10 Things In Our 20s That Make Us Feel Like We’re Failing At Life, But Shouldn’t

Manya Ailawadi

As much as growing up in our 20s sounds liberating, it is actually just chaotic. There’s always so much happening, that we hardly have time to ‘get it together’. It’s fun. And every day, something new makes us feel like we’re failing at life. Or is it just me? 

But I’ve also realized that it’s mostly the fear of running out of time, before we do everything. In any case, there’s already so much to juggle with, that it’s unnecessary that we add on more pressure with this constant fear of failure. 

While these things make it look like we’re doing badly, the truth is that every other 20-something around us, feels the same way. 

1. It seems like everyone is doing better at the work front. 

Whether it is batchmates leaving the country for higher studies, or friends posting about a promotion or a job change, everyone seems to be doing better, at all times. But here’s the deal, we cannot have the same journey as someone else and it all comes down to what one wants. Besides, it’s mostly FOMO and someone else probably thinks the same thing, looking at your work. 

2. There are never enough savings. 

Month-end is the horror movie that no one warns us about. We’re all constantly stuck between wanting to ‘live a life’ and save enough, but it looks like we’re failing at both, because well, we’re always too scared. Saving for a rainy day is probably the best idea to have existed, but even getting there takes time. Adulting is probably more about fumbles and missteps, or else life would be too mundane. 

3. Dating sucks. Well, mostly.

We’re all too busy exploring ourselves that it seems impossible to find ‘the one’ who fits in our ever changing ideas of ‘perfect’. And, let’s just face it, online dating is more about cheesy pickup lines and being scarred by the weirdest things. But hey, we cannot design our ‘love-life’, it will be quite the drama, which is almost like watching a sitcom. 

4. Self-love doesn’t come easy. 

As much as we want to love ourselves and appreciate our bodies, the constant bickering doesn’t help the insecurities. And really, hitting the gym or eating healthy isn’t always as easy as it sounds. At times, we even end up forcing ourselves in routines, which is harsh. But really, ‘perfect’ is overrated and the bickering will never stop, because nothing is good enough. So we might as well do what feels healthy — which is different for everyone. 

5. Relatives. 

That’s it, that’s the point. A lot of us have nosey relatives, the ones we meet at dinners and festivals. Of course, they always have things to point out, that we’re not doing right. If not that, they seem to have the ‘best’ advice. All of it definitely fuels our insecurities and fears. And, it all comes down to shutting the noise, which is easier said than done. But it’s important to realize that we’re not failing, they are — at being better adults. 

6. The hustle culture. 

With CEOs talking about 18-hour work day and the fact that Gen Z kids are already considered lazy, the hustle culture can easily get to any of us. Of course, wanting to work a little extra or not is a choice, but the competition adds to the pressure. And it always seems like giving it all is the only way to achieve things, so much so, that a lot of us deal with burnout. Whereas, it is important to slow down and even pause when needed, that doesn’t make any of us less ambitious. 

7. Not being there for our parents, at all times. 

FOMO exists everywhere, and it’s a matter of time before it creeps up in our personal lives. So, when we’re too busy finding a balance, there are times when we miss out on being there for our parents. Things like not being able to talk to them as much, or just not being able to eat dinner together can be saddening. But at the end of the day, they’ve been there and they know that it takes a lot of effort to find that balance. If not, we can always tell them.

8. Your (actual) friend circle keeps getting smaller. 

Just noticing distance and watching friends leave can get very scary. I mean, that’s literally our social life in a nutshell. And as and when we grow, we keep losing friends — mostly because a lot of us change paths. It’s not you, but it’s also not them, it just happens. A circle (or a point) that knows who we are, is probably more than enough. Besides, our social life means eating out, and we do not always need 20 people for that.

9. Everything seems to be changing. 

Thanks to Instagram, every time we refresh our feeds, we see a new person getting engaged, settling abroad and whatnot. And really, it is hard to watch, specifically when we finally feel somewhat ‘settled’ in our own ways. But change is normal, and we notice it more around other people than ourselves, so I guess, everyone feels the same way(?)  

10. Not wanting the same things as everyone else. 

As much as society loves to believe that there’s a ‘conventional’ way to live life, we know there isn’t. For instance, getting married or having children is made to sound like a ‘must’, but it’s a choice, like every other thing that concerns our lives. So, doing something (or not), definitely doesn’t make us a failure. We gotta do, whatever floats our boat, people can choose to catch up, or not. 

We’re not failing, it’s just a blend of guilt, fear and pressure, which largely exist because of the flawed ways in which the world functions. 

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