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January 09, 2017

The Flyway - The 20-Something Years

BY: SYDNEY JAMES

This blog is not limited to readers who are 20-something, it’s for everyone. Everyone at some point in their life has felt how I feel right now (in some form or fashion) and mine just happens to be while I am in my twenties.

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I was on the phone with a good college friend recently and we were catching up and discussing life. We are both twenty-something and recently married. As we were chatting, she kept saying “Wow Syd, I feel the exact same way” or “Man, you took words right out of my mouth.” We were talking about this time in our lives and questioning what exactly we are doing. Some might say we’re all set. We found our life partners, we both have jobs and live in cities that we love. It’s all relative though. It’s a real feeling to think that after you graduate college you’ll KNOW. You’ll know what it is you have been “working” towards for so many years in school. Whether that’s going back to school, starting a family, traveling, starting your own business… but, that’s not how it is for most of us. It’s the first time in life where you don’t have school or parents telling you what’s next. And it’s hard. Really hard. Especially if you’re someone like me who is extra critical and hard on yourself (like most runners are). When you’re someone that is always thinking about what’s next, it is hard feeling content about how awesome life is RIGHT NOW. 

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I told my friend that I am struggling to find my identity in a world where the next step is totally up to me. I feel lost and out of touch with my goals and who I want to be. She again felt similarly. The feeling made me want to buckle down, roll up my sleeves and figure this thing out. A thing that keeps me up at night, takes over dinner conversations with my husband, and can make me a negative person; all things I don’t want a part of my life. These feelings seem to all revolve around the balance between choice and happiness.

For those who are lucky enough, there are so many options these days. Too many. And it creates a feeling that there’s always something better out there (FOMO anyone?). Whether that’s the city you live in, the house you bought, the person you’re dating… the list goes on. There’s almost always a feeling of discontent. It eats away at you as if you’re not doing enough or not working towards the right thing. 

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I talked about this idea with Feather Stephens a while back on a run. The idea of choice and happiness and how some of the happiest people out there lead the simplest of lives. What if we were all told where to live, a career to do, and who to marry? If there were no other options available, you wouldn’t think about what else is out there. This may be a reason why arranged marriages can often be the happiest of marriages.  When you aren’t given a choice, you face reality head on and learn to live within it and maybe even find happiness. Now I don’t think any of us would choose giving up free will, I for one am very happy with my non-arranged marriage ;), but it’s an important reminder. A reminder to never lose sight of what you want to accomplish, but always try to find happiness in the here and now.

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Having these sorts of conversations with friends and family is great and makes me gain some perspective on how lucky I am.  It makes me want to become more content and less driven in some ways. Learning how to feel happy with where you are now is OKAY. It’s a good thing! You can still be driven and motivated, but it doesn’t need to create a negative bubble in your life. This is something I will work towards in 2017. 

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In this New Year, I want to work towards feeling happy with where I am in life and know that it doesn't mean I'm not motivated or driven to reach my next goal. Knowing that this feeling is a common one amongst others my age is comforting and I can only hope that others work towards this same goal.  Here’s to finding happiness in a world full of choice! 

- Sydney James

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