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Thursday, June 13
The Indiana Daily Student


COLUMN: Our roaring 20s roar with regret


When we turn 20, there’s a bridge we must cross. The bridge leads us to what some people refer to as the best years of our lives: the roaring 20s.  

Our 20s are years we should supposedly fill with nights out drinking with friends, and days making mistakes. There’s pressure to figure your whole life out, but there’s also a sort of excitement around what’s to come.   

As it hits midnight on your 20th birthday, you know these are the last years of your youth —your last decade of being wild.  

Just like we thought, our 20s go by in the blink of an eye, and suddenly you’re 21. You can go out to bars with your friends now. You’re tired from your classes, but you still go out every weekend, because what if in nine years, you regret not doing it? That question fills your last few years of college, and the thought of feeling regret in the future is scarier than being tired Monday morning. Living authentically is not the issue right now, it's worrying about regret.  

Suddenly, you’re in your mid-twenties. You’re working now. Somewhere you don’t love, but you know your future self will thank you for it. The pay is good, but in a couple of years, it might be great. You should stay for that possibility, because you owe it to your older self to persevere.  

Plus, you know you’ll have to start from scratch somewhere else, making it harder to climb up the ladder. You would put yourself back a couple of years, and your future self wouldn't like that.  

A couple months have gone by, and you’re still going out like you’re in college because you’re not sure how many more years of this you’ll have. Once you’re 30, you don’t want to regret the nights you chose to stay in. 

Even though you’re constantly tired, would like to go to the gym more regularly and are spending money on drinks you should be spending on food, you go out because this “freedom” might be gone soon.  

The pay still isn’t great, but leaving is not an option. Even though you don’t like the apartment you can afford, at least on your 30th birthday, you might be somewhere nicer because you were loyal to the company. Loyalty deserves a promotion. Doing what you genuinely want does not.  

You don’t want to regret anything, because your 20s are the last few years of your youth.  

You’re joking around with your co-workers, and everyone decides to go to dinner after work. As you walk into the restaurant, you bump into someone. For the first time, you get called ma’am. 

Suddenly the fountain of youth runs dry.  

You have lived in fear of what a future version of yourself will think when they inevitably look back. You have worried so much about regret, that you stopped paying attention to what your youthful, fun, former self wanted. 

It’s this fear of getting old that motivated you to live it up in your 20s. It’s also this fear of not being young that led you to live through the eyes of your older self — ignoring what you truly wanted while you were young.  

You wanted to stop going out as soon as life got too busy in college, classes too demanding.  

You wanted to quit your job because the pay was not what you were worth.  

You wanted to go to the gym and spend time with friends outside of bars and clubs.  

As you look back, you realize the one thing our future selves will regret: we lived for them, and not for us. Amidst the overthinking, and the doubts about what this imaginary self would think, you lost track of time, and it caught up.  

You now know there is no greater regret than living your life for someone other than your present self.   

Maria Amanda Irias (she/her) is a junior studying journalism and psychology.

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