Why 20-Something Women Need To Stop Thinking Like 30-Something Women

I'm never getting married. I'm never going to have kids. I'm going to be alone for the rest of my life. I am never going to be in love again.

Ladies, don't deny that these thoughts haven't crossed your mind at least once this month. At your loneliest, weakest (and probably drunkest) points, you've either thought, shouted or cried into the arm of your best friend these exact sentiments. Why can't I find a boyfriend!? Will I ever settle down and get married?

You yearn for the answer the same way you wonder about life after death or the vast existence of the universe. Am I going to be alone forever? Should I get some cats now?

I won't deny that at my lowest points, I've also expressed these thoughts. I've thought about ending it all before I turn 40, crossing off love and becoming one of those women who’s closed off and bitter to anything romantic or associated with a Nicholas Sparks title. I've wondered how long it would be until my next boyfriend and if I should have ever broken up with the last.

However, I've recently started getting tired of it all. I realized the dark-clouded thoughts, worries and constant stressing were making me groggy, depleted and utterly exhausted. I've felt out of the moment for too many months, worrying about my future rather than enjoying the present for too long. I was expending all this extra energy on all this premature worrying. I was a 20-something, worrying about the problems of a 30-something.

Believe it or not, your twenties are still considered very young, and so are your thirties. But if you're still in your twenties, I hate to break it to you — you're still a baby. Still don't believe me? Think about it this way…

Where were you 10 years ago? In your teens, preteens? You were either in middle school or just cusping high school. You were at your most immature and irresponsible age.

It's an age you scoff at and shudder to think back to; it’s an age that warrants no respect, admiration or fond memories. However, you still have a lot in common with your prepubescent self. Like that middle school self in those cut Abercrombie jeans, you are trying to grow up way too fast.

Think back to all those irrelevant and idiotic worries you had at 14. You were worrying about boys, clothes and reputations when you should have just been enjoying your youth, getting away with all those childish things you only had a few years left to experience.

You were stressing about college when you should have been trying out for the play and worrying about boys who just wanted to play Call of Duty and touch their first tit. When you look back on it, don't you feel kind of foolish?

Think back to all the time you wasted stressing about college, only to later realize it didn't really matter and you could have been going to football games instead of SAT prep class.

Think back to all those stupid boys you cried over whose name you can't remember now and the fights you got in with your parents over curfews and movies. Think back to those things you thought were worth getting grounded over, or those things you wouldn't do because you thought you were too cool for them.

Unfortunately, we still haven't grown out of these middle school mindsets and are still chasing boys like crazed pubescent teens. We're cutting our shirts and putting on makeup when we should be playing in the creek and watching PBS.

We're shaving when we don't have so much as peach fuzz and walking into Victoria's Secret before we're fully developed. We're fighting with our parents when we should be getting piggy backs. We're wasting the best years of our youth worrying about things that shouldn’t be an issue for another 10 years.

So for all you 20-somethings, worrying about finding a husband and having kids — stop. Stop before you look back on your twenties the same way you look back on your teenage years… wishing you spent more time enjoying them rather than trying to grow up.

Your twenties are for being young, single and completely uninhibited. Stop trying to lock down a “man” who still just wants to play Call of Duty and touch his hundredth tit. Enjoy yourself and your rapidly receding youth and worry about those adult things when you get there.

Finding Love

Despite what Nicholas Sparks tells you, you're not supposed to be madly in love at 25. You're not supposed to have found that “perfect love” before you have a checking account. Love is messy, complicated and many times impossible to find. It's something that people spend their entire lives looking for and don't find until they have stopped worrying about it and started pursuing the love of other things.

Your twenties aren't about finding a man to love you, but finding something to love. Focus on your career, your hobbies, your passions. Start to love yourself before you can think about finding the love of someone else. Because your twenties are about loving yourself and your thirties are about spreading that love.

Getting Married

If you haven't already noticed, there are now more divorced couples than married ones. They say you are supposed to learn from the mistakes of your elders, and if rushed marriages aren't the biggest mistake of the Baby Boomers, then we've learned nothing.

All those stories of college sweethearts and first loves are cute anecdotes until 20 years later, when they are tales of caution. Because getting married in your twenties is now an outdated notion, like scrunchies and VCRs, unnecessary and unproductive. Your twenties are for the one-night stands, the bad first dates and all those mistakes.

Having Kids

Do you even like kids? Do you really want kids in your twenties? Do you even want them in your thirties? Think about what you're asking for. It's one of the most life-changing events known to man and will assuredly commandeer your future and leave you wishing for those uninhibited single years again.

So why ruin the most carefree and exciting years of your life worrying about something that shouldn't happen for at least 10 years from now? Do your future self a favor and take advantage of these years because you will never have them again.

Being Your Most Successful Self

Success, like a relationship, does not happen overnight. It's something that needs time, a little bit of luck and dedication. Your twenties are not supposed to be the years you're taking jets to St. Barths and enjoying the perks of a car service.

Your twenties are for paying your dues, learning the ropes and climbing all those ladders. Your thirties are for reaping the benefits.

Stop stressing because you're not in your dream job or making that six-figure salary just yet. You need time to create your brand, build your dreams and look forward to the good life.

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Lauren Martin

Freelance Contributor