It often alarms me that I have to remind myself with impressive frequency that I’m in my 20s and for all intensive purposes, considered an adult.
Maybe it’s because that block of years between 20 and 30 are so undefined. Just a quick glance at my Facebook page and you’ll see 20-somethings at all sorts of different places in their lives. Some are pursuing higher education, some landed their dream job right out of undergrad. Some are getting married, some are even having kids.
But that’s the great and completely terrifying thing about being in your 20s. For the first time in our lives, there is no plan laid out for us to follow. We have been released into the world to do whatever we feel called to do and lead whatever lives we choose to pursue. Sure, we feel like we have no idea what we’re doing most of the time, but isn’t figuring it out half the fun?
So may I suggest using this strange, unpredictable decade in your life to go out and see a little of the world? If you need some convincing, I’ve got a few reasons for ya.
1. Your world will become bigger and smaller
I mean, it would kind of have to, right? Up to this point, chances are you haven’t been anyplace much more exotic than a college party. The world outside your everyday life can start to feel like more of an abstract concept than anything else. But when you take that chance and travel, the world becomes more than just something you read about in articles or look at in pictures. It becomes places you fall in love with and people you’ll never forget. You’ll feel the world grow with each new way of life you are introduced to and shrink when you find that no matter where you go, we people have so much in common. It makes new adventures a lot less scary, but just as exciting.
2. Possibilities will grow, dreams will follow
It’s super weird traveling somewhere and realizing all these people have been living their own lives while I was back in Michigan living mine. That’s a crazy thought. And it’s crazy to think that the only life you’ve ever known doesn’t have to be the only life you’ll ever have. Seeing new places and experiencing new things has the power to drastically change what you want out of life. Maybe even enough to give you that sense of direction everyone’s been talking about.
3. The chance to get to know yourself
I’ve lost track of the number of times I’ve inwardly groaned when someone said they just hope to “find themselves” in college. What does that even mean?? You’re right here! But I get what they’re saying, getting to know yourself is an important piece of growing up. A great way to get to know yourself is going faaaar away from the familiar. When all your normal routines and surroundings are stripped away, you’re just left with yourself. Situations like stressful flights, navigating unfamiliar streets, changing up plans, etc all require you to take a good look at what kind of person you are exactly. And who knows, maybe you will end up “finding yourself” on the other side of the world after all (or maybe your doppelganger, which would be way cooler).
4. Learn to embrace the uncomfortable
If you ever happen to find yourself in a place you’ve never been before, chances are you’re going to feel uncomfortable. But going to new places, doing new things, taking new risks… Yeah all those things are uncomfortable for awhile, but don’t they often lead to the best choices (or at least the best stories) you’ve ever made? Once we graduate and find our comfortable, rhythmic lifestyle of the 9-5, we don’t have as many uncomfortable moments as we did growing up. But those moments lead to awesome things and huge achievements. Going out in the world and traveling will teach you how to embrace the uncomfortable and all the wonderful things that result from it.
5. This might be the best chance you’ll get
We honestly have no idea how long we’re going to be around. Although it’s a nice thought to plan all those trips for retirement, that future isn’t guaranteed. But you do have the present. Chances are you have few to no people relying on you, no job you feel indebted to, and in the grand scheme of things, very few responsibilities that come with young adulthood. It doesn’t have to be a long trip or an expensive trip, just go somewhere. Pack up the car and drive. Take an extra job for a little bit to pay for a plane ticket. Skip a few dinners out and trips to the movies to help save up. If you really want to travel, there are plenty of ways to make it happen. Take this freedom and spend it while you still have it. If seeing the world in whatever capacity is somethign you want to do, do it now.
Are you/did you travel in your 20s? Where’d you go? What did that time in your life mean to you?