I think most 20-something-year-olds can attest to feeling lost, unsure or even despondent at times, but I believe these feelings are very “normal” for this age group. For most, it is a transition period away from the comfort of home and the cherished relationships of family, or possibly it is a place where one is the lowest on the totem pole of achievements, in relation to one’s coworkers, colleagues or even some peers.
I know what it is like to feel unsure or hesitant that everything you dreamed of may not come to full fruition, but maybe, it will. As an optimist, I want to try to help my community, my fellow twenty-something-year-olds, find the many lights in these “unsure” times.
Last Thursday, on my daily dose of distance – to many, the grueling task of a long-distance run – I started to think about everything, like most long-distance runners do (to many it is their form of therapy, their time to self-reflect, their happy place or their runner’s high). On my run, I remembered an article I had read previously in the year. The article was written by a thirty-two-year-old practicing internal medicine physician, who had a happy baby and had met the love of her life. In it, she stated that she had come to the realization that she was finally in a good routine, but not an exciting routine. She had missed the days where she felt as though her heart was exploding out of her chest from the discomfort of a high-anxiety presentation in front of her, then, chief of medicine and staff. She missed the days where she failed and then learned and grew from her relative “failures.” She missed the feelings of heartbreak and lost love because it reminded her how precious life can be. She regretted the times she waited until other classmates had completed a task before taking initiative; she wished she were the first to raise her hand in her residency. She wished she could go back to her twenty-something-year-old self and tell her to take chances, to feel uncomfortable, to pop the comfort bubble, to meet new people, and to ask more “stupid” questions.
It was then, that it all “dawned” on me. Soon, these unsure feelings, this discomfort, and these heart-racing moments may turn comfortable or “normal.” We may lose those physiological and sympathetic responses, the ones that make our heart feel as those we are crossing the finish line at a Usain Bolt speed. This is our time, twenty-something-year-olds, to take advantage of the discomfort and to feel comfortable stepping out of our comfort zone. This is our time to recognize that a heartbreak can lead to more love, not only for others and ourself, but also for the love of life. This is our time to embrace these unsure feelings and to fill them with experiences that will add value to our life down the road.
We want to live an exciting adventure, and adventure starts by stepping out of one’s comfort zone! Do not be discouraged by heart-racing moments or complete and utter “failures,” for failure brings growth and growth brings inspiration.
Embrace the heart-racing moments and believe in your greatness,