Hustle culture in your twenties


June 6, 2023

I’ll be honest, I’ve been finding it difficult to write blog posts recently. I’ve been writing this blog since my freshmen year of high school and now I’m a junior in college; over the past seven years I’ve experienced writers block occasionally, but I don’t know what’s been happening in these past few weeks. I felt knocked out by this past semester and when it finally came around to taking a break I feel like my time just filled up with random tasks that have been piling up for ages and I didn’t take any time to just reflect and write blog posts.

But now just as we enter June my summer “break” is essentially over as I’m starting work next week, and it’s time to sit down, focus, and write blog posts again. As I said in my last post, I spent the past couple of weeks since finishing exams travelling between London and Dubai and spending time with family in both places. I’m really happy that I got the opportunity to go home to both of these cities, but like everything in life now, the trips just seemed rushed. I had around a week in both places and with all the random tasks that seem to be continuously piling up on top of jet lag I really don’t feel like it was a break at all, but I am glad I just got to be at home and see family.

It’s weird because I never saw this coming, but the thing that I find myself yearning for the most now is just more time. I feel as though during the semester, every minute is valuable; either it’s planned out for something productive or I’m trying to cram in all my self-care, workouts and social activities into the small windows of free time. I always have this idea that when I get to the breaks in school I’m going to have gaping holes of free time to just relax, sleep, and do things I want to do, but it’s like time is laughing at me and running away.

Every time I go home, I feel as though I always have to sacrifice some of the precious time with family. And don’t get me wrong, I am not complaining about hard work, I’m very much here to work hard, but, I simply can’t remember the last time I spent a week without doing any sort of work related to school, a job, this blog, or an extra-curricular. Surely at the age of 20 this is not how it should be?

I also think that, because I’m in this transitional period of my life where I’m starting to do all the adult things and I feel as though there’s constantly a new “adult” task on my to-do list that I need to teach myself how to do. That might sound like a silly thing to get overwhelmed by, but as someone who moved to a completely new country as an adult, I feel like I’m always coming across new systems and roadblocks that I need to educate myself and sometimes that is just a lot!

I find myself waiting for that point in my life where I’m working a full-time job and just focusing on that or when I finally have all the moving parts of my life worked out so that I’m not learning a million different things for the first time all the time. But… just as during the semester I hope for the still of the summer and get disappointed when that doesn’t happen, I feel as though I’m wistfully waiting for this point in life that won’t actually exist. It’s not even that I dislike what I’m doing; I genuinely enjoy all the things that I’m spending my time doing but I do miss just having free time and not feeling guilty about simply not doing anything.

So, what’s the solution to this? I don’t want to live in the now, just focusing on what moments of peace could potentially be coming. I could tell myself to step back and make boundaries, but to be honest, I don’t think that will work either; I’m annoyingly ambitious and I think I’m heading into the point of life now where I have to hustle hard to get to where I want to be, so telling myself to step back wouldn’t really be a sustainable solution. So, what to do?

Well, I would love to hear about what the other twenty-somethings are doing in the comments. But, for me, I think the solution right now should focus on two things: the first being adjusting my expectations. I think that I always have this idea of this stretch of time with absolutely nothing to do, but the thing is, that never really happens and then I find myself constantly disappointed. So, let me adjust my expectations for the time being. At this point in time, I can adjust my mind to think about a break as a free Friday afternoon or a full Sunday with nothing to do. I know that isn’t ideal, but I think that it’s a solution to my current point of life and will help me avoid some of that constant disappointment.

The second part of my proposed solution is to think about what I would do if I had nothing on the agenda (whether that’s going on a long run, going to a cafe and reading a book), and try and bake more of those activities into my routine on a regular basis. Instead of just staying insanely busy and waiting for these big chunks of time where I can do all of these things, I want to try and do them on a smaller scale more regularly, if that makes sense? Basically, to stop thinking of work time as a time where I don’t do anything to do a break and a break as a time where I shouldn’t do anything work-related.

I’m honestly not sure if these two will work but that’s what I’m going to try for the time being and this summer will be the perfect test! I hope that this post doesn’t just come across as a whine, but shares my thoughts about this stage of life and the tradeoffs between being in your twenties and ambition and what it takes! This is very much something that I’m writing about as I’m going through; in fact, it’s been top of my mind for the past few days, so I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.

See you soon,

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