Finally, those awkward teenage years are over. You are officially an A.D.U.L.T. Maybe you’re heading to college, maybe you’re going to straight to work. Most likely, you’re not really sure what you want to do, but the freedom to do anything is pretty…well…overwhelming.
You’ve probably been looking forward to adulthood for years. Counting down the birthdays until you could make all of your own decisions, for yourself, on your own time, seems like the best thing in the world, right? And here you are. However, what many young adults find is that the pressure of deciding everything on your own all at once can be a strong trigger for anxiety.
Our culture has the expectation that by the time you’ve made it to your 20s, you should know how you want to live your life. What kind of career you want to have, where you will live, whether you will get married and to whom, if you will have children, etc. is a pretty tall order, especially if you think you need to have it all figured out RIGHT NOW.
The reality is, we can’t possibly make those decisions confidently at once. We’ve had roughly twenty years of life experiences that were mostly guided and fashioned by the adults in our lives. Why would we expect to know who we are, what we need and what we want for the next 50 years? Add into this that our brains are still developing and won’t be fully formed until we’re halfway through our 20s.
I don’t think it was until I was in my late 20s, maybe 27 years old or so, that I came to the realization that every decision I made reduced the options that would present themselves to me in the future. It was when I had this realization that I decided I wanted to live life from a place of intention rather than one in which my decisions were made based on others expectations or out of fear underlying anxiety.
Anxiety has a tendency to lead one to make decisions in order to relieve the symptoms of anxiety rather then decisions based in what one really needs or wants. Often, when these decisions are made, there is an immediate feeling of relief from symptoms, but once that feeling of relief has passed, the anxiety can and likely will arise again. This can happen because anxiety is a disorder that must be managed, rather than one that should direct your decision-making.
Stay tuned for more posts on anxiety in your 20s and how you can better manage symptoms and make decisions that will lead to a meaningful future!
If you question if you are experiencing anxiety please contact me and we can arrange for a therapy session.
Jessica is a mental health therapist who specializes in helping women free themselves from anxiety, depression, and other stress-related conditions. She is honored to witness the experiences of her clients and work with them toward meaningful lives.