What I want to achieve before entering my 20s

Leo Hidalgo/Creative Commons
(Photo by Leo Hidalgo under CC BY 2.0.)

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I turn 19 in a few days, which means I’ll finally be able to quote a lyric from Lorde’s “Perfect Places.” Despite nearly being “19 and on … fire,” I’m a bit apprehensive about it. I’m aware that growing older, birthdays and the ticking of the clock are all social constructs. However, even as just another arbitrary facet we’ve collectively normalized, it doesn’t change the fact that I desperately wish time would just stand still. I can’t help but feeling attached to my age and all it represents: one year closer to my 20s.

Although it’s silly, my friends and I always find ourselves in a pit of disgust when thinking about entering our 20s. Perhaps the media is the reason behind these sentiments as it has tainted our perception on what it means to be 20. I know for a fact that it won’t be as easy on the eye as it is in the films, rather a frenzy of self-exploration and discovery. As I continue to grapple with my emotions of letting go of my teenage era, here are pieces of the foundation I hope to set before reaching my roaring 20s. 

Sense of identity 

Upon entering college, many people in my life exclaimed the wonders of the great self-discovery. While I didn’t think much of it at the time, I now see the validity in their excitement. College is truly the location where we find ourselves — passion, disinterests and all. I’m certainly not the girl I was prior to entering college. It’s often bizarre how subtle change can occur in that way. In the same vein, our brains are ever so malleable in our early years of adulthood. With that said, challenge yourself. Explore different career options for the sake of growing and formulating opinions of the world. How can you know what kind of job will fulfill you if you don’t take the time to know yourself? 

Acknowledging the present 

Time is constantly slipping through our fingers. As I write this piece, I’m racing against the clock in order to get this article submitted on time. Remaining cognizant of the days flying by could perhaps lead to a deliberate way of living, appreciating the small moments and letting go of the things we can’t control. This all goes to say what we’re doing now carves out a place in our future. Being aware of our choices and how they impact our futures are just as important as living in the present. Our lives are inevitably dependent on time, so be conscientious of how you spend it. 


John Green once said: “We accept the love we think we deserve,” and boy is this true. I’m guilty of unfair treatment by those who didn’t deserve my time. I’m sure many of us have lived through a similar situation. We should be just as intentional with love as we are with our academics. Despite our personal experiences, now is the time to be rid of our bad habits when it comes to love — romantic and platonic. Engaging in healthy practices is important at any age in life, but it’d be helpful to begin now. Confront the devil on our shoulder, and progress further in a future where we can love without fear. We will be happier because of it. 

These are just a few of the many key components I hope to continue to strengthen before reaching my 20s. Perhaps I’m naive to think these will cushion the blow of the approaching decade of self-discovery, but I hope you’ll join me in the ride anyway. 

Contact Anyssa Torres at [email protected].