Kim Na Young’s “Being an Adult”

In my senior year of college, I just could not understand why alumni and older friends kept telling me to hang in there even if it gets tough post-grad. Because first of all, I was just trying to enjoy graduating and being done with all of that studying for now. And second, I was simply oblivious to the realities of the future. If you track back to my earlier posts on Medium, a lot of them are quite upbeat and positive. Very DIY, you control your own happiness, live healthy like those 5-step Pinterest posts tell you-esque. And then the frequency of my posts started to decline, of course because of the sheer business and demand with working full-time and grad school applications, but actually because life was starting to be really tough.

Post-grad life really played a number on me psychologically, spiritually, and physically. I began to develop anxiety, especially social anxiety, when I thought about having to introduce myself to new people or update others on what I was up to after graduating. My faith felt like an inflated balloon with the opening come undone and it just flaps about everywhere in chaos. I felt like I just couldn’t get a grasp of it anymore and I was scared that I would never be able to get a hold of it again like I had in college. All of this bled into my physical health where I got sick more often, would randomly lose weight from stress, and of course my favorite, my acne would flare.

I would ask myself, where is this healthy balance that I sought after only a year ago? Is it even attainable? Is adult life actually a hoax and we’re meant to be miserable forever and just fake it ’til we make it?! Granted, the influence of Korean dramas in my pre-teen/teenage days really amped up my exaggeration and distress. But I really felt like my twenties were not heading towards a brighter place but rather I was just digging through a dark mine.

At some point in time though, after having a multitude of conversations with older co-workers in their late twenties or thirties, I kept being reminded that my twenties are meant to be like this — confusing, full of the unknown, and totally uncalled for. But that is also the beauty of being in my twenties that I am finally coming around to accepting. Amidst the chaos, we still experience beauty, joy, pure abandonment, and opportunities to pursue our passions as well as put in time to serve those we love and care for.

In a conversation with some med students and volunteers at the clinic I spend time at every Thursday evenings, I was genuinely surprised to learn that they all viewed me as someone with a Type A personality. My eyes got so big, with my hands on my hips, I blurted out to them, “What? I am so not Type A. Why would you think that?” But they just stared back at me with a “come on Felicia you serious right now” look. Initially offended (because let’s be real, there are some extreme, uptight Type A’s out there who I genuinely am concerned for), I took the time to think about what habits or tendencies I had that would make me Type A. I like to be organized and have a general action plan ready, especially at work. I don’t like to waste time or waste others’ time, also at work. Then I started to wonder if these became more pronounced since graduating as a way to cope with not having more control of my life and its direction.

I don’t think I can, or want to, change this inherent “Type A” side to me. But I also don’t want it to control how I perceive, process, and react to life’s curveballs. I’ve accepted, and must consciously daily accept, that everything takes time, especially the acting of getting our lives together. My twenties will be a period of growth, trial and error, heartbreaks, accomplishments, discovery, and even loss. But I’m also not alone in this journey. For example, you, reader, are most likely also in your twenties. If not, ha just you wait, or congrats you made it out alive! All jokes aside, we only go through our twenties once. And all of our paths and experiences are unique to each person. So find the ones in your life who’ll chronicle this crazy portion with you, who’ll laugh, cry, reflect, and dream. And know that if anything, I’m here rooting for you. Cheers to our twenties.