Last week, I thought I was going through an existential crisis.
Honestly… I think I cried every day. My mom probably dreaded my FaceTime calls. (Well, probably not because she’s honestly the best, but you know what I mean.)
I’m 23. I am at a pivotal point in my life where a lot of things are going to change… very quickly. I’m going to finish my master’s degree, leave the town I’ve lived in for 6 years, move out of my home of 4 years, get my first ‘big girl’ job, move to a new city, live alone, and take on the looming and daunting task that is ~adulting.~
In retrospect, I think I was also battling some anxiety, stress… and my cycle might have had something to do with it. However, as I was nearly consumed with the multitude of thoughts rushing through my head during that week, I realized that a lot of my friends could probably relate to the crushing thoughts occupying my mind….. why had I never talked to my friends about this stuff?
Why is it that we don’t normalize more of the conversations that make our heads spin?
It’s okay to be confused. It’s okay to be afraid, terrified even. It’s okay to be uncomfortable. It’s okay to have a little bit of a crisis sometimes. When I was talking to a friend about my feelings, she said that she’d felt the exact same way I felt about approaching the next chapter of her life a couple years ago.
So, hey, let’s start talking about it. So I decided I was going to compile a list of things that we should have open and honest conversations about. I didn’t have the question and I definitely don’t have any answers. Hell, I’m still flailing my way through this new chapter. I’m writing this because it is comforting to know that I AM NOT ALONE.
Neither are you.
Instead of me just trying to think of topics, I decided to ask a Facebook group with thousands of women. I asked them a simple question:
What topics should we normalize in conversations in our twenties?
As you read this list, consider it a list of discussion starters for your galentine’s day dinner, your next zoom happy hour, or a heart-to-heart with a close friend.
Here’s what they said:
- Can we talk about how the girls on the Bachelor at 23 seem to live on a different planet?
- Can we discuss our own privilege so we can continually use it to support marginalized groups?
- Can we normalize financial conversations?
- Can we discuss that getting your first job is terrifying?
- Can we talk about how to negotiate a salary?
- Can we talk about the fear we all face when we approach a new chapter? (job, marriage, motherhood, death of a loved one).
- Can we discuss our own internalized misogyny and work to be better?
- Can we talk about how to advocate for ourselves at work?
- Can we discuss freezing our eggs?
- Can we just agree that we all have doubts about our life trajectory?
- Can we talk about changing our career path?
- Can we normalize that our bodies can change and we don’t have to hate it?
- Can we talk about how therapy has helped us and encourage others to try it?
- Can we discuss the comparison game and quit playing it among friends?
- Can we discuss about how friendships should not be challenging?
- Can we discuss hormone health, fertility, and infertility?
- Can we normalize that “no” is an acceptable answer and we don’t need to feel guilty for it?
- Can we talk about how single people often fear we might be alone forever?
- Can we talk about when we’ve reached mental capacity and need a break?
- Can we agree that not everyone has to like you? (You don’t even like everyone, sis.)
- Can we normalize not getting married young or just enjoying being single?
- Can we normalize moving home if it’s the best option for you?
- Can we just agree that you should do WHATEVER is the best option for you?
- Can we agree that diet culture fucking sucks?
- Can we discuss credit cards and credit card debt?
- Can we talk about how the hell insurance works and why they don’t teach us?
- Can we normalize not asking people when or if they are having children?
- Can we talk about the stock market and investing?
- Can we normalize differing from the timeline society forces on us?
- Can we talk about why the 9-5 work cycle sucks?
- Can we decrease shame around conversations about sex?
- Can we discuss friendship breakups and why they hurt so bad?
- Can we normalize being transparent when life is hard?
- Can we just say we all think ‘what the fuck’ when it comes to taxes?
- Can we talk about saving for retirement?
- Can we discuss burnout?
- Can we normalize boundary setting in our personal and professional lives?
Honestly, I wish I knew more about more of these topics…
But I don’t.
I am attempting to embrace feeling the fear and doing it anyways. I’m following accounts on Instagram and TikTok and YouTube that teach me a lot of things from finances to skincare to body confidence to hormone health to personal growth and everything in between. I’m reading. I’m learning. I’m unlearning. I’m trying. I’m giving it my all. I’m crying when I need to cry and smiling when I want to smile. I’m constantly reminding myself to not let my anxiety beat my joy.
And I’m going to start having more conversations.
On a personal note….
Today, I got offered a job. I negotiated my salary. I opened a High Yield Savings Account. I filed my taxes as an independent for the first time.
Oh… and I accepted my first “real-world” job!
So I’m going to continue to just try my best and feel my way through it.
My hope is that if any of the questions listed above resonate with you or you’ve felt those thoughts swirling in your head…. you know that you’re not alone in having an existential crisis.
You’re normal. Your thoughts are valid.
And if you’re like me….
maybe you’re just 23.