When I was asked to write about something I am passionate about, it took me awhile to figure out how I could make this piece of writing relatable to those of you who are reading. I guess I should let you all know that I’m not a certified therapist, or a motivational speaker; but with me being as vulnerable as I am in what I’m about to share, maybe it can help a little.
If I had the choice to sign my life away to know exactly where my life was going, I would’ve done it a year ago. A year ago, I took myself out of a “bad situation” and moved out of my parent’s house with no actual plan. Luckily, I have an amazing friend whose family took me in until I was stable enough to be on my own.
To be honest, it wasn’t really a walk in the park for my self-esteem, living in someone’s house, often times feeling like a burden. I was the loneliest I had ever been and during my lowest of lows, I felt like I really needed to get a grip on everything. I forced myself to have this vivid picture of myself investing in my first property before I turned 21. I planned on having at least ten thousand dollars in my savings, have amazing grades, and somehow send my family money, all while living on my own with no help. January 17, 2018 was my deadline. Nobody asked me to do these things and I don’t really know where all this ambition came from; but it was there, and in the back of my mind, I knew I wasn’t really ready for it.
I was so desperate to validate myself and paid so much attention to other people my age, already ten steps ahead of me. In a way, I felt like I had let myself down. After I moved out, the inner child in me was no longer there. Everything had become black and white with nothing yellow in between. My daily struggle consisted of all extrinsic motivation. For awhile I would have those dreams rehearsed in my mind, repeating every single day, and although it pushed me beyond my limits, and helped me improve my work ethic, I found myself becoming so lost with my purpose. I cared less and less about my well-being and slowly became overworked and weak. I was too stubborn and impatient for a silver platter that I never took the time to plan for.
People will tell you it’s all about the process. Well in my opinion, nobody likes the process. Partially because it’s annoying to take things one step at a time (like let’s just cut to the f*cking chase already). Often times, this is when you are most vulnerable, as you are being tested over and over again. It drove me absolutely crazy when I didn’t have things planned out. It still does. I was picking up extra shifts, hustling as hard as I could while balancing school and family. I was trying to keep up this “tough-girl-boss-bitch” attitude, when in reality, I was driving home from work late at night, stressed out and crying in my car. I knew I was constantly beating myself up, but I thought- hey, you gotta do what you gotta do to get what you want. I was my worst critic— constantly fed up with my progress and rushing to get the ball rolling on my life. It felt like time had decided to sprint a hundred-mile marathon with no water breaks and decided to drag me along for the ride.
Nearly ten months later, as I’m approaching my 21st (cheers to you January babies), I am now living on my own with a savings, but not enough to invest in my first house. For a while, this made me upset. I didn’t know why I was so afraid of time running out, when my time had only just begun. Admittedly, I still find myself being scared of time running out and that alone became really toxic for my mental health. All I wanted was to have everything figured out. But if we’re fast-forwarding to today, I’m still lost—still not entirely sure what I want to do or where I want to be, still trying to keep things together.
I used to believe that continually working hard and not knowing what you’re doing it for was a bad thing, but I was wrong. I slowly became a little more okay with not knowing what was coming next, and became more accepting of not having a grip on every single detail of my life.
Believe it or not, not everything will go to plan and you can’t beat yourself up by getting anxious over unexpected changes. It’s an ongoing process, trying to slow down and be patient. Finding your purpose is a process that is always evolving. The great thing about these 11 months into being 20 years old, is beginning to appreciate the present, and reflect on growth. If you’re out there feeling like you need to have your sh*t together by the age of 21—know that you aren’t alone. But also know that you shouldn’t have to have your sh*t together by this time. So stop trying to compete with yourself so much, and allow yourself to live a little. Slow down, you workaholic. The night’s still young. Don’t forget, you’re only 20.
Angela Van is a YouTuber and an aspiring influencer, based in Denver, Colorado, who focuses on creating content for the modern millennial. She creates content to promote positivity, independence, and individuality through fashion and lifestyle tips to empower young millennials to strive for their goals. She is currently studying elementary education. Angela is in love with dirty chais, Beyonce, and city life. Send her some love and find her on Youtube @elloitsangela, as well her Instagram @elloitsangela.