It’s Okay to Not Be Happy in Your Twenties

It's Okay to Not Be Happy in Your Twenties – Image has a smiley face and two paper clips

Growing up, I always thought that I’d be happy when I reached my twenties. It seemed like such a grown-up number. People in their twenties were young, carefree… They could do whatever they wanted whenever they wanted because they were adults. Parents couldn’t tell them what to do anymore. Young me liked this concept very much.

Since reaching this oh-so-magical time in my life, I realise that things are a bit more complicated than I initially thought they would be. Even though I really hate using the term “complicated” to describe life, you should all know it’s accurate, nevertheless.

The reality is that we can’t just waltz off and do whatever we want. We all have responsibilities – and if we don’t have responsibilities we need money to get anywhere. This was something I never had to think about as a child. I don’t think I would have been able to understand it, anyway.

So here I am, in my twenties, wondering if I’m living my life wrong. Deep down I still think that I should be happy simply because I’m supposedly “grown-up” and young. I think this feeling is often reinforced by other members of society – particularly, though not always, an older crowd that has the best of intentions.

Things to worry about in your 20s – a list

Whenever I try to express my anxiety and uncertainties about my life to this group of people, I’m told that I’m young and should just enjoy life. Trying to have a serious conversation about how it feels to still be living at home, or rejected from the jobs I’ve applied for, proves to be very difficult. They just can’t seem to understand why I feel weighed down when I have a whole future ahead of me.

Sometimes my problems are dismissed – that because I’m still young, what I feel isn’t valid or real. I recognise that other people have issues that are way worse than mine, but my own troubles still feel very real to me and, I suspect, to many others in a similar position.

I don’t understand where the concept of being carefree in your twenties even comes from. At this point in time, we’re still trying to figure out what we want from life and how to go about getting it. At times, we question the decisions we’ve made – should we have chosen differently?

I think that because we have so much of our lives ahead of us, we tend to stress out and over-analyse our choices. Or, at least I do. Yet, I often feel guilty for experiencing these anxieties and so choose to not discuss them. I think there are a lot of people out there who do the same thing.

Silencing ourselves in this way is a mistake. It’s okay to not be happy in your twenties. Repeat: it’s okay to not be happy in your twenties!

Happy Face – It's Okay to Not Be Happy in Your 20s

We have a lot of choices ahead of us. If this makes a little too anxious to be as carefree as some people think we should be then that’s just too bad… At least we’re taking our futures seriously.

Although, I would like to clarify that if you are happy and stress-free during your twenties – this is perfectly fine too. Let’s just agree to stop judging each other based on what we feel. We can’t help the fact that we have emotions.

Some people forget that happiness is an emotion, not a state of being. We’re never going to be happy all the time; that’s just unrealistic. During the course of our lives we’re going to feel happy, sad, angry, tired, anxious, peaceful… The list goes on. Our emotions are constantly shifting, and I personally think I’d be a bit freaked out if I met someone who was happy all the time. It just wouldn’t seem natural.

So, remember that feeling a little lost or unsure in your twenties is nothing to be ashamed of. Not being happy every moment of every day is completely normal. You just keep on living life as best you can and don’t let anyone tell you how you should be living (and feeling) during your life.


  • Are you currently happy in your twenties, or do you get a bit stressed out from time to time?
  • Do you have any idea what you’re doing?
  • What are some of your worries at the moment?

Images sourced from Ivory Mix.

It's Okay to Not Be Happy In Your 20s – Pinterest Image

25 thoughts on “It’s Okay to Not Be Happy in Your Twenties

  1. thanks for sharing this! i definitely needed to read this, especially as a early-to-mid 20’s year old. i would say that the whole ‘carefree’ thing is because even though yes we got responsibilities, we are not trying to start a family yet or have kids, hence carefree, coz that is the time we can focus on ourselves and not others 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I just turned 30 so I am no longer considered to be in my 20s anymore, but I know exactly what you are talking about. I also think people in their 20s today have a lot more pressure on them then they did in our parents generation. For me personally, I find just being grateful for all opportunities that come my way a good way to deal with the anxieties and stress of adulthood. Rather than looking at what I am failing at, I am just grateful for what I have instead. Life is tough, we do our best.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Ahh you are so note alone!

    Are you currently happy in your twenties, or do you get a bit stressed out from time to time?

    *Currently yes, but i do get stressed and spent the majoritttyyyyy of my 20s unhappy. I think it’s normal. I think that’s what our twenties are about, being unhappy so we can shed everyone else’s programming onto us and find ourselves.
    Do you have any idea what you’re doing?

    NOPE! That’s one of the things i learned in my 20s – the “adults” have no idea what they are doing! everyone is making it up as we go!
    What are some of your worries at the moment?

    Making my career dreams come true on a quick enough timeline to start a family

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m sorry that you feel this way, but i’m happy to know that I’m not alone! Everyone says you’re 21 this is the best year of your life! Go out and drink, and just live it up don’t commit to anyone or anything but I want commitment in my relationships and my job, and in my future and like you said no matter how much you try to express these thoughts they seem to get dismissed!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think some people want you to do what they wish they did when they were younger – forgetting that different people will want to live their lives differently! It’s annoying to be dismissed, but eventually everything will work out and we’ll be taken seriously! x


  5. Gah, I really feel this. Sometimes I think back to when I was a kid and wonder if past me would be proud or disappointed?
    This is all great advice. It’s okay, you’re only in your 20s. No one expects you to have it all.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I’m in my mid-twenties and so far I’ve definitely experienced some ups and downs. I’m happy where I’m at now and I have a great husband, job and family to thank for that. I do think that everyone kind of just goes with the flow in life and figures things out one day at a time!

    Katie |

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Not in my twenties anymore but thinking back I can so relate. Sometimes we get stuck in sucky jobs (been there, done that!) or feel stressed out or that we aren’t doing ‘enough’. I think it’s totally normal to feel these things and like it was mentioned, you can learn from your mistakes and try to do better. Great read!

    Liked by 1 person

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