We Don’t All Have to be the Same 23-Year-Old

Everyone is talking about that article written by the 23-year-old blogger who claims getting married at 23 is a terrible life choice.

I read the article (if you haven’t, click here) and some of the responses to it, most of which really criticized this girl for being narrow-minded about young marriage and singleness.

I want to set aside what this author is saying about marrying young and instead address what she’s really trying to convey: How to make the most of your twenties. This article is only one of countless articles I have seen recently that are all trying to give advice (or blatant opinions) on all the ways you can be awesome in your twenties.

And what almost all of these articles seem to say is that in order to do this you have to do two things: Be slightly reckless, and love to travel.

There is a definite trend among these types of articles:

It’s considered cool, trendy even, to be broke.

Your twenties is a time to be single, so live up that lifestyle. Kiss people you just met, date the bad boys or girls, and celebrate the fact that you can be out with your friends instead of sitting at home with a spouse.

Don’t feel the need to commit to much, like a job, city, or significant other.

You should be out traveling the world, and definitely outside of the United States. You should be taking selfies on the Great Wall of China, drinking at all the London dive bars, or carrying just one backpack through Brazil.

And while all these things are in fact valid and can be really fun ways to spend your twenties, I can’t help but feel that we are all being asked to be one kind of 23-year-old.

I completely agree that your twenties are a very unique time to take opportunities you may not have as much freedom to do later in life. It’s an amazing decade of getting to be young, adventurous and passionate.

But I do not believe that there is only one way to do this.

Maybe you are a young, spirited 20-something who just has this desire to go live in Nebraska for a few years.

Or maybe you have settled into one city because you are trying to open your own bakery or tattoo parlor.

You might, in fact, not be willing to be broke and instead be working really hard at what is not your dream job but is allowing you to live on your own in an apartment you love.

Maybe you are in a relationship or marriage that is totally awesome, and the two of you are enjoying just going to the park to take walks and talk about your day.

You may have no interest (or budget) for traveling abroad and instead choose to focus on pursuing your master’s degree.

There seems to be this idea that 20-somethings who are not jet-setting across the globe or having a carefree social life all the time are going to reach 30 and really regret how they spent their twenties.

And while that may in fact be the case for some of us, there is no one right way to be an awesome 23-year-old. The best thing you can be doing during this amazing season of life is what makes you happy, whether that be living in South Africa or in the town you grew up in, celebrating being single or marrying the person of your dreams.

Make your twenties your own, not someone else’s idea of how they should or should not be spent.


© Julia Feeser and HelloSoul, 2013.


2 replies »

  1. I totally agree with this. Have you read the Defining Decade by Meg Jay? I feel like this author has some great insight on all this buzz going around that 20-somethings are supposed to be a carefree butterfly.

    • I haven’t, but thank you for the suggestion. One of my favorite reads right now is “Tiny Beautiful Things” by Cheryl Strayed. It’s a book that gives amazing life advice for any stage, but especially this season of trying to understand where my values, dreams, fears lie.

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