I need to start living my life the way I want to


Is it strange to be 21 years old and not have my life figured out? I feel like I am alone here because I look at my high school classmate’s facebooks and it looks like they all have their lives figured out. They look like they’re having fun (one girl even got married!) and living their life to the fullest. All through my life I’ve been sheltered. I never really had any fun. I want to go out on my own and make my own memories but I can’t because I have no money. I’m working on fixing that, trying to find a job with better hours or a 2nd job but it’s slow going. In the meantime, I’m going to continue to take classes at community college (even though I already have my associates) until I figure out EXACTLY what I want to do and hopefully by that time I will have bettered myself and saved enough money to move out of my parent’s bubble. For years, I have told myself that I am going to change my ways, that I am going to become a more responsible and independent person, but I’m better at talking not doing, and anyway it’s easier to stay the same and not change even though I know deep down that if I change how I think and act I will be happier and healthier. I think it’s time that I stop talking and start doing, even though I know it’s going to be a slow journey!

Category: asked November 20, 2014

3 Answers

There is a lot of pressure coming out of the teen years. A lot of "You're an adult now" begins to crop up, and people expect you to magically know how to handle all manner of adult situations with sometimes zero experience! Therefore the early twenties can in many ways be more stressful than the formidable chaos encountered in teen-age, which, I know, is no consolation after weathering that storm.

It therefore follows that in light of adult privileges, you can make adult decisions. Take your time and explore, give yourself time to discover what clicks with you. Go to college and knock out your core classes before you tackle a major. Minor in some tertiary things to pad your resume and broaden your learning. Get involved in listening to some podcasts, look into the news, read some online journalism websites, read some scientific literature, expose yourself to more things and see what sticks!

You have time. Don't burden yourself with the feeling that time is running out. Figuring out how to think for yourself is vital to filling the "adult" shoes. On top of that, you did not come out of teen age magically knowing everything about yourself. Scholars and theologians have been repeating for millenia that we spend our entire lives learning about ourselves, so do what you can to kick-start your self-discovery.

In the meantime, sit down and write out a good, old-fashioned, high school Drains and Gains list, but instead of money, list the things that cause and relieve stress, then start working on minimizing your Drains and increasing your Gains.

If you'd like to discuss this further, my inbox is always open at: https://blahtherapy.com/members/blackholehead/
Like a wizard who is never early or late but arrives precisely when they mean to, perhaps you too at this stage are neither early or late in figuring out where you want to be and what you want to do, and will arrive at that point (whether it be a point of clarity or an event such as moving out) precisely when you mean to.
When I was 20, I was in an extremely similar position. I was majoring in a subject I liked but really didn't have the drive to make into a career. I lived at home under a very controlling parent. I didn't know what I wanted to do and along with several other struggles I end up dropping out and just working, I ended up, after 3 different jobs, in an office and surprisingly I love it and still work there.

Sometimes the work you end up doing is very different from from the work you believed you wanted. You might need some time, I'm 23 and I'm still not sure what I want to be doing in 10 years, but these year I took off and just worked really helped me find a direction to head in.
You could take time off maybe just a semester and work, you could volunteer at a animal clinic and see if that's for you. You actually do not need a degree to work in a vets office one of my highschool friend worked in vet offices and in a shelter during highschool.

You could talk to a bank manager about costs and expectation for starting a business, just to get a clear idea of what you would need and what it would require, or just try and get a job in one and see if its for you. You might think working in someones shop would be different than owning but as for the type of work and the dealing with customers and issues, that will all be the same. Only difference between owning and not owning would be, you work more if you own it and your pay isn't guaranteed.

Just test out some waters to see if any of it is what you'd like to do. What you could see your self doing in five years.
As for being responsible and independent, go slow, pick one thing to work on and do it in small steps "I will answer emails" or "I will call and make that appointment" . Too much change at once may send you spiraling backwards.

Good Luck!