The Things That Feel Most Personal

This summer, it seems like my friends and I have been going through a lot of different things. We’re each facing our own set of new challenges, successes, uncertainties, and excitements. Three of my closest friends came to visit me in the city last weekend and at the end of their visit, we all admitted that we felt a little uneasy. We had been looking forward to our midsummer reunion for so long, and now that it was over, it was time to head back to reality—work, laundry, grocery shopping—essentially being “real” people again, as we like to joke. As I hailed my gals a cab back to Penn Station, I was reminded of a particular quote, which I eagerly shared:

The things that feel most personal are often the most universal.

It’s so easy to get inside our heads and feel alone in our struggles. Too often, I forget that I am not the first person to face the things that are coming my way. In fact, a lot of them are things that every person deals with at some point or another. There are parts of growing up that are really special and fun and rewarding and then other parts that are really hard and scary and confusingand thats okay. Although each of us walks a unique path, isn’t it comforting to know that we aren’t ever really alone in anything? Someone else has dealt with the very same things that you’re dealing with right now. And guess what? They came out on the other end just fine…and probably better for it! Struggling with grace builds a kind of character that can never be taken away from us. Take hope from the fact that no matter how isolated you feel, youre not an anomaly.

Life questions

I’m not saying this in an effort to belittle individual fears and worries, but just a gentle reminder that were all going to be okay no matter what life throws our way. Trust me, I’m stumbling through it all right alongside of you! It seems to me like the twenty-something years are defined by one constant: transition. Everything is in flux, which is equally exciting and terrifying. Just the other day my dad said to me, “It’s a really hard decade, but a really fun one, too.” Our parents are a great examples that it is possible to live happily in the in-between stages of life. When I find myself craving stability, I remind myself that it’s such a rare opportunity to have so few ties to the things around me—to truly be able to go anywhere or do anything that I want. Life is full of ups and downs, and the only thing I can think to do is to keep a positive outlook when I feel like Im wandering through valleys and to maintain perspective from the peaks.

Our generation was raised being told that we could do anything we put our minds to and that were unique and special, but the truth is that none of us are “special” in this case, and that’s actually quite a blessing. Now that we’re older, the paradox of choice comes into play as we try to plan our futures. We are so overwhelmed by the endless amount of possibilities that surround us that sometimes it’s tough to even know where to start. We’re told that our college majors will most likely end up being completely unrelated to the careers we’ll end up in and that we can jump fields whenever we want. When nothing feels certain, it can feel impossible to get our footing in anything. We are left with instability and insecurity, but it doesn’t need to be that way. Stressing about every detail of our lives isn’t a valuable use of our time—it’s not what we’re called to do. Life is a series of transitions that we have to trust ourselves to adapt to the best that we can.

When you feel the fear of the unknown getting the best of you, remember that your struggle, as personal as it may feel, connects you to a huge web of people who are going through the same things. By joining communities such as the one we’ve been lucky enough to find in QFYC, we can make our twenties some of the most wonderful years of our lives. Smile, take a deep breath, and know that you are never alone.

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