What to do in your 20s (and beyond).

When I turned 20 I had already finished my first year at university, delved deeper into passions I had discovered during my school years, gained valuable experience and made new friends who I would see by my side throughout the next stages in my life. I graduated two years later and soon scored an internship at the agency of my choice thanks to my first-class bachelor’s degree and placement experience. Three months later I was given my own, permanent desk with a window and wheely chair. By the time I had reached my mid-20s, I was comfortably positioned at the beginning of my career and the sun was shining over my savings account.

Except, none of this is true.

Coming out of school we put all kinds of expectations on our future self. Whether that’s going to university, or travelling or whatever else corresponds with our aspirations. I guess we imagine our future to work a little like an intricate vending machine. You put “university” in and out comes a career, you put “backpacking down the coast of Australia” in and out comes the expectation that who ever will board the plane home with your passport in a year’s time is going to be a completely different you. They will be better, more educated, more confident and most importantly: they have it all figured out.

But life isn’t linear, it’s full of twists and turns. Instead of spinning around in my wheely chair or celebrating my promotion with Laura from Uni who I never lost touch with, I found myself having to pay rent in one of the continent’s most expensive cities with a mountain of student debt and a low paying job that barely covered either. Looking back at the moment I held my honours degree in my hand and smiled at the camera with my friends by my side, I felt like I had failed myself, like I had taken ten steps back and was now destined to sit in my own footprints rather than making new ones.

But, life is most exciting when you drive off-road. After months of receiving NOs I was given the chance to go back to school, to unlearn my linear life plans and learn whatever is thrown at me. Without much time to overthink I gave it a YES, however this time I feel no need to throw my last change into the vending machine. Your 20s (and probably your whole life) is full of unexpected turns. It’s impossible to predict or plan what is, for the most part, not in your hands. The least you can do is say YES and stay on until the next turn.