All the decisions you make will lead you to this point. That sounds terrifying, but it’s actually not. You may be sitting around, thinking everyone around you is making better decisions that will lead them to better lives, or maybe they’re already off living these great lives, but if you look around, you probably are too.
Take, for example, my friend Courtney. In our early 20′s, after graduating college, most of our friends moved to Manhattan, myself included. We were cramming ourselves into small spaces with too many roommates and paying too much in rent. But Courtney stayed on Long Island and put herself through grad school so she could become a teacher. She wanted a steady, stable job that had a distinct career trajectory, good benefits and good hours so that one day she would be able to start her own family. She always wondered if maybe she was missing out on something by not living in the city since that’s what all her friends were doing.
I, on the other hand, was wondering if Courtney had it right. While I was working tirelessly and being grossly underpaid, she was able to live in a spacious studio apartment by herself for years, her teacher salary (and tutoring on the side) afforded her a flexible income, and in 2011, was able to put down a down payment on her very own home. That same year, I was still living paycheck to paycheck in the same apartment I had been in for the past five years, cramming in with those same roommates and at the same job.
Our paths were completely different, and we each wondered if maybe the other had made better choices. But on September 22nd 2021, one month after Courtney’s 30th birthday and one month before mine, all our “what if” thoughts faded away. That day, Courtney gave birth to the most beautiful baby boy. And I was able to be by her side for the first few days of his life because the week prior, I had quit the job I had been at for most of my twenties. My experience there and the hard work I put in allowed me to jump on an amazing new opportunity at a firm I had my eye on for a long time. There was finally an opening for someone with my skillset and expertise which I had spent the past seven years developing. Since I don’t start this new job until next week, I’ve spent the past few days at the hospital with Courtney, falling head over heels in love with my brand new nephew.
Everyone talks about the mistakes people make in their 20′s, and what screw ups we all are. And how you have to learn from those mistakes and blah, blah, blah. But I disagree. I think no matter what your path, and no matter what decisions you’re making, they’re yours. Don’t look at the person next to you. We all spend way too much of our 20′s (and I’m guessing the next few decades) doing this. So as I approach 30 in just a few weeks, I’m telling you, 20-somethings – don’t wonder “what if.” Don’t regret not getting married young, not going to (or going to) law school, eating too much late night pizza last night, not giving that guy your number. You have an innate sense of what you need and that will lead you to your destination. And the path there can be fun, so be sure to enjoy it.
Originally posted on 40:20 Vision.
thanks toprankonlinemarketing for the photo!
Amy Schoenberger is about to start her new job as the Director of New and Social Media for Cone Communications, a PR firm that specializes in corporate social responsibility and cause marketing. Amy also serves on the advisory board for Nest, a non-profit organization that provides micro-loans to women artisans in developing countries. She is also a member of the She’s the First Dream team, an organization that helps girls in the developing world to be the first in their families to graduate. A resident of New York City’s East Village, Amy is an avid traveler and has written about her experiences abroad for the Huffington Post, Fathom Away and more.
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