The real world, as our parents and aunts and uncles and grandparents like to call it, isn't easy. 20-somethings realize this the moment they graduate college or face an obstacle that makes them adults overnight — and it's terrifying.
You go from having a plan to just winging it and hoping that you get it right, whatever "it" is. Though seemingly fun and carefree, this #yolo mentality is anything but. No one is taking care of us but ourselves and even though we're making it now, we constantly worry.
Here's the good news: You're not alone in feeling this way. The bad news: You, we, all 20-somethings, need to stop. Stop doubting ourselves and stop worrying, because it's only making us more miserable, and there are enough miserable things in this world without our help.
Here are some of those worries that we all have in our 20s, but seriously need to let go off.
Having lots of friends
One of the biggest reality checks of your 20s is figuring out, sometimes the hard way, that friends come in and out of your life pretty frequently. Think quality over quantity. Treasure the friends you have and cut your losses with the ones who don't make an effort.
Another biggie. Our Facebook timelines like to make it look like getting engaged is the next stepping stone in life. And if you're single or even if you're in a relationship and want to take it slow, the easier it is to feel like you're swimming against a current. Everyone's paths have different twists and turns. Let yours take its course, and know that no matter who gets to the end first, you'll get to where you're supposed to be eventually.
Counting calories or missing a day at the gym
Health can help you feel good, but not when counting calories or feeling super guilty for missing a gym day permeates your everyday thoughts. Have sugary foods in moderation, but if you want that donut, just eat it. And if you hate the gym, don't go. Find other ways to make yourself happy and still get some exercise.
Getting everything right at work
People are human, and humans make mistakes. And that's okay. Whether you have a tough boss to please or an overwhelming workload, don't be afraid to ask for help. You're not alone. You may mess up here and there, but as long as you focus on doing the best you can and taking initiative, you'll only get better. Work is only a small fraction of what makes up a happy life. Remember that.
Drink that drink. Your 20s is the time to take advantage of the smallest amount of responsibility you might ever have. Go for it. Just grab a bagel and some OJ the next day and it'll be over by the afternoon. Just don't go overboard. Make those hangovers count.
Being too tired to go out
Echoing the "just go for it" mantra above, your 20s is the time to have fun with just enough responsibility to keep you grounded. If you're truly worn out then don't overextend yourself, but stop using the word "tired" when you're really afraid to put yourself out there. Some of the best nights out are the ones we never planned on going to.
Spending weekends doing nothing at all
In the same vein, don't beat yourself up if you want to have a weekend to yourself, to just chill and focus on relaxing. Those Instagrams of #brunch may look great, but saving money and walking around in your PJs all day is can be even better.
Making the right career move
You're faced with a job offer, or are planning to ask for a raise. For 20-somethings, these can be excruciatingly difficult times because we want to make the right choice without burning any bridges. Just do what you feel is best for you and don't worry if it's right. If it's what you want, it's right. If it doesn't work out, on to the next one.
Being the most fashionable
This one's tough for anyone who lives in a city. We're taught that the most put-together people are the ones that have it the most together. Yet, people are proving their worth every single day despite their style. Be true to your tastes and interests. It's your attitude that matters most.
Time passes, people move, life gets in the way or two people just grow apart. It's a growing pain, but one that's necessary to be happy. Think about it: The people who are in your life now fought to be there, and chances are, you fought for them, too. Build on your already strong foundation.
Traveling the world
The places you want to see will be there no matter when you see them.
Not having enough money
You're young and unless you're another Mark Zuckerberg, well, money isn't just going to fall from the sky. That doesn't mean you'll never have enough, though. Three words: low risk investments. But regular old savings can go a long way, too. Take it slow.
Not being successful enough yet or as good as other people
Being 20 is way different than being 28 or 35. Everyone has different opportunies arise at different times. Don't compare yourself to others, because the playing field is never level for everyone. We all have had different experiences that dictate where we're supposed to be in life. Do the best with what you have, where you are.
That perfect GPA
GPAs matter less and less these days, unless you're in fields that require grad school attendance. But in reality, no one is going to judge you on your GPA in the real world. Do the best you can, but focus more on your experiences.
Losing someone you love
Loss, death in particular, is inevitable. As we move into our 20s and experience more loss — loved ones, friends, animals — we're left with an indescribable anxiety. When your brain starts to wander, take a deep breath and put on a puppy video or funny movie.
Whether you want kids or not
Kids. If you want them, they are possible to have, but that doesn't mean you need to have them to feel fulfilled or to be a family. Instead, worry about where you are in the present, and if that includes a kid, then go for it. But don't pressure yourself either way if you're unsure. More and more 20-somethings are putting off having kids and that's okay. Your mom can wait.
Getting enough sleep
Research and studies will come out (and have come out) that say you're not getting enough sleep. And while that's true, don't let it consume you. Set a bedtime and try to stick to it, but don't let the fear of losing sleep keep you from an impromptu night out or late movie.
Whether you're ever gonna be able to afford to house or not
While it's fun to look at those listings, step away from the screen. You may be in an itty bitty apartment now, but so much can happen in a year or five years or 10 years. Instead of focusing on the bigger picture, focus on saving money and perhaps paying off those loans.
Trying to save the world and not knowing where to start
Helping others is what the world needs more of. Take into account all of the little ways you're helping others and focus on how to expand on them. Baby steps.
Finding "the one"
In the words of Frozen's Elsa "Let it go, let it go!"
You do you. That's all the matters.