Pop music icon Taylor Swift spoke too real to us when she sang: “How can a person know everything at eighteen but nothing at twenty-two?”
Entering our twenties marks the end of an era and could mean a start of a new chapter for some people. We get acquainted with new individuals, explore new interests and hobbies, finish college, slate our careers, enter relationships, continue to expand our networks, set fresh goals, and overall, we begin to take on more responsibilities than we are used to. Starting a new decade of our lives also means that we must brave another set of challenges, and triumph over many more hurdles.
For most people, it is deemed that being in our 20s is the defining phase of our lives, a period that we are always encouraged to make the most out of. On top of that, the newfound independence that comes with officially diving into adulthood can be quite alienating for some. We make choices and meet people that steer us in all directions, leading us to different paths and unfamiliar roads which we then traverse helplessly as we try to navigate life’s unexplored, and newly unlocked domains. But starting–or even being in your twenties doesn’t have to be that daunting, after all, we get to experience and discover a new version of ourselves. We make mistakes and commit errors along the way, sure, but if it’s any consolation, you are not alone.
Former beauty queen now author and entrepreneur Zara Carbonell has her fair share of stories about the quirks and wonders of being in our 20s. In her book, Lost You, Found me, the author takes us through the pivotal moments of her life; from being a girl whose heart got broken multiple times to becoming a woman with an astounding conviction and realized purpose. More than that, the interactive guidebook also imparts to its readers the author’s reflections and introspection, encouraging all to “live and live well.”
Here are some words from Lost You, Found Me that you need to hear if ever you find yourself scared and sweaty in the unknown trenches of the 20s:
“Your moments of darkness are exactly when you need to be stern in your decision. Those are the very moments that define you.”
Embarking on a new decade of our lives is a journey in which we begin to find ourselves again in the face of unknown adversities that we have yet to master conquering. Like Zara, she too has undergone many dark moments which challenged her ability to remain steady on her feet. In the book, she shares her unforgettably traumatic sojourn in Malaysia. After having discovered the truth about her “friend”, encountering a strange man in the city, and overall experiencing a bizarre string of events, Zara finds herself in Malaysia, a country she is barely acquainted with, lost and confused. It’s in these moments that she was propelled to make a quick and firm decision because she knew that it was a challenge necessary to reinvigorate growth. Despite these seemingly insurmountable hurdles, Zara tells us that our path toward our goals does not always ensure a smooth journey. Regardless of how we decide to overcome our struggles, turning back shouldn’t be an option. We must continually remind ourselves how far we have come and, as Zara advises, “Hold tighter to the reason you started your journey in the first place.”
“There is no pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, only a more golden version of yourself … what you’ll learn in this decade is that dreams only serve you the courage to transform yourself into things you never thought were possible.”
We’ve all been there. When we were younger, we used to think that our dreams would be the sole instrument that would define our lives forever. We dream of becoming the most successful version of ourselves by undertaking professions we deemed prerequisites to our victory. Now being in our 20s, we feel as if we are running out of time and we need to fulfill our lifelong dreams more than anything else.
In the book, Zara tells us that our aspirations are not always what we want them to be–what we want them to feel like. After landing a runner-up position in one of the prestigious pageants in the world Zara still feels as though something is missing. Despite achieving her lifelong dream to strut on the stage, voice her advocacy, and become a beauty queen, hollowness still looms over her. What she doesn’t know is that that phase in her life would become her stepping stone to where she is now. Taking a step back from the scene, Zara is able to continue to meet new people, and discover new places and opportunities, allowing her to further her journey toward self-fulfillment. Like her, we must acknowledge that our dreams are more of leverage than a total end goal; they are keys that allow us to unlock what dormant potential lies within us, waiting for an opportunity to unleash itself, force us outside of our comfort zones, and help us realize a bigger purpose that our goals and dreams have to offer.
“Feel the fear and take the first step anyway. This decade of your life isn’t for reaping what you’ve sown, not just yet. It’s the time you have to spend sowing things that have yet to unfold. It’s the time for chance, the time for change. It’s a decade full of foolish mistakes that will only reveal to us our truest selves.”
Whether you’re eyeing a certain job opening or thinking about signing up for a workshop class, more often than not, we tend to doubt ourselves first, thinking of the worst ways possible our newfound endeavors could end. Being in the 20s and relatively young, we get told that “The world is your oyster” when in reality we feel like the world is out there to get us.
Fear is an invisible enemy that we feel in the tremble of our knees and in the sweat of our palms; it is a hovering weight that, from time to time, slows us down, and suppresses our appetite for change. In the book, Zara has had her fair share of heartbreaks, loneliness, and self-doubt. There came a time when she was forced to resign from her runner-up position and had to put her beauty queen aspirations on pause. Being out there in the world again starting afresh and in search of a renewed purpose, it is indeed scary. After traveling to Vietnam to take a much-needed breather from the pageant’s limelight, Zara realizes how differently she could have lived her life.
There are more roads to achieving our fullest potential than we led ourselves to believe. Perhaps the routes toward fulfillment are a little uneven or drilled with life’s catastrophic potholes, and maybe we accidentally stumble and take the longer, wayward path–all these “what ifs” are our fears holding onto our feet before we could even take one step forward. But we must learn to immerse ourselves in whatever frightens us and allow it to thrust us into unexpected realms. It might not be exactly the destination that we wanted, but getting somewhere is better than being stuck in nowhere–in the words of Zara herself, “It takes getting nowhere to learn where you really want to be.”
Blog by Angela Pernada