6 Things You Don’t Need To Stress About In Your 20s

For a 20-something figuring out adulthood, the prospect of having a career, finding love and affording the rent can be slightly daunting.

Add helpful comments like ‘don’t stress’, and ‘you have plenty of time to do x y z’ to an already scrambled brain and it’s no surprise we’re treading water, trying to keep afloat in this thing they call life.

Aside from the cost of housing, global warming and elected leaders screwing up the planet, we also have social media dictating what constitutes a “perfect” life.

Problem is, while we’re obsessing over comparisons and sweating the small stuff, we’re wasting the valuable experiences and life lessons our 20s can offer.

Here are some of the common issues keeping us up at night that we should put to bed – they simply don’t matter.

#1 Not being where you’re ‘supposed’ to be in life

Who says you’re supposed to be at a particular point at a particular age? And yet we constantly compare ourselves and forget that being successful is a personal, individual journey.

Life coach Lauren Bryant believes social media has a lot to answer for when it comes to keeping up with the Joneses – a pressure other generations never had to experience.

“You have to remember, people online exaggerate how well they’re doing, so don’t fall for it! You don’t have to be at every social engagement or wear the latest jumpsuits. Keeping up appearances for other’s sakes is a sure fire way to live in misery,” says Lauren

Dr Meg Jay calls the 20s the ‘defining decade”. In her awesome TED Talk, ‘Why 30 Is The New 20’, she suggests avoiding the quarter life ‘identity crisis’ by getting some ‘identity capital’ instead.

“Do something that adds value to who you are; something that’s an investment in who you might want to be next.”

Revel in trying out different things and getting lost along the way – you’ll end up finding yourself.

#2 Body image and sexuality

With hormones crazier than Jim Carrey’s latest red carpet rant plus the race to find the elusive ‘one’, sexuality plays a big part of a 20-something’s life.

Researcher and Author, Dr Lynette Maguire believes the “pornification” of our culture affects how we feel about ourselves and makes us question if our bodies are ‘normal’.

“Most people in their 20s have watched porn but many don’t realise these “actors” have had enhancement surgeries – these aren’t ‘normal’ bodies’, she says.

“It’s shocking to think vaginaplasty procedures have skyrocketed because women think their natural bodies aren’t as good as porn stars. You don’t have to look like these people or ‘perform’ like one. Be yourself and love yourself.”

A recent study by Dove revealed global body image issues have reached ‘a critical level’ with a massive 89% of Aussie women willing to cancel plans and important engagements because of how they look.

Yes, be healthy, exercise and eat your broccoli, but if you want a Krispy Creme or you miss a gym sesh, don’t obsess – it isn’t the end of the world. Keeping your mentality healthy is just as important as keeping our bodies fit.

#3 Friendships

During our 20s, friendships will come and go as we work out what’s important to us. Remember: we don’t have contracts with people we’ve grown up with.

As we change, so do they. Sometimes friendships need a break as we discover different paths. Some you may outgrow, and that’s ok. Don’t hang with people just because you have history but similarly don’t throw them away and replace them with the flavour of the month.

Lynette says true friendships involve acceptance, regardless of differing opinions or saying no, so don’t let anyone coerce you into things you don’t feel comfortable with.

“Knowing from an early age that friends never pressure, will help you understand quality relationships. Really use this time to work out what qualities you admire in people and surround yourself with people that have them. Remember your tribe sets your vibe so choose carefully.”

#4 Finding “the one” and having kids ASAP

There’s a weird pressure to follow the “ideal” timeline of engagement (mid to late 20s), marriage (late to early 30s), and kids (early 30’s). Any life event outside of this timetable seems open to judgement.

But the world is changing. Not only are we having families later in life, facing increasingly awesome opportunities at work and don’t live in the 1950s (where each life event would happen a hell of a lot earlier), guess what: we’re in control of setting our own timelines.

Lauren reminds us that not withstanding the quickie marriages (and divorces) in Hollywood, marriage is kinda a big deal, and there’s no rush if you aren’t ready for it.

“The dating world has changed with the likes of online dating and apps like Tinder, it’s nothing like your parents or your grandparents’ era! Don’t stress yourself out looking for ‘the one’, instead focus on being the person you want to be,” she tells us.

Lynette says while many people are rushing to find true love in their 20s, there’s a possibility you won’t find it until much later. “But here’s the thing; if you treat yourself with the love and respect you deserve, and be your authentic self, then love will find you faster.”

#5 Finding a fire career path

Work worries are a big preoccupation in our 20s. What if I decide on the wrong career? What if I make that career move when I should have taken the other one? What if, what if…

Yes, it’s terrifying what the future might hold but making the ‘wrong’ choices could be the best learning experiences we’ll have.

“In your 20s you’ll probably work in many different places, with different roles and different experiences. Enjoy it! Each lesson you’ll learn along the way will help you down the track, regardless of how meaningless it may seem at the time,” Lauren says.

Many successful people today struggled with direction and rejection: just look at JK Rowling who was bankrupt, on welfare and homeless whilst writing her first Harry Potter Book; Lady Gaga who was dropped from her label after 3 months; and Stephen King, whose first book Carrie was rejected over 30 times.

“You may also find you fall into something you love, or that your dream job may not be so dreamy after all. Or perhaps you’ll change your mind on what your dream job actually is altogether,” Lauren adds.

#6 Sweating the small stuff

Lynette believes having a healthy perspective of what’s really important will make our 20’s an easier, happier ride.

“When you’re young it can seem like life is full of the ‘big things’ and that many situations are life changing events, especially with the power of social media. But are they really that important? If you ask yourself ‘Will I even remember this is in five years?’ and the answer is no, then put the situation into the ‘little things’ basket. Leave the ‘big things’ basket for stuff that actually matters – like death or life altering disease,” she says.

A published freelance writer from print to online, Katy’s passion is honest authentic writing. From the mundane experience to a sensational observation, Katy always finds a way to voice what she sees. Relatable and quirky, she writes with warmth and familiarity. She also loves lists, matching socks and edamame beans.