We Live in a Strange World – How to grasp some meaning as a twenty-something

When my birthday is coming up, I like to write a post that is a little more personal, where I share my thoughts about where I am standing in my life, what I have learned, and what I am projecting for the upcoming year of my life. So here’s a little piece for me, for you, and anyone called by it.

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The recent events in Ukraine have shocked the entire world. How come in 2022, we are still talking about war? Why is the desire for power and wealth still an object of conflict and a reason to kill people after everything we learned from the past? Haven’t we learned from the big tragedies of the world? I can’t stop thinking about the Ukrainian people of my age, who, in the 20 years of their lives, have known constant threats for the country they call home, a pandemic, and now war.

What a strange world.

Social media is one of the most powerful tools used to activate change and share love and compassion in 2022. We have seen much activism through Instagram, such as Black Lives Matter, Indigenous rights, LGBTQ, MeToo, March for Our Lives, and many more. This allows us, young adults, to be informed and alert about what is happening in the world and take a stance.

person holding iphone showing social networks folder
Photo by Tracy Le Blanc on Pexels.com

However, social media also has its share of negative influences. Indeed, our feed also displays perfect lives that we tend to compare ours to, beautiful people that we tend to compare our own beauty to, incredible trips and experiences that make us feel like we are missing out. It also increases our need for acceptance and recognition. As a matter of fact, posting a picture and receiving likes and comments is a way we, twenty-something, try to receive confirmation for the way we look or live our lives. Social media is then a powerful tool…but with two blades.

What a strange world.

And let’s not forget the pandemic. If you are twenty or so, you probably have lost important years and moments of your youth. Some of your best years were stolen. Maybe you also had to make hasty decisions regarding your future, a future you were not quite ready to experiment with since part of your youth was shortened. Living in the past and feeling nostalgic, but also fearing the future already at your door. Isolation, restrictions, lack of social activities of support. Maybe you lost some friends too.

woman sitting on wooden planks
Photo by Keenan Constance on Pexels.com

The pandemic also brought a great deal of unfairness. Depending on the country you live in and the sanitary restrictions, how you have experienced the pandemic might have been different from your neighbor or friend. It might have brought some jealousy. The pandemic might also have brought conflict to your family. Many consequences that, in the end, we do not fully understand where it is coming from. Truth and lies mixed in a whirlwind of information.

What a strange world.

So in a world tormented by fear, where our image is always under the magnifying glass, and where truth and lies can be hard to discern, how can we, as a twenty-something, grasp some meaning about who we are and who we want to become.

So here are a few pieces of the puzzle of life I’ve started to use and think can help us, twenty-something, get a better picture of who we are and grasp some meaning in the strange world we live in.

1- Try the unbeaten path

A year ago, I was at a completely different place in my life than I am right now. I was studying in a field that I did not necessarily hate but did not love. I had plans for the future for which I was excited, but my present was a bridge for these distant dreams. I took this path because I felt like it came with a form of approval from my peers; it was a known path that I heard of and that I thought brought stability and a form of respect. However, as the bridge seemed to extend for a few more years, I realized that I should have stayed on the ground. Because what I wanted to do had always been there, and no bridges were needed to get there.

person stands on brown pathway
Photo by Tobi on Pexels.com

So what I mean here is that sometimes, taking the beaten path can be reassuring, but it is not necessarily the right one for us. It takes courage to choose a life path, but it takes even more to choose the one that we truly want.

1- Spend time with your loved ones

Taking the time to visit them, saying we love them. Take the time to listen to them. Sometimes, our peers know more about us than we think they do.

2- Help others

Helping our elderly, helping our neighbor, helping the stranger by the road whose car is stopped. Giving without always expecting to receive back or to be paid.

3- Speak up

“Oh, you’re young. You don’t know anything yet”. Shut that voice and speak for what you believe is right even if it is not the popular voice.

cheerful young woman screaming into megaphone
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

5- Be open-minded

Be open about different beliefs and values. If your opinion differs, try to understand why the other person would have such beliefs, values. Try to understand where they come from.

Switch the mindset that “strangers are dangerous” to the mindset that most strangers are actually just like you. Someone with a family, friends, passions, feelings, and dreams.

6- Follow you passions

Because passions lead to the heart, and the heart knows what it wants. Why do we always try to make it more complicated than it actually is?

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So this is it for this post! One of the things I love about blogging is this space created where we can discuss and share our experiences/thoughts on specific topics, such as this one. Thus, I am looking forward to reading your thoughts on this post. Finally, as I turn 20 in a few weeks, I feel like these reflections are just a starting ground for this challenging period of life that is starting, so if you want to read more about personal growth, make sure to follow the blog!

À bientôt!

Juliette

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Marie-Claude Grégoire

Superbe article!

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