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Cantika Rustandi
Cantika Rustandi Word Player, Sentence Creator, Storyteller
1y Netherlands Story
I'm 26 and I Haven't Figured Things Out

Growing up doesn't get any easier which is something I wish somebody had warned me about when I was younger. As a child, I was amazed at the freedom that adults had in purchasing what they wanted, going out to where they pleased, and forging connections with who they found comfort in. As a kid, I thought being an adult would be easy - something that I learned later on in life is a misunderstood perception.

At 26 years old (and counting), I've discovered that there are more responsibilities that I have to uphold and fulfill when it comes to growing up. Bills, leisure activities, a career, relationships, emergency fund, insurance, retirement funds, and AH! There are so, no.. too many things that I have to follow as a young adult (oh wait, can I still be categorized under this group?). 

I've been lucky enough for my age where I am not haunted by school loans and that I have insurance and a really fun job. Heck on occassion I get to travel overseas too which I understand is a privilege that not everybody has access to. In honesty, I feel like I'm doing pretty well for myself and on my own.

As a late bloomer in life and in almost everything in life, I've only recently started enjoying living life. I'm not shy to say that the first time I received my paycheck was the day that I discovered the power of having security; be it financially, emotionally, and the likes. But the truth is, society enjoys reminding me that I'm not getting any younger, therefore, I need to think about the more real-world issues such as buying a house, getting married, starting a family, and creating the whole "white picket fence" type of life. Apparently, I've been told on numerous occasions that it's fine to be happy, but I have to also be real to myself. 

What does this all mean for a 26-year old woman who is trying to focus more on the now and not so much on the future?

Has the decisions that I've made in life thus far (and continue to do) considered irrelevant and inadequate?

If there was a scale that ranged from "You're Doing Great, Kid!" to "Oh Tough Luck. You Need To Try Harder.", where do I fall in that spectrum?

Honestly, I'm 26 years old and I still haven't figured my life out. While I'm sure there are others who perceive my issues as a millennial problem, I would like to think that no, it's not. This is merely a story about growing up in my own way. But why is that so hard for people to comprehend that we are no longer bounded by the traditional confines on what defines an "adult"?

Look. I don't know if I want to settle down and I've been asking myself this question since one of my best friends married in 2014. I wish I had the answer at 26, but I don't. I have deep-stemming problems with my father which I know plays a partial role in why I remain undecided, but you know what the main "problem" is? I'm just not ready to marry. Whilst I don't particularly enjoy dating either, I find comfort in knowing that I am not required to commit to anything in life other than to myself. I fully understand that I don't need to take time off to love myself because I already do love myself. I know that it is this feeling of self-love that has enabled me with the gift to truly differentiate the difference between alone and lonely. I am a complete person even without having a man in my life thus at 26 years old, should I even be worried about this?

I know, I know.. But what about procreating? Don't I want to have kids?

What if my answer was "I don't have an answer for that either"? I'm a firm believer that there are those who are meant to be parents and there are those who are not. I, on the other hand, feel like I am in the in-between. What I do know is that being a real good "auntie" to my best friend's children does not make me a suitable parent. Then there's this thing called commitment. So far, I have only proven to myself that I am only able to be committed to myself; and even then I have moments where I let myself down (see you next time, healthy food and regular doctor checkups!). Keeping in this mind then why should I be shamed or be ridden with guilt for having made the decision to postpone having kids until further notice?

I retract that statement.

Why should anyone (man or woman) be shamed or be ridden with guilt in making life decisions that isn't a firm "YES"?

To this I say, you shouldn't be. For individuals who feel that they are couped up in this square box often feeling that they haven't got a choice then I want you to know that you are not alone in this struggle. I am with you as I'm sure many others are.

What I can tell you is that you do you. If you love your job and it's something that you're focused on, STICK TO IT. If you find contentment in knowing that you are married to your job or whatever type of activity you're passionate about then so be it. Of course it would be incredibly nice if at 26 years old, we have already set our minds on a lot of the questions that the older generation suggests us to have. But let's be clear here.. Some of us just aren't there yet and that's okay!

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  • Bethany Heinrich
    Bethany Heinrich Mogul Influencer
    1y ago New York, NY, United States

    I think the encouraging thing to know is that I'm not sure there's a time where it's all figured out! It's a constant process. That's been my experience anyway :-)

    I think the encouraging thing to know is that I'm not sure there's a time where it's all figured out! It's a constant process. That's been my experience anyway :-)

Cantika Rustandi
Word Player, Sentence Creator, Storyteller

Learning about life one mistake at a time; Learning about hope one setback at a time; Learning about love one heartbreak at a time; Learning about happiness one puppy at a time; Learning about myself every single day.

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