No one warned me about the ROARING twenties. I honestly looked forward to these years: no longer being a teenager, the ability to drink and go clubbing legally, becoming a woman, making adult decisions, etc. I was infatuated by the thought of it all. However, reality set in, quickly.

It didn’t hit me until I turned 21. My body was changing.  My mindset was changing. My responsibilities were changing. “Make it stop,” I thought. It felt as if I’d been thrown right in the middle of a circle of wolves and told to survive. And you know what, I did just that. I survived…for the time being anyway.

I was 21, finishing college, excited for the next step, making money, being independent. I’m like, “I got this.” Then, 22 came around and things changed completely. I was lost. What to do after college? My job was closing down and I became unemployed. Depression crept in. At this point, I was no longer excited about my twenties. I wanted to be a kid again.

Luckily, before I was actually jobless, I had decided to continue with school, so I did have that going for myself, which eased some stress. Although, I still felt empty. I felt like I wasn’t doing enough; like I should’ve been set in my career already; like I should’ve had more of a plan. Ultimately, I felt like a failure. I never expected my twenties to start off like this. I never thought that this would have happened, at least not to me. I thought I was doing everything right.

I had this constant thought, “Time is ticking.” This was, and is correct, but again, I’m only 22. During these sad months, I did a lot of re-evaluating (and talking to myself). I had to understand that you don’t just skip into adulthood, following a straight path to success. That may be the case for some people, but for most, your twenties will hit you hard, causing you to feel extremely underprepared and overwhelmed. I had to accept the fact that these next couple of years are going to be filled with all types of ups and downs. These are the rollercoaster years. I had to realize that, when you’re working hard to get to where you want to be, there will be road blocks and obstacles. There will be no’s, struggle, pain, tears, etc. But, there will also be victories, accomplishments, yes’s and breakthroughs.

This is our time to make mistakes and learn from them. We don’t have to have it all figured out or together right now. I know I, like a lot of my peers, have a lot more “twenties” to live. We have to embrace this rollercoaster, taking it on with strength and determination. That’s the only way we’ll make it to the end happily. My life is 10x better today than it was a few months ago, but I refuse to get too comfortable. I’m still growing and working to be my absolute best, and therefore, I know I’m still susceptible to challenges.

This is something that I want all the twenty-somethings out there to understand, female or male. Your path is YOUR path. You may be struggling while the next person is winning and that’s okay. Your time will come. If things aren’t the way you want them to be right now, remember, they WILL get better. Use those phases of disappointment to learn and build strength, and never ever give up.

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