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10 Things Women In Their Twenties Need To Stop Worrying About

Seriously, girl. You've got this.

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1. Not having a clue what you’re doing with your life.

Your twenties can often feel as though you're lurching from one situation to the next, desperately trying to meet expectations and get to where you want to be, without really having a clue what you're doing.

It's probably because your twenties also hold so many milestones, many of which are set by society. We're expected to land perfect jobs, have perfect relationships, be planning children, and live in our own homes, regardless whether ANY of the aforementioned are things we want to achieve.

It's frustrating that this decade is deemed a period in your life devoted to finding out who you are and where you're going – as if by the time the clock strikes 12 on your 30th birthday you'll somehow have things figured out. The truth is, you probably won't.

Absolutely no one has all aspects of their life in order at any one time. You're probably doing amazingly just as you are, so cut yourself some slack, take time to reflect on what you HAVE achieved and give yourself credit where it's due.

2. Your body.

We can be SO GODDAMN HARD on ourselves when it comes to how we look. And yet we never view ourselves in the same way as others view us. Normally our body hang-ups are about things that the people around us never would have noticed. We're our own worst critics.

When we're not criticising ourselves, we're comparing ourselves to other women. But what's worth remembering is that while you're staring at your friend and wishing you had their skinny arms or glossy hair, that friend is looking back at you and wishing she had many of your traits, too. Everyone has parts of themselves they would give anything to change. But you possess far more beautiful qualities than not.

Sometimes when I'm being ultra critical and feeling generally "URGH", I ask myself, "Would you say all of these insults about how you look to your best friend?" Chances are you absolutely wouldn't. So give yourself a break once in a while and instead take a moment to embrace the things you DO like.

3. Being seen as a “bitch”.

One of the most endlessly frustrating things in life is how differently men and women are perceived.

When men are assertive, ambitious, and powerful they are celebrated and revered. When a woman is any of those things, she is instantly labelled a bitch. It's lazy, it's sexist, and it's not true.

And it's not our fault. We're taught from school age that girls should be quiet and pretty and polite, while the boys are the burly, vocal ones. Part of the reason we're often reluctant to speak up is because we aren't used to having the opportunity to do so.

We need to stop worrying that voicing our opinions will result in negative perceptions of us. If we don't speak up – whether it's standing up for ourselves at work or telling someone who's just catcalled you to actually fuck off – we will forever be trapped in a cycle of inequality and unhappiness.

So go forth, speak your mind, be assertive, and do not give a single fuck about what anyone has to say about it.


4. What other people are doing on social media.

We all know that the way people portray their lives on social media usually bears very little resemblance to reality, and yet we compare ourselves constantly to these carefully edited snapshots of people's lives.

It's easy to scroll through Instagram and wonder why your make-up never looks as good as hers, or why they have a stunning flat when yours is a shithole, or how all of these people have the time and money to eat avocados and poached eggs for brunch every weekend.

It's just as easy to scroll through Facebook and wonder if your life is actually going anywhere, with engagement rings, wedding dresses, ultrasound scans, and news of amazing promotions popping up all over the place.

But the truth is, most of us only share the exciting, positive, ~glamorous~ things we're doing, and often we're rose-tinting our lives for the benefit of onlookers.

The sooner we realise that it's completely useless comparing our own life to a carefully contrived version of someone else's, the better. Because you can guarantee that the person who seems to have their shit together has a whole host of struggles going on behind closed doors, just like you do.

No one's life is perfect, no matter how much Amaro filter they use.

5. Contraception

Having access to contraception is, of course, an amazing thing that we should all be grateful for. But at the same time it can be stressful, problematic, and pretty damn confusing.

It's usually just assumed that we'll be taking the Pill, regardless of its side-effects. Yet how many of us have suffered with bad skin, mood swings, and loss of libido while taking it? Not to mention the host of other serious side-effects, like the friend who recently told me going back on the Pill caused such a severe bout of depression she was almost signed off work.

There are other options, of course, but many of these are pretty invasive. And then there are condoms which can be a nightmare, too, as anyone who's experienced one splitting will attest.

The first thing we should remember is that we're all in this together. Take time to chat with your friends about contraception – it really does help you remember that all of us at times struggle with what the best choice is. Research the different options available to you. Speak to a doctor and demand to know more if necessary, demand to know all of your options and don't settle for something that you're not comfortable with.

Finally, and most importantly, the contraception you use should be YOUR choice. Of course, speak to your partner if you have one, but they should never make you feel coerced into choosing an option that you're uncomfortable with for their own ease or enjoyment. No one – partner or medical professional – should dictate how you manage your sexual health.

6. Being in the perfect relationship.

Here's the thing: Relationships, like just about everything else in life, are not perfect. They're not easy and they're not straightforward.

When I was with an ex, people used to comment on how he clearly "adored" me, how cute we were together, and how perfect we seemed. They were shocked when we broke up. But what they didn't know was that I'd accidentally come across a Gchat conversation when I was borrowing his laptop one day, in which he told his best friend he wasn't in love with me. And I lived with that for another year and a half before we broke up. For the exact reason he laid out in that Gchat.

So there's no use comparing yourself to any other couple. There's also no point worrying about things that haven't even happened yet, and freaking out about the ~future~ rather than enjoying what you have with that person, right now.

If you're single, worrying about your friends coupling up and leaving you behind is a sure-fire way to end up settling for something less than what you deserve. It's far better to embrace the good things about being single, and get to know yourself and what you want, until you meet someone who IS worth your time.

Every relationship has problems and struggles going on behind closed doors. Aiming for someone or something perfect is futile. I remember a friend telling me once that her husband wasn't, on paper, her dream man. In fact, he was the opposite in many ways. But their relationship works. Day to day, she told me, they made each other happy. And isn't that what's important?

7. Getting "closure".

Being heartbroken involves a unique and desperately painful set of emotions, and after a breakup, you are often told to get “closure”. Sometimes, though, it’s better to accept that closure is an intangible concept, much like heartbreak itself, and is therefore not always something you can seek out.

In the weeks and months after my most recent break-up, simply getting through the day was a struggle. But I knew that seeing him, having a full post-mortem of our relationship, dragging up emotions and memories, only to have his rejection compounded would make things worse. So, I channelled my energy elsewhere.

It’s hard, but focusing time on your career, on a hobby, or just being with people who love you is more helpful than searching for a meaning or reason for your break-up.

Because getting over a relationship takes time. Sometimes the only way to actually move on is to take time to process it, take time to grieve, but then take a deep breath, focus your thoughts on something positive and know that in time – however long it takes – your ex won't always be in the periphery of your mind. And one day you'll find someone who makes you wonder why you spent so long fighting for closure for a situation that was clearly wrong anyway.

8. Wondering whether they really are into you.

Dating and relationships are never straightforward, but what should be clear is whether or not somebody likes you. That shouldn't be up for debate.

Fundamentally, people either want to spend time with you or they don't. No one worth being with keeps you hanging on, refuses to find time to see you, or makes you feel anxious.

One couple's route into a relationship is never the same as another's, but it should always be the case that both parties feel respected. You're too good for time-wasters.

9. Ditching bad friends

Realising that a friend doesn't have a place in your life, no matter what the reason, can be painful.

One of the hardest things I've had to do is cease communication with a friend who was in a relationship with an ex-boyfriend of mine who had treated me badly. After years of friendship she accused me of doing something so out of character I felt there was no way back. Once I stopped talking to her, I realised I'd been holding on to so many destructive emotions, and was still deeply affected by everything he'd put me through. Not having either of them in my life meant I could begin to confront and deal with these issues. I realised I needed to stop dragging the past around behind me, and make the change in order to move on.

As you get older, you realise that you have the ability to surround yourself with whoever you choose. You don't HAVE to be friends with anybody. Your friends should bring you support and happiness. If someone isn't doing that, there is nothing wrong with cutting them out and moving on.

10. Getting older.

Creative Commons / Flickr: hoisaeter

Sometimes the thought of getting older, things changing, and being expected to know exactly what you're doing is fucking scary.

As a child, I remember thinking that by the age of 26 I'd be married, planning children and have an amazing career. Turns out 26 actually comes around a lot quicker than you expect, and I couldn't be further from that scenario.

But that's OK. I like my life. I like where I am. Does that mean I never have moments where thinking about what lies ahead scares the shit out of me? No.

Change can be difficult, overwhelming, and sad. But it can also be exciting. There have been events and moments in my life that have come from nowhere, shocked me, surprised me, and enriched my life. Sometimes the best things in life are the surprises. And as you age, you get to know yourself inside out, and being open to possibilities is a good thing. You've made it this far. You're going to be fine.