For The Twenty-Something Who Feels Like Their Life Is A Complete Mess

You're not alone.

How Young Millennials Can Practice Self-Love As They Enter Adulthood Jp Valery via Unsplash

By Haley Stern

Dear Confused Twenty-Something, 

It’s OK to feel like a walking dichotomy. 

It’s also OK to let go of society’s expectations and love yourself through every moment of your life.

If you wake up feeling incapable or incompetent, so be it! You’re still adjusting to this new adulting thing, so it’s OK if life feels complicated right now! The echo of internalized expectations may sound, but your love’s resonance can sing right back. 


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Just because your life doesn’t feel as exciting or fresh as you anticipated, doesn’t mean that you’re on the wrong path. It’s OK if life feels like a struggle right now. 

It’s OK if you think you have life figured out, then later fall flat on your face. It’s OK if you don’t know what to do or which direction to go in next.


Feeling confident that you can succeed, but then struggling to even get by, does not make you a hypocrite. It makes you human.

Life is a process and it's a messy one, so embrace the mess. 

I, too, am a walking dichotomy, and I’m walking right beside you. 

When I turned my tassel this May, I viewed the moment as a symbol of change. I saw graduating as the beginning of a new chapter in my story. I thought that receiving my degree would somehow wipe the slate clean and magically improve my struggles.

Six months later, though, I proudly admit that my life is just as messy as ever... and I am OK with that.

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Yes, I’ve now proudly displayed a diploma on my bookshelf. But, the girl sitting at the desk next to that reminder of her achievement still wonders what the future holds.

I’m still afraid. I’m still anxious. I’m still doubtful. And that's perfectly OK. 

Despite my uncomfortable feelings, I feel proud and hopeful. I know that I’ll work through my doubts and uncertainties, then transform them into the groundwork for the rest of my life.

Achievements like finishing school, landing a job, or moving to a new city are just that: achievements. They’re no more and no less.

Yes, reaching a major milestone provides a momentary sense of satisfaction. The internal wins, however, are the ones that last forever. 


So, today, twenty-something, celebrate who you’re becoming right now. Show up for yourself in this mess called “life”, because you will find who you truly are right in the midst of your chaos.

Our achievements last for a season, but our personal evolution lasts a lifetime. 

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Haley Stern is a writer who focuses on self-love, self-care, and health and wellness. For more of her self-love content, visit her author profile on Unwritten.