Not enjoying life as much as you wish you were? Here are 7 reasons you’re unhappy in your 20s and 30s.
I was thinking the other day how amazingly different it would be growing up as a child in our current generation. Back in my younger years, we were shown this amazing facility known as a “library”, and you would go there to find the answers to questions you had. You would ask the lady or search the catalogue, go to the section of the library that had the book you need with the answer you want, and read until you found it.
Nowadays, kids just pull out whatever device they have in their pocket – heck, even their watch – and are able to access any information on any topic they want in seconds, even from their earliest years.
That’s just one of the things you notice as you get older.
The other thing that people notice is that for all the years of their life they are racking up, they may not be necessarily enjoying it.
So many of us are unhappy in our 20s and 30s. We go traveling and trying different things trying to find exactly who we are. We start to become established in our career. We settle down and have families (or not). All the things that are supposed to make us happy… right?
Here are 7 reasons why you’re unhappy in your 20s and 30s.
#1: Your life is slowing down
When you’re young, you feel like you can do anything. And in fact, you pretty much can. You stay up with your mates til 3am talking about who knows what. You feel like you’re at peak fitness. Your metabolism is blazing. You have enough energy to catch up with 30 people a week and still have room to keep going.
Nowadays, you can break a sweat just thinking about going that hard out.
A practical aspect of getting old that we don’t always acknowledge or know how to deal with is when your body starts to slow down. And there are lots of things you can do about that – eating right, resting well, better time management, all the usuals.
But the thing that really eats at you is that you notice it’s not just your body slowing down – it’s your life. Where life used to happen fast and frantic, nowadays you sit through a lot of mediocrity waiting for those bigger moments to appear in your life.
As an introvert, I understand and absolutely value having those moments in time where it’s set aside for you – for you to recharge and regroup. But if your whole life starts to become like that, perhaps it’s a symptom that there’s something else going on.
When did your life suddenly stop being as much fun?
#2: You’ve stopped dreaming
I remember my late teens and early 20s where I would regularly be in conversation with people who had massive aspirations. Those who were finishing school spoke of their grand career plan. Those who had started raising some capital started talking about their business ventures. In singleness, people would speak out praises of their future spouse and dream of their family life with this wonderful person.
Fast forward a few years and it’s not a topic I hear from as many people as the years wear on.
A lot of us are tired of dreaming. We’ve “lived life” now. We’ve seen how disappointing it is. We’ve stepped out and had our dreams crushed or damaged.
Or maybe we never did anything about it. Maybe we held those ideas and desires inside and never ever saw them acted out.
Why does getting older mean you lose your dreamer’s spirit? Why can’t you get your hopes up again and believe for something better?
#3: You’re still not sure what you’re supposed to be doing
So many of us are exhausted because we’re keeping ourselves busy trying to convince ourselves and convince others that we have it all together. We act like we know where we’re supposed to be at every point at every day. We try to show the satisfaction in our work and volunteering and interests. We present a very professional and sophisticated image of ourselves to the outside world.
Meanwhile, we’re dying inside and no one has any idea of what’s going on.
Cause we’re too busy lying and avoiding the fact that we know something is missing in our lives.
How many more years will you let go by before you take some time to stop and get serious about finding out who you are supposed to be? To take the autopilot off and take a look heavenward and also inward to see exactly who this person we were made to be is – and then to live that out?
Life’s too short to be living it with half a heart.
#4: No one is applauding you for doing the right thing
In our early years, we have some fantastic support groups. We have parents, siblings, teachers, friends, and role models all encouraging us to do the right thing. When we did the right things, people would clap and applaud. That’s a good little boy. Let’s celebrate your achievements.
And now, it regularly feels like the only one who sees you doing the things you know you’re supposed to do is you.
People get very rundown from a lack of appreciation in their lives. This is where it pays to, as the Prince of Egypt so aptly puts it, look at your life through heaven’s eyes. What exactly does significance look like?
You know, living out your calling isn’t always going to mean you’re going to have a microphone in front of thousands of people applauding your efforts, or be the next Zuckerberg, or captivate the Internet or a room like a motivational speaker. Maybe for you it will look like those things. Or maybe it looks like you taking the hand of the wife you love and loving her through a difficult chapter of her life. Maybe it looks like you being faithful with the finances and the position that have been currently put in your hand. Maybe it’s being the most encouraging voice you can possibly be in the lives of everyone you meet.
Maybe your purpose is more about being the person you’re supposed to be wherever you are, rather than finding that magical and elusive destination where you may or may not feel like you have made it.
#5: Everyone else’s life looks better than yours
Ever feel like social media is ruining your life? That every single person who posts something online does it for the sole purpose of reminding you how much you don’t have in your life? Or even offline – that your friends always seem to have so much going for them?
Encountered a series of disappointments in your relationships with the opposite sex? Next minute, everyone is showing off the amazing thing their boyfriend or girlfriend did for them to cheer them up when they were having a bad day. #ForeverAlone.
Married with kids? Why does it seem that everyone else’s kids are so normal and well behaved while yours are a screaming wreck who are having trouble at school?
Thought you were doing well in your career? Then why is that guy working less than you earning more money and recognition than you?
Maybe everyone else’s life is better than yours.
Maybe the secret is in discovering contentment in every season. Maybe it’s discovering joy in the times when life is going good, as well as in the life is taking a turn for the worst. Maybe it’s what King Solomon said – finding and enjoying your lot in life, for all the days you and I are blessed to enjoy it here.
And maybe it’s in deciding that my life is the best life that I can live, and not let everyone else’s successes become my failures.
#6: You’ve locked in decisions that you’re starting to regret
We make some big decisions in our 20s and 30s. The decision to date (or not to date). The decision to marry (or not to marry). We pick our further study, the country we’ll live in, the friends we’ll continue to make an effort with.
And yet over time, the decisions we have made start to leave us wanting more.
This is where we need to revisit what it is to make and keep our commitments. The right ones. To discover and recognize that I’m not going to magically enjoy every decision I make every day of my life. Rather, I need to make a decision to enjoy those things every day. Moreover, I make a decision to be grateful for everything that comes my way. I came into this world naked, I’ll leave that way too, and for that reason I should be grateful for the blessing of the everyday.
With an attitude like that, regret doesn’t have a place to leave you feeling unhappy.
#7: You’re crying about this list instead of doing something about it
This isn’t the only list out there about the reasons you’re unhappy in your 20s and 30s, but it may be one of the few that will end with a wake up call.
If you’re looking at your life and still wondering why it’s a mess, why you’re not as happy as you wish you were, why everyone else seems to be doing better than you, take some ownership of your life, and do something about it.
It’s time to grow up.
I think having children is one of the greatest pictures of what maturity really is. When you are a child, you expect everyone else to do everything for you. They clean you up, they keep you entertained, they show you the way to go. If a person remains a child and has a child of their own, they won’t be able to look after them, because they’ll be too caught up in their own needs that they have no room for anyone else. They need to become whole and be able to sustain their own life, and from that place of strength, they are better equipped to look after those who depend on them.
Is that how you’re living your life?
Or are you going to make a decision with me that we’re going to be people who live as whole people? Who get our own act together, get our faith sorted out, work out some of these other areas, and live with a wholeness that enables us to look after others.
So go out there and enjoy your 20s and 30s. It is possible. And you can start today.
Thanks again to everyone for your readership. The site is approaching 100,000 visitors since its inception (you may even be reading this after that milestone has been hit) which is a very humbling thought for me. Don’t forget to share your thoughts, check out some other articles, and continue to come Walking The Shoreline of life with me.