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Being in your 20s

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Why do people always say that being in your 20s is the best time of your life? I don't think it is. All we do is stress over school and do more school. If our 20s is really the best of our lives... I don't know how to feel about the future 

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Who says that?

Being in your 20s can be both amazing and terrifying. We do most of our 'finding ourselves' and personal growth in our 20s and maybe early 30s. That can mean a lot of heartache, sorrow, confusion, frustration, stress, depression, anxiety, uncertainty. But it can also mean a lot of wayfinding, travelling, having new experiences and meeting new people, discovering our passions, discovering our likes, dislikes, wants and needs, establishing our boundaries, loving and being loved, showing ourselves to the world, and learning how to be authentic.

They're simply two sides of the same coin.

I don't believe that any of these things really go away as we get older, but for most people, the tumultuous nature of their 20s tends to dissipate and fade as they enter their 30s, if only because people begin to become established in their careers, maybe they've married someone or at least settled into a long-term relationship, and since they do know themselves somewhat after a crazy up-and-down time in the past decade, they maybe seek out fewer 'new' things, seek our fewer 'new' people, they're more sure of themselves, who they are, and the way they see the world.

Honestly, cue the famous Charles Dickens opening to A Tale of Two Cities.

That said, in my experience, most people who have a rough time in their 20s merely have a better time in their 30s, and possibly even better in their 40s. Life satisfaction tends to go up as we get older. Some people who yearn to be 20 again are merely feeling nostalgic for a time when they had fewer responsibilities and were a little more free spirited. I'd argue that you can easily maintain those two aspects of life well into your 30s and 40s, it all depends on what you value and how you choose to live. We really only put the burden upon ourselves to do things that we think we ought to do; maybe we should reflect on where these desires actually come from, whether they're really ours or not, or if we just think they are. 

Keep in mind that you, in your 20s, trying to get into a health professional program, and continue onward in that path, are unique in that manner. You've decided to stay in school, and pursue more of it, for the promise of something that you think you want at the end of the road. The process isn't always really meant to be easy, or enjoyable, or fun, but it has to be at least somewhat meaningful. You do have to find those pieces and moments of fulfillment along the way; you have to realize that the climb is, often enough, and perhaps deservedly so, more important than the destination.

For me, my 20s were strange. They were filled with a lot of discovery. But also a lot of pain. A lot of self-doubt. A lot of "I don't know what the fuck I'm doing." 

Those things never really go away entirely, not 100%, but as I am progressing into my 30s now, I'm grateful for all the shit that I wade through in my 20s. All the heartaches, stressful times, disappointments, lost friends, failed endeavours, regrettable achievements, awkward moments. It made me, me. And I really like me, at least now I do. A hard decade in your 20s will make you a wise person in your 30s. I don't wish everyone to go through the same troubles, or worse, that I did, in fact, I hope no one makes the same mistakes I did, but I do hope everyone learns the same lessons, and if feeling stressed, worried, and fucking up constantly is the way to get there, then it might just be a worthwhile journey nonetheless.

So don't fret over what seems like a rough time in your 20s. It just means you're climbing. And it means you're learning. And it means, in many ways, you're doing it right.

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In my twenties I was deeply involved in the arts scene and having a really good time. It was also a terrible time in terms of figuring myself and my path out. Tbh, I am enjoying my thirties a lot more (despite no longer going to cool parties), because I have a lot more clarity and self-awareness. I would not go back to being in my twenties, but also do not regret how I spent them. 

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This is the stepping stone for the rest of your life if you do the journey well, notwithstanding any setbacks along the path. Uncertainty and ambiguity follow you always along your journey of life, no matter what your age. Taking advantage of your energy, intellect, ambition, focus and drive helps you achieve your goals. You have less attachments and are able to follow your dreams and to correct any mistakes with minimum disruption. Indeed, this IS the best time of your life!

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4 hours ago, ploughboy said:

Youth is wasted on the young.

Wise words of George Bernard Shaw...& a good reminder!

i only yearn for the greater energy and lack of physical aches and pains of my 20s. The rest can stay behind!!!

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I don't know if I agree with the saying that 20s is the best time of life, but I know this, life is mostly suffering, for everyone at any age! If you can spend it in the pursuit of something meaningful, then the suffering becomes tolerable and life has some meaning to keep you going. I think this pursuit of a "better future" (for most of us here, that constant effort to get into medicine for example) is what distinguishes youth from older age and that's what might make it "better" in a sense.

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16 hours ago, ploughboy said:

Youth is wasted on the young.

I came here to say this exact same thing. 

I have way more to worry about and do now that I'm in my mid-late 30's with a young family. 

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19 hours ago, lifeadvice said:

 Some people who yearn to be 20 again are merely feeling nostalgic for a time when they had fewer responsibilities and were a little more free spirited. I'd argue that you can easily maintain those two aspects of life well into your 30s and 40s, it all depends on what you value and how you choose to live. 

Easily maintain it if you don't have kids. Good fucking luck maintaining fewer responsibilities and a free spirit once you got a few rug rats.

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2 hours ago, NLengr said:

Easily maintain it if you don't have kids. Good fucking luck maintaining fewer responsibilities and a free spirit once you got a few rug rats.

it is interesting running into those 40 or 50 year olds with full professional income, and no family obligations like that. I know some radiologists like that - zipping all over the place and so on. Not exactly moral boosting for the other rads when they are showing yet more photos from their 7th fancy trip this year alone. 

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1 hour ago, rmorelan said:

it is interesting running into those 40 or 50 year olds with full professional income, and no family obligations like that. I know some radiologists like that - zipping all over the place and so on. Not exactly moral boosting for the other rads when they are showing yet more photos from their 7th fancy trip this year alone. 

That's why I like to tell them to enjoy the crushing loneliness of their final years. Hahahaha

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On 8/21/2019 at 7:14 PM, jenkins said:

Why do people always say that being in your 20s is the best time of your life? I don't think it is. All we do is stress over school and do more school. If our 20s is really the best of our lives... I don't know how to feel about the future 

Well for one, you usually don't have to worry about spouse, kids, mortgage etc. You usually are in good health, at your peak appearance, physical strength etc.. Do you ever look back and realize how much time you had when you were a teen, well i figure that'll be how you look back on your 20s when you are in your 30s haha. 

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10 hours ago, Edict said:

Do you ever look back and realize how much time you had when you were a teen, well i figure that'll be how you look back on your 20s when you are in your 30s haha. 

Pretty much. Similar to how you thought you were busy before kids but post kids you are amazed with just how much time you actually had.

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Your 20s is the best time to start building your financial bedrock. Read about finance, form good habits, start practicing saving and investing, and in 10 years you'll be miles ahead of the pack (although the low interest rate environment nowadays could work for you or against you).

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2 hours ago, Shelduck said:

I guess this is good advice but I'm stuck on wishing i had slept with a higher number of women by now. going to end up married and die with a body count of 3
oftentimes I wonder if I'll cheat on my wife. I know it's wrong to think that but yeah. 

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11 hours ago, Shelduck said:

im just being honest

I'm glad I got a lot of debauchery in within my 20s (I've slowed down significantly now as I'm entering my 30s). A high 'body count' to use your language. But only because it gave me perspective on why I didn't need it, not because it gave me fulfillment.  But you don't need to do it in order to realize that it's all externalized pleasure that is about as transient and limited as it gets in terms of its ability to fulfill you and make you happy. It's in the same category as money, 'success,' material things. It gave me very short, tiny ego boosts that were not sustainable. Even if you're the guy who in your 40s and 50s can attract women half your age (and I have every intention of having that capability), the key is in courting temptation but not succumbing to it. Really reflect on why you think you want/need to sleep with more women; it really does get old after a while and you realize that it can become an empty quest that brings you, ultimately, nothing. It got to the point that immediately after sleeping with someone new I would feel an existential dread and an extreme need to just be alone. I honestly think that many of my relationships that actually mattered (romantic, platonic or otherwise) suffered as a result of my focus on womanizing. 

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The nice thing about being in your 20s is being able to focus on you and what you enjoy doing - traveling when you feel like it, doing more school...etc, being married and having kids, you are now putting yourself after the wellbeing of your kids and you have to make compromises both in career and personal life

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35 minutes ago, Shelduck said:

i feel like not having got this shit out of my system yet is going to fuck my marriage badly. never got the chance to tear shit up with the boys...

Well I don't want to talk about your marriage dynamics but for me once I found the person I deeply care about, none of that other stuff really mattered. I've been with 3 girls total in my life and with my fiance now, nothing else really matters except her and our life together, and this isn't just limited to sex, but literally everything. I had a rough few years when I first started medschool but I've been really happy for the past 2 years with her, so for me my "body count" is much less relevant than my happiness.

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1 hour ago, Shelduck said:

i feel like not having got this shit out of my system yet is going to fuck my marriage badly. never got the chance to tear shit up with the boys...

Sounds like a self-fulfilling prophecy if there ever was one. Why are you getting married again?

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Well, I'm sure other posters can chime in on how big the red flags are for an eventual positive outcome, but I'm just curious whether these parents are themselves happily married and whether they would also oppose a divorce in the future (which may be complicated by children, assuming this is also something the parents want).

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7 hours ago, Shelduck said:

i feel like not having got this shit out of my system yet is going to fuck my marriage badly. never got the chance to tear shit up with the boys...

You didn't read my post very well, did you? My entire point is that it won't fuck your marriage over badly unless you let it. It's all in your head.

You're imagining an entirely alternate reality universe that doesn't even exist. One in which you don't get married and have this hypothetical life where you're sleeping with 2 new women a week. Ask yourself if this is rational.

The only thing in your system is a misguided opinion that you should have done something else; you're projecting your current inability to enjoy your process & journey rather than focusing on some imagined result as a form of regret. But the definition of regret is literally the difference between your current situation and a completely imaginary scenario.

Amor fati. Maybe you can get 'this shit out of your system' by splitting up with your fiance and trying to go become a playboy. Maybe. But you lose your marriage in the process. Or, more likely, you can meditate on how to be happy & grateful for what you have, and how to experience joy in the love you can develop for YOUR life, rather than some make-believe fairytale you're telling yourself.

Stop wishing for things to be different. Let things be and make the best of what they are. If somehow that is truly impossible, then man up and end your relationship, but do not have any regret about it; you have to own your decision and take profound, relentless responsibility for it and all of the ensuing consequences. Moaning about it on an anonymous Internet forum doesn't, unfortunately, count.

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