The Thing About 20-Somethings

By Megan Broussard
November 14, 2012 • comment(s)
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We hear it all the time: that ambiguous phrase “the 20-somethings.” What does it mean?

It’s a term often tossed around without much thought, referring vaguely to the years of youth when many women stumble, fall, cling to the nearest wall for balance and finally find their bearings.

But, generalizing these ages full of drastic and distinguishable changes with one term seems too simplistic. The only thing 22 has in common with 25 is its first digit, otherwise they’re as close as strangers. In fact, the 22-year-old me wouldn’t have much to say to the now 25-year-old me. They want different things. 

Empty your purse and ruffle through your closet, and you’ll find that you know these things well, ending the mystery. Here are the items I think put the “things” in the elusive “20-somethings.”

The I.D.

Let’s start at 22 since it’s often the beginning of your professional life. Ever since college graduation, you’ve been searching for one thing: your I.D. Did you leave it at the bar? Ugh, you can’t find it anywhere. But, it doesn’t end there. You’re having a full on identity crisis.

The job you nabbed after college isn’t exactly your dream job. You might have even realized that it’s the wrong field all together. Nothing hurts more than reality swooping in and erasing the drawing board of plans you envisioned for yourself the last four years.  As a senior, you were on top of the world. In the working world, you’re at the bottom of the food chain. And, nobody told you that because of that, a series of growing pains awaits, especially if you moved to a new city or all of your friends did.  

You start to realize that going out isn’t the best way to make a new group of long-term friends or a boyfriend.  It’s draining your bank account and you end up wasting the entire next day in bed eating bad food. Hey, it was a good time, but when the money runs out and the tear ducts dry up, you’re ready for 23.

The Yoga Mat

At 23, you’re flexible, moldable, and I don’t just mean in the yoga positions you’ve been perfecting, though it’s something you’ve been really into lately.

Before yoga, it was crocheting, but that was a bust. (You’d think if your mom’s great at it you’d be a natural with the needle, right?!) Maybe you’ll try being a vegan. Painting class was fun, but you really don’t think you fit in with the serious creative crowd. Oh well, you’ve always wanted to try photography...Does Instagram count? Wednesdays are book club days, which is a bummer that it conflicts with the Bible study group you’ve been meaning to join…  

Sound familiar? At 23, you’re most likely on a mission for your passion – new hobbies to tout on your Facebook profile – especially if your job is unfulfilling. The plus is that you’re finally adjusting to that new city or life without your college besties. You’ve found that new group of friends and have possibly met that boy who will steal your heart, but not before kissing a load of toads. But, there’s still that one thing missing. You can’t keep complaining about the unpleasant job or position you have. You’ve got to make a move.  You start to plot.

The Overnight Bag

Being 24 is like being in limbo. You’re not quite as rambunctious as you were in your earlier 20s but not quite as settled as you’ll find in your mid-to-late 20s.

You’re equally up for the party and down for catching up on laundry on a Friday night. And, like that overnight bag slung over your shoulder for a fun girls night or date night with your guy, you’re just carrying on. You’ve figured out where you want to go in your professional life and are starting to take your first steps in the right direction – marching on.

The Thermos

This is your go-to container at 25 for your fast-track life and favorite beverage:  tall skinny vanilla latte with soy – hold the foam. You know what you want.

You’ve come a long way since your early-20 days of uncertainty. You now have a much clearer idea of what you want and how to demand it. It’s empowering really to think back on those early days of feeling like a lost puppy when now you’re a Doberman ready to pounce on the next opportunity in your career.

You’re a little bit more settled and at least more comfortable with who you are. And, you realize these things because 25 is as much like a wake-up call as the hot steaming coffee in that thermos. It’s a milestone that makes you reflect on the plan and goals you had for yourself. Have you met them? Do you still want them? Those are the things you can’t help but ask as you blow out those 25 birthday candles surrounded by girlfriends who all thinking the same thing.

This breakdown is by no means a blanket timeline for all women from 22-25 years old. Some women are lucky enough to land their dream job as their first right out of college. Some women are blessed with a talent at a young age and have no need to search for other hobbies later on. And, some women do not have a significant other until much later in life if they choose to have one at all. My point is that there is a general progression and transformation during these ages that are common. And that you, my fellow 20-somethings, are understood and certainly not alone.  

Megan Broussard is ProfessionGal – a southern PR girl living in NYC. She enjoys critiquing resumes, blogging about style and the young professional lifestyle, along with reviewing the latest office supplies.For the latest gossip on all things career-centric, find her on Twitter/Instagram (@professiongal), Facebook (, Pinterest ( and her blog:

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Ceedy's picture

i love ds i undastand some phases i am goin thru as a 20 something*smiles*.gud job

Sarah's picture

Well said Megan! I can definitely attest to my 20's being a mixture of emotions, experiences, challenges, and accomplishments! At 25, my previous 4 years have left me in a state of confusion about what I want in life and most importantly who I am as a woman. Thank you for putting my feelings into words!! Truly inspirational and so happy to know that someone understands my craziness :)

Anonymous's picture

Ha, I love this article! It definitely illustrates my 20s. I'm sending this to my sister-in-law. She just graduated college and is 21! She is going through the "who am I" phase and seeing a lot of her friends with a directed career focus and she's still figuring out "what should I do next". I'm also sending this to her mother, as it validates what I have been telling my mother-in-law...let her breathe and go through her change...she will figure this out eventually. :) Thank you for writing this article.

Megan E. Broussard's picture

I'm so happy to hear you love the article! And, when you share it with your sister-in-law and her mother, please tell them that I'm truly speaking from the heart and personal experience. I wish her the best of luck and know she'll find what she's looking for!

Emily Broussard Williams's picture

Love it Megan! Rejoice 20 somethings
= ) I can just see you saying this! Keep up the great work.

Megan E. Broussard's picture

Thank you for reading, Emily! That is so nice of you to say. :) Our 20s can be a roller coaster, and I really wanted to illustrate that. Appreciate you leaving a comment!