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Shelby Doherty Headshot

Stuck in the 20-Something

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When you're a little kid, everything seems so simple. Everything is mapped out for you. Someone is always there to lend a helping hand, to watch over you. You go through elementary school, middle school, high school, and onto college with "due dates" -- there's a time set out for everything you do and someone is nagging you to complete everything by a certain time. No one warns you that these timelines that you've always been so diligent about just disappear right after that graduation. All of a sudden, what you're "supposed to do" is your choice. No one tells you when to exercise, see friends; it's all left up to you. Many 20-somethings experience this feeling of being "stuck." We see some of our friends that we have always been on the same track with, well, doing other things. Some are engaged, it seems as if everyone has a baby now, others are getting promotions, moving to far away cities... It seems like everyone is moving, except you.

I feel like a lot of us 20-somethings think, one mistake and that's it -- done, no more chances! That is not true at all. In fact, it is quite the contrary. Most successful people who I have spoken with have told me that what they thought they wanted out of their lives, completely backfired. However, these failures led them to the opportunities that changed their lives. When something bad happens to you, whether you are fired, dumped, fail a project or just feel totally lost -- this is when it is most important to just breathe and have faith that another door is going to open and you will be ready for it more than ever.

As you know, it is important to have goals, but it is also important to know that if one goal doesn't go as planned, it is not the end of the world. Many of us have big dreams of traveling Europe, going to graduate school, having a family, getting that big promotion... But when we actually think about going through with our goals we get too overwhelmed and think that all of these things will just get in the way of one another. Maybe you won't end up doing everything you plan to do, but you have to be able to be okay with that and understand that if life did get in the way; well, maybe it is for a very good reason.

Happiness is not a destination, it is the whole ride. Us 20-year-olds need to stop looking at our boyfriends, our jobs, our weight and our paychecks to find happiness. It will never be there. Our happiness is with us, always. It is deep down where our heart and mind meet. It is in the laughs we have with our friends, the talks we have with our mom, that moment at the end of the day when you get to take your heels off, a beautiful spring day when you hear the birds chirping. We must find happiness in little things everyday -- not in trying to get somewhere that we think we will find it.

So, my 20-something friends, next time you are feeling "stuck," get up and stretch. Close your eyes and breathe. Go outside and go for a walk. Meet up with an old friend. Daydream. Take risks. After all, you're only in your 20s once so live your life and learn some lessons along the way. Believe in yourself and know that this is not the end of where we are going; it is just the beginning. We are all traveling down this road together and don't worry, that road is big enough for us all.

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