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09/07/2006 09:43:11 PM · #1
hey all, since this place is so diversed, I got a serious question:
what was it like when you were 20-something
Were you still very uncertain about what you wanna do?
or like, where you are headed? Did you compare yourself to your peers of the same age range? were you any better/worse than them?

thanks
09/07/2006 09:48:24 PM · #2
well, I am less than a month from turning 29 and I CAN'T WAIT for my 20's to be over! It has been the most mixed-up, confusing and frustrating 9 years, never knowing what to do next and having very little direction in life. Just taking leaps of faith, one after another... and making lots of mistakes :-)

good question, crayon.... can't wait to hear perspective from the elders here....
09/07/2006 09:50:24 PM · #3
At 20, I was single, partying, in college and had big ideas...I thought I knew where I was going.

At 21, I was married and working 2 part time jobs to keep my head above water while still in college. I sorta knew where I wanted to go but didn't really know how to get there.

At 24, I had graduated college and was married, working one full time job and becoming a parent for the first time. I knew where I was financially and jobwise and SOOO did not want to be there. I had no idea what I wanted to do but I knew that what I was doing wasn't it.

At 25, I was working one full time job and finally working toward what I decided I wanted to do.

At 26, I was finally doing what I thought I wanted to do.

At 28, I was back in college and trying to get to what I finally decided I wanted to do while working the full time job I thought I had wanted to do. I was also pregnant with my second child.

At 30, I finished graduate school, was pregnant with my third child and FINALLY doing what I wanted to do and loving every second of it.

I truly believe the 20s are for self-discovery. Enjoy as much of that decade as you can and try everything...because real life begins at 30. ;)
09/07/2006 09:57:11 PM · #4
I am 20 so the time period sort of just started for me :-) but right now I am a first year medical student who spends a bit too much time on photography. Should be interesting to see where I'll be when i am 29.

09/07/2006 10:00:06 PM · #5
Originally posted by nico_blue:

I am 20 so the time period sort of just started for me :-) but right now I am a first year medical student who spends a bit too much time on photography. Should be interesting to see where I'll be when i am 29.


Depending on your specialty, probably still in school. ;o)
09/07/2006 10:01:05 PM · #6
FWIW... I'm 30 something and STILL am not sure of what I want to be when I grow up! ;-)
09/07/2006 10:02:00 PM · #7
Originally posted by crayon:

hey all, since this place is so diversed, I got a serious question:
what was it like when you were 20-something
Were you still very uncertain about what you wanna do?
or like, where you are headed? Did you compare yourself to your peers of the same age range? were you any better/worse than them?

thanks


I am now 36 years old and I STILL don't know what I want to do. I didn't then, and I don't now.
09/07/2006 10:08:22 PM · #8
At 21 I started school for the second time, had a blast, enjoyed it, learned tons in the visual world.

At 24 all graduated I had NO CLUE what I was going to really do. Had a degree that was very useful in cities (advertising) not so much where I wanted to go. So I started a small graphic design business and mostly used the money I made to travel & discover. Also worked part time for a weekly paper. Eventually moved and got a job in a teeny advertising studio in a city.

At 28 I dropped everything including working in a teeny advertising studio that mostly ordered promotional materials for other businesses. I delivered pizza for four years and started taking pics at horse events.

at 32 I got a job in a Pro photo lab doing all the custon enlargements with the goal of being a full time photographer sometime. Boss was cool and let me have the time I needed to shoot the events I was booked for.

at 35, went almost solo as an equine portrait and event photog & happily moved back to smallville, delivered pizza just through the winter of my arrival for stabilization $$ and haven't looked back since. FYI not much money in horses but tons of happiness! It'll do for now.
09/07/2006 10:09:00 PM · #9
Well i'm still in my 20's but I've always known what i WANTED to do. fashion photography. i just this year started doing what i need to do to make it some day yet im still just learning technique and have NO idea what to do with all that info once i have it. how to get my foot in the door etc. especially with two special needs kids who need me. my daughter will get better at her own diabetes care with age but at 5 she still has a while before its good enough that i can be away for very long. and that makes it tough. hope that makes sense.
09/07/2006 10:19:53 PM · #10
don't any of you compare yourself with your friends from college, or people around you? I see some of my peers have already become "young adults" who wear suits and stuff, working in big shot companies and positions and it just makes me feel like, well...lacking.
09/07/2006 10:20:10 PM · #11
I am 28. When I was 20 I had no idea what I wanted to be. I have had a variety of jobs some that I liked and some that I hated. I have gone to school trying to figure out what I should do with my life. I travelled, and then travelled some more. I have lived in China, just because I wanted to.

Now that I am 28, I have a great job that pays well, and has nothing to do with my education.

But to be honest, being lost and not knowing what to do in life has been great. I would not want it any other way. I still have no idea what I will be doing in 5 or 10 years from now, but that is okay.

Just enjoy the moment.
09/07/2006 10:24:29 PM · #12
There are now several people whom I went to high school with that are now doctors back here in my hometown. I DO think of it, a lot sometimes, but I finally realized there is a place for everyone in society. I don't let it bother me. When I hit about 33-34 or so I realized I needed to quit fighting myself and GO where MY life takes me, not worry about where it doesn't. If you have the drive you can always move a different direction later.
09/07/2006 10:25:00 PM · #13
Originally posted by crayon:

don't any of you compare yourself with your friends from college, or people around you? I see some of my peers have already become "young adults" who wear suits and stuff, working in big shot companies and positions and it just makes me feel like, well...lacking.


my experience is almost opposite. im the mom and my husband the "suit" so i'm the adult amongst my friends. i feel like a big, old, boring blob who never has fun or anything. i envy those friends that are still "free" so to speak. have fun while you can!
09/07/2006 10:42:11 PM · #14
just a bump, great subject as im pretty much smack bang in the middle of my 20's

Message edited by author 2006-09-07 22:42:29.
09/07/2006 10:42:47 PM · #15
Originally posted by Palmetto_Pixels:

FWIW... I'm 30 something and STILL am not sure of what I want to be when I grow up! ;-)


Same here buddy :-)
09/07/2006 10:42:52 PM · #16
To start...I am 34 now.

At 20, I was broke, but got married to my fiancee of 3 years. Happiest time of my life...so I thought.

21-24, worked full time at Pizza Hut to get through school, graduated from school knowing that I never wanted to live in a metropolitan even though the degree I obtained (Animal Science)was going to require me to do just that in order to make any money. Still, I had to finish school right, so I did. I worked for SEVERAL Veternarians once I finished school, sometimes two or three Veternarians at a time. I truly LOVED what I was doing and didn't care how much hours I put in or how much money I made, as long as we were getting by. Oh, yes...still married.

24-27, took a risk and convinced my husband that I could make more money working for Veternarians in larger cities. I bit the bullet and moved to a metropolitan area. Moved from small town Louisiana to Metro Washington DC. We were there for one month, and found out I was pregnant. I had big dreams for sure, and it all faded quickly with the thought of an upcoming baby. My new job made life VERY MISERABLE for me once they found out I was pregnant. I quit and went back to Pizza Hut. One year later I had my son, went back to working for a Veternarian that was very family friendly and by 27, I had a second son. We struggled to get by...lots of bills went unpaid, or paid late. We really struggled, but still managed to buy our first home. 5 months later, my husband recevied a job offer back in small town Louisiana that we could not refuse. They were going to pay all of our moving expenses...how do you say no to that when you know it is where you want your children to be?

27-30 I became a stay at home Mom, something I never thought I would be in life. I was depressed about leaving Northern VA and missed it greatly, but a life changing event made me realize I belonged in Louisiana near my family and friends. My second son, was diagnosed with a rare genetic disorder at 14 months (exactly one year after we moved back to Louisiana), Tuberous Sclerosis. I am thankful every day that I was a full time Mom at that time, because keeping up with this Physical Therapy, Speech Theraphy, Neurology visits, Cardiology visits, Genetic Counseling, MRI's, CAT scans, echocardiograms, EEG's...EVERYTHING was more than any job ever had me do! I mourned the loss of dreams like the loss of a life. It was the worst moment of my life at the time, and looking back, it is was THE life defining moment of my life.

Once things settled down and we were not in the Diagnostic Stages of TSC, I returned to work. More than anything, I did it to free my mind. I went to work for a wireless company. They happened to be the best paying thing at the time. I didn't care what the job was, I never wanted to be full time Mom, and didn't like really that life wasn't givng me that choice. Needless to say, I am still at that job, expecting our fourth baby, celebrating 14 years of marriage, our house we bought one year ago is paid for thanks to the job that brought us back to Louisiana, where hubby still works. My Benefits for my son are the only thing that keep me going to work every day, or if given the choice, I would be what I never thought I would...FULL TIME MOM ENJOYING WHAT IS THE HAPPIEST TIME OF MY LIFE watching them grow and seeing just how far my second son has progressed. The dreams I had for him did die when he was diagnosed and that was tough to bury. He has taught me to hope and accept the lemons that life gives you! Before I break out into my philosophy...

...as it was so well put, 20's are for self-discovery, enjoy it just a little!!! You're life defining moment is rolled up in there somewhere even if you don't see it at the time!

I really enjoyed reading everyone's stories. Here I thought I was the only one who messed up my 20's
09/07/2006 10:49:36 PM · #17
This is an interesting topic.

when I graduated I was going to one of the best Art schools in the state and was accepted and everything. Though it scared the hell out of me. I was sheltered and was just discovering what freedom being an adult was...Was crushed by the love of my life and became self distructive. Went Party wild experiencing everyting I was told was a 'no no' (I don't recomend that action) Looking back now that was unbelievably stupid! by 21 I was pregnant and married (in that order) From that moment on, Nothing really mattered except my child.
The Husband joined the military and we were sent to Aviano, Italy where I spent day after day in a 1 room apartment with a screaming toddler!
Turning 30 was hard but man I wouldn't go back! My kids are now in high school and Im still young! They will all be graduated in 4 yrs! I am thinking of going to that Art school and finally starting the life I always wanted. Im ONLY 38.

No, I didnt compare myself to others in my age group. At the time, I was to self centered!
09/07/2006 11:12:00 PM · #18
I think with most of my friends from high school and undergrad I am the one they look at as the first to move on towards the "real world." I have been lucky to know what I've wanted to do with my life since I was about 15 or 16, so when I went to college there was barely a wasted credit hour in my schedule. I am now in dental school, in class over 40 hours a week then studying the rest of the time, while my friends are still sleeping in late and staying out late. I feel sometimes that I missed out on the whole "finding yourself" experience, but at the same time, I know that the rest of my life starts in 4 years and I can't wait.

On a similar note, I have many new friends that I have made being in dental school, and many of them are married, have kids, and are in or near their 30's. They all took other paths in their lives prior to coming to dental school, but are there now. So it's common to not know what you want to do with your life when you are only 20-something years old. There's plenty of time to figure it out, just don't sell yourself short and settle for something that you don't really want to do.
09/07/2006 11:35:39 PM · #19
Originally posted by Palmetto_Pixels:

FWIW... I'm 30 something and STILL am not sure of what I want to be when I grow up! ;-)

You took the words right out of my mouth :)
09/07/2006 11:44:20 PM · #20
I'm 42 this month. I went to Europe when I was 19, and turned 20 there. After I came home, I had a hard time finding out how to fulfill my vocation, which changed several times throughout those years. I moved to the big smoke (Toronto) at age 25, where I still drifted, but settled into work. Nothing serious really happened to me until age 30, when I met my proverbial soul mate, and then age 32, when I started my own business. Life has been excellent since then. I even moved back to the small town I spent my childhood in.

My twenties were definitely a period of self-discovery, if not straightforward shiftlessness.
09/07/2006 11:53:09 PM · #21
I haven't quite reached my twenties yet, but I know where I want to be when I do. I'm in college right now taking photography, pottery, and jewelry making/metal arts. When I get done school I want my twenties to be about exploring and learning. I want to go through Europe, I want to meet people and see things through their lives. I wanna hanglide. Then I'll figure out where I want to go.

And I don't compare myself to others my age, I'm a completely different person taking a completely different path. I don't care if people "judge" me for being in art school instead of University. (I graduated top of my class, it's not like I couldn't have been at U if I wanted it) :P I kind of feel like I've lived a whole life in the past two years from all I've experienced good or bad. I'm happy just going wherever the wind blows me.
09/08/2006 12:48:23 AM · #22
It's been great and calming to read all your stories.
It is very good to know that it is quite normal and many others go through the same thing. I might just get comfortable at friend gatherings again after this. Thanks
09/08/2006 01:00:49 AM · #23
i'm 22, a little lost in life, but it's going easy enough.
09/08/2006 01:12:32 AM · #24
My 20s were stressful. There was a lot of pressure to achieve something, and I just flailed about with no direction and no idea what I wanted to do. It's weird, but everyone stresses about turning 30 and for me it was this huge relief, like the weight of the expectations of an entire decade were suddenly gone and I was free to just be myself without any pressure. I'm ecstatic just to be turning 31, because it feels so wise and powerful compared to 30.

Just one example would be going to college then versus going to college now. I graduated at 21 with a useless degree and a crappy GPA. If you ask me what I wanted to do with a Rhetoric degree, my answer is, "I wanted to graduate." That was all, and the literal truth. Now I'm 30, 31 in less than a month, and I've started that experience over. After nine years spent in the real world figuring things out, I know what I want to do and how I need to go about getting there. I'm combining seven years of banking experience with an International Finance degree in progress and hoping that I can parlay that into a career in financial journalism - combining both degrees into something unique to offer one of the fastest growing sects of journalism in the United States. Going to class is different. I don't care much what my classmates think of my outfit and I take notes the entire hour, then I come home, do all the chapter reading, take notes on the chapters, do homework on my lunch breaks, and I have an incredible appreciation for what I'm learning now where before it was just something expected of me.

Edited to respond to the question about comparing oneself to one's peers: Yes, of course! And I do it as little as possible because it's just depressing when I stop to wonder at it when the truth is that I have carved out a good life for myself. My college roommate is an aerospace engineer who, in Texas, was working on space shuttle systems. No joke. My roommate the extremely well-paid rocket scientist. It doesn't get any better than that, right? Well, earlier this year she dropped everything, moved to Colorado, and started working on her masters degree. Much of her story is what finally motivated me to get on with the second bachelors myself. Other friends, mostly from high school or my gamer days, have gotten married and had kids, and in the meantime I'm dedicated to hitting the snooze button on my biological clock. I see them and remind myself of how lucky I am to have such freedom when so many people my age are tied to husbands and babies and mortgage payments. It's a two way street.

Message edited by author 2006-09-08 01:21:07.
09/08/2006 01:13:29 AM · #25
I'm 22 and seeing many people do all kinds of different things. One of my best friends just left for med school at the mayo clinic. Another one of my best friends never moved away and has worked at coffee shops and lived with his parents. Another one has a year left at school. Another, a grad of NYU got a job at a record company and was laid off after two months and is stressing heavily right now.

I just graduated and am interning full time for a newspaper now, come Jan I'll be in a bit of a limbo again probably but oh well.

Comparing yourself to other people and what they are doing is useless. The friend of mine who didn't go to college and lives with his dad is still one of the best people I know and the girl going to med school is no better than him really in my opinion. Just work to be happy and if you're happy who cares what whoever is doing?

I'm just happy that my semester in New Zealand showed me what I like to do and I've been able to get jobs an experience with it continuously since then. (not that my DPC entries reflect that!) That said, in the grand scheme of things I'm still pretty lost, and I wouldn't have it another way.

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