forty is very clear: pursue a career, get married, have babies. But as we get older and realize we’re in the rear of our life plan, we start panicking. We look to our best friend, see that they own a house and a stainless steel refrigerator that makes coffee, and wonder if we’re doing something wrong.

Is that person way ahead, or am I falling behind?

I call this a crisis. Funny how life plans turn out differently than the way we hoped. I’m 26. I‘m about five years behind on my life plan. It’s scary to admit it and half of me is really resentful to have wasted all those years being chronically irresponsible. Yeah, I was supposed to get married this year, but plans don’t always pan out. And that is not necessarily a bad thing. Let’s look at the other side of the coin for a moment. If all the things we wanted were given to us, sure, we’d be happy and upbeat, but what kind of people would we be? What kind of life would we have? It’s my experience that folks who haven’t struggled at all in life, usually don’t know what to do when shit hits the fan. If they haven’t been in a dark place, pulled themselves up and out of there and into a better place, they might be really cool people, but they just won’t get it. Really, they won’t.

Sometimes it’s better not to get what we want.

I guess where I’m trying to get at is as much as we think about it, even if we do follow a specific path in life to get to a certain point, it’s probably not going to be the way we imagined. Sometimes, the baby comes first, the marriage comes second, and we become aware that life is a maze of paths. We take right turns. We take left turns. And that’s okay. The point is to seek and to find. Make mistakes? Definitely. I don’t think anyone in the history of the world can look back on their life and say, “That’s exactly the way I imagined it would be.”

Even though I’m not entirely where I want to be, I actually know where I should be. I don’t have it all worked out just yet, but hey, a giant step for man, a small leap for mankind. The small victories definitely seem to be going my way. Things always fall into place, better than we could have designed them. Life is brewing up good things, folks. In the meantime, hang in there.

Copyright © 2014 Elisa Marie Hopkins. All rights reserved.

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