Billy Joel sums me up best:
Slow down, you crazy child
you’re so ambitious for a juvenile
But then if you’re so smart, tell me
Why are you still so afraid?

The first time I heard this song, I was in high school and time was stretched before me. I had planned my life out like a roadmap, knowing exactly which road to take and at which rest stops to pause if I needed a break. I imagined myself graduating from college and moving on directly into a remarkable career, pursuing my path and recognizing my dreams. The idea that there would be roadblocks and detours was inconceivable to me — I was young, I was passionate, and, most of all, I was determined.

Slow down, you’re doing fine
You can’t be everything you want to be
Before your time
Although it’s so romantic on the borderline tonight
Too bad, but it’s the life you lead
you’re so ahead of yourself that you forgot what you need
Though you can see when you’re wrong, you know
You can’t always see when you’re right.

For some strange, sad reason, I believed that once you stopped having “teen” tacked onto the end of your age, all of the uncertainty and insecurities of your teenage years disappeared. You’re in your twenties! You’re independent! You have an apartment and a dog of your own and you have no curfew! Congratulations. You also have bills to pay and meals to cook and dishes to wash. You also have applications to fill out and resumes to send and rejections to be disappointed by. Welcome to the world: it’s time to sink or swim.

Or sometimes, you get by just by treading water. This is your crossroads, these years are where it matters. Forget when you’re a teenager — all of that crap is still acceptable. You’re growing and maturing and you’ve got four additional years to taste freedom and make mistakes. Things are different in your twenties. When you’re in your twenties, what seemed so promising is now daunting; what was once a dream is now a fragment of a memory that you hold onto desperately.

You’ve got your passion, you’ve got your pride
but don’t you know that only fools are satisfied?
Dream on, but don’t imagine they’ll all come true
When will you realize, Vienna waits for you?

I still have my dreams and the drive and ambition to achieve them, but this road is not one I ever imagined for myself, especially at the ripe young age of twenty-four. This detour has forced me to re-examine my goals while endowing me with more determination and passion for achieving what has always been lifelong ambitions. Consequently, I have learned some very important lessons along the way.

This is the story of the twenty-something — the guy or girl who is traveling through life with a clear destination but no direct path. May these detours lead to unimaginable surprises. May you find your something someday.




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