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I woke up on the morning of my twenty-third birthday to a dead-end job, a failing relationship, an empty wallet and a complete lack of direction. And I’m sure I’m not alone in that fate.
The years following college aren’t kind to us. We are thrust into the real world with a large amount of student debt, jobs that barely pay enough to make rent, relationships that are rapidly changing and a profound feeling of being lost on how to handle it all. Nobody likes you when you’re twenty-three, including your own life.
And yet, we pull through.
Most of us make it to our twenty-fourth year. Most of us make it out of the woods. Most of us are lucky enough to say that by the end of our twenty-third year we’re no longer feeling completely and utterly lost. But in case you’re not there yet, here are a few things you may need to be reminded of right now.
1. You’re not going to be lonely for the rest of your life.
Twenty-three is a lonely and uncomfortable age. College is (probably) over. Your professional life is (hopefully) just beginning. And your social life is doing an awkward, uncomfortable shuffle in response to all the changes. You’re far away from the people who know you well and not yet emotionally close with the people who physically surround you.
Give it time. Give your relationships the chance to evolve. Give yourself the chance to adjust to no longer living with a group of your closest friends (yes, you will adjust). Loneliness doesn’t last forever, even when it feels like it will.
2. You don’t need to be working your dream job right now.
3. Everyone feels lost at some point.
4. You still have so much time to fail.
5. Someone is going to love you again.
6. You are going to love you again.
7. You are allowed to set and keep boundaries.
8. You are never entirely without support.
9. Being disappointed in yourself just means that you know you can do better.
10. It’s not your job to live someone else’s dream.
11. ‘No’ is a very important word.
12. Nobody can read your mind – you’re going to have to ask for what you want.
13. You don’t have to be embarrassed.
14. Your body is not seventeen anymore.
15. You’re probably hotter than you think you are.
16. You aren’t done changing yet, and you probably won’t be for a while.
17. You have to give yourself a break.
18. Losing friends is a natural consequence of this stage of your life.
19. There will be people you have to leave behind as you grow, and that doesn’t make you a bad person.
20. Comparisons are completely senseless, unless you use them as a motivator.
21. Everyone fucks up.
22. Everyone’s terrified.
23. If you had it all figured out right now, the rest of your life would be boring.