For me the most reoccurring challenge from age 18-22 has been 1) Discovering/ working towards a career that I genuinely have a passion for and 2) Relationships.
The two of them kind of go hand-in-hand, I think.The most common conversations when I lived with my roommates for three years were about school and relationships. And a lot of times failure in one category resulted in failure in the other.
The moment I started making school/ career related decisions that were true to myself, and not to the 4-year-plan, after which you-need-to-have-a-career, I started becoming more confident and empowered in all other aspects of my life, including relationships.
I think the challenge, really, is not looking to the person next to you and comparing your success to his/ hers. For me, and possibly a lot of people my age, observing others is what guides us. Our parents, teachers, and older friends tell us to go to college. Get a degree! And make a lot of money! And we listen. I think college education is excellent, but I found flaw in that focus is put on money- and status… and not on happiness.
My biggest struggle so far has been dealing with expectations- somehow living my life taking into account both what I want and what is necessary for me to live without worrying about money problems.
While all this obsessive thinking about school and money, the second most obsessive thoughts are/were about relationships with guys.
What if I never find someone right for me? Oh, look, someone is having a baby. Oh, look, someone is getting married. I want that frown emoticon and then, that weekend, I go on a date with a complete jerk… all hope is lost and somehow, a lack seems to continuing gnawing on my insides until I’m deceived by hope again.
But yay. I finally found the love of an amazing person. Still, the challenge remains on keeping the relationship healthy in it’s infancy, and removing all doubt that this person will leave me (voluntarily or involuntarily). I might be slightly more sensitive to these doubts because I’m pregnant. But the point is-whether in a relationship or single, the challenge revolves around finding/ keeping a mate. This is just for me.
The next challenge that I’m so excited for: being a mom and a good spouse.