September 8, 2016

An Open Letter to All My 20-Something Women

To my fellow 20-something women:

There are some things you should know.

Some things you should read, if you haven't already. Maybe you have heard them but need to again. We are a part of the millennial generation, an unprecedented group in the history of the world, really. We're connected in ways that former generations might never have dreamed up, and we have more opportunities than ever before. Yes, I'm on the younger end of the millennial spectrum, but that doesn't make what I've come to realize any less significant. Am I a little naïve because I'm still in college and haven't really moved into the "real world" yet? Maybe. But maybe you are, too, as an 18- year-old or a 23-year-old or a 27-year-old. But like I said, there are some things you should know. Firstly, you should know that you can.

You can be a journalist, entrepreneur, lawyer, doctor, artist, mayor, blogger, tour manager (if you're like me)... whatever, whomever you want. Close the wage gap. Break the glass ceiling. Write a book. Travel the world and photograph everything. Quit your stalemate job and open a bakery. Leave the familiar behind, and go kick butt doing something you love. No one can tell you what you can and cannot do simply because you're a woman. Especially because you're a woman. 

You should know that you don't have to have kids. I'm only 20, but I don't think I'll ever have children. Maybe I'll change my mind. I don't think I will. But I hate it when people tell me that I most definitely will. "I felt the same way when I was your age." "You'll want kids when you meet the right guy." "You're too young to know how you feel." "You don't know love until you have a child of your own." I know that the people who say these things have good intentions, but they don't know how I'll feel or what I'll want because they are not me. When I see a baby, I'm definitely not thinking "Oh, how cute!," I've never babysat, and I'm not particularly close with my younger siblings. Maybe I'm a terrible person, but kids have never interested me. To me, they're just smaller, needier humans. I hate the stigma that exists that says if you're a woman, you have to give birth, take pregnancy leave, put your life on hold, and care for a dependent for at least the next 18 years. Society does not get to tell you what your family life should be. 

You should know that you don't have to be afraid of age. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't afraid of getting older. I tell all my friends that I want to freeze my life at 24. To me, it seems like the ideal age. Old enough to be a couple years out of school, still in your twenties, and not yet at the crossroads of 25. I'm trying to not worry about it, though. I know that God has a great plan for my life— career-wise, people-wise, location-wise— and that in the scope of things, age really is just a number. 

Finally, you should know that you don't need to have it all together... ever. It's sort of a vicious cycle: you see the women who "have their lives together;" you read their blog posts, books, and articles about how they don't really have their lives together; and then you read ten articles about how you can get your own life together before reading five more articles that explain why it's okay not to get your life together. Your head is spinning just reading that sentence. So, which one is it? I'll let you in on a secret: it doesn't matter. If being organized and keeping lists on lists of plans and goals makes you feel better, that's okay. If you take it one day at a time, that's okay. If you prefer a mixture of structure and spontaneity, that's okay, too. I feel like there's too much pressure to be one thing or the other when really, it makes no difference how your life appears to others. What matters is that you're happy.

Because really, it all comes down to happiness. In as cliché a fashion as I can, I'll leave you with a quote (by John B. Sheerin): "Happiness is not in our circumstances but in ourselves. It is not something we see, like a rainbow, or feel, like the heat of a fire. Happiness is something we are."




  1. This is beautifully written, Alexa. It's so easy to forget these things sometimes, but it's so important for us to remember!

    Sarah //

    1. Thanks, Sarah! I think these things are important, too :)


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