the nonsensical musings of a clueless twenty something

The 20-Something Panic and Defining Happiness


I have a lot of goals (I would say resolutions but I’m against the idea of failing miserably at things) for 2013 and one of them is to show up and express things via words and stuff around this space more often.

I’d lie and tell you that I haven’t had the time to write, but honesty has always been a thing of mine (and my Netflix account would immediately attest to the fallaciousness of that statement (if it wasn’t inanimate and had things like an opinion (semantics)).

For the first time in maybe the history of my buying Cosmopolitan magazines (and it’s a long history), they managed to publish a relatively thought-provoking article (…thoughts aside from how would you even do that?).

The article was written on the concept of the 20-something panic. It was painted with a broad brush and speckled with fun and applicable-to-the-generation examples and, really, waded safely on the shoreline of soft generalized concepts. But, still, it quietly brushed up against and made eyes with something I’ve been thinking a lot about lately.

In the Midwest (and probably elsewhere) being a 25 year-old female who is unwed and without child is a bit of an anomaly. Perhaps I’m generalizing a bit myself, but in my own defense I’m one of a severely thinning pool over here.

I’m not unhappy. But do I often sit around and contemplate if I’m on the right path of this odd little life? Yeah. Yes I do.

I love love. I love the opposite sex. I think they are infinitely interesting and mind-numbingly neat in their own right and to be honest, I can’t stop obsessing over the day when I’ll find the one who is fortunate (and intelligent) enough to end up with me forever.

But do I feel like it’s going to happen soon?

No. No I don’t.

Why? Because I refuse to fold and tuck myself into a space where I don’t fit perfectly for the sole purpose of completing the puzzle.

I was born with (and have cultivated) way too many quirks to believe that I was destined for any old ordinary person. I don’t know where he is but I know that this world has produced and is saving a very specific(and very tolerant) man for me.

Until he shows up (any day now, buddy), though,  how do you fend off the panic and stay wading in the happy that you know you are completely and sweetly surrounded by? How do you, on the hard days and the lost days and the wine-induced days convince yourself to recognize and hang on to all of the good?


It’s easy to get a little lost. And completely normal to get a little sad. But (excuse my trite pinterestesque-quote advice), you only get one life (SURPRISE!). So, with that, figure out how to focus on the things right in front of you.

It’s these times, when everyone else is defining happiness in a different way than yourself, that you really get to figure out your inner-workings and fine-tune the things that genuinely light you up.

Mary Oliver once wrote, “But I also say this: that light is an invitation to happiness, and that happiness, when it’s done right, is a kind of holiness, palpable and redemptive.”

And she’s so right. And intelligent. And swoon-worthy, really.

Find your happy, people.

And then spoil it to death.


This entry was published on February 5, 2013 at 9:39 pm. It’s filed under Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

One thought on “The 20-Something Panic and Defining Happiness

  1. As a fellow mid-western gal who also still checks the single box on my tax return, I have to agree and like the path you’re on here. To try and fit into any box feels exactly how it sounds. Suffocating. I know, I’ve been in that box where I was literally wasting away just to fit. Well my dear friend, there is so much more to life than trying to fit as I’m sure you’ve found out by now. But on the tough days where no reassurance is ever enough, just remember to stop, look around you, and just BREATHE. And let something as simple as air remind you that you are no longer in a box, but able to take in the fresh air around you, just as you please.

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