Dear Twenty-Something Me: I'm Proud Of You

Photo: The Ethan Jones Collection via Canva
dear twenty-something self with flower

By Candice Zhang

Dear twenty-something,

The past few years may have been a blur. But there might also have been many changes that affected you.

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These changes may have come too soon or happened too quickly. You may have never handled challenges previously. But regardless of the outcome, I want to let you know I’m proud of you.

Being in your twenties isn’t easy because you’re navigating the various transitions in life. You’re wondering if you should travel, snag a full-time job with benefits, or take a break from this stress.

Navigating through that is tough, especially if you’re balancing so many things. They all require a great deal of effort and problem-solving skills. So you shouldn’t be too harsh on yourself.

In our twenties, we’re all pressured to become workaholics, whether due to our rent situation or trying to pay our expenses. Some of us work multiple jobs while trying to stay in school.

We’re all pressured to work hard and make money to survive. So being in the rat race is inevitable.

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But this workaholism makes a lot of us experience pressure and fatigue. One in four Gen Zers have said that their mental health has declined. Moreover, 75% of individuals in a LinkedIn research study aged 25 to 33 have experienced a quarter-life crisis.

Because of the nature of society, we’re all taught to push, conform to standards, and write our own success stories.

We all have this one definition of success that includes achieving our goals, becoming wealthy, or buying our own house. However, I want to let you know that you’re successful regardless of that.

You pushed through changes so quickly and smoothly. The pandemic impacted all twenty-somethings significantly. But you still were able to stand up, figure a way out of this, and work in the poor economic conditions.

That’s not an easy thing to do, so I’m proud of you for that.

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Moreover, I’m proud of you if you have stood up and continue to stand up for yourself.

I’ve seen many twenty-somethings stand up for their work boundaries, attend protests to make the world a better place, and advocate for their friends in unfair situations. Those aren’t easy things, as you have to continually reinforce your values with people who may not be so understanding.

Life as a twenty-something is tough. Too much is happening in a short amount of time. Time seems to fly by. And at times, you feel like a teenager trapped in an adult body.

But what matters is that you’re trying your best and continue to move forward. That’s the best that you can do. And I’m proud of you for that.

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Candice Zhang is a writer who focuses on relationships, health and wellness, and current events. Her work has been featured in Unwritten, Her Campus, The Strand, and others.

This article was originally published at Unwritten. Reprinted with permission from the author.