How My Old (Ancient?) Soul Has Disconnected Me From Some Of My 20-Something Peers

How My Old (Ancient?) Soul Has Disconnected Me From Some Of My 20-Something Peers

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Photo of a girl sitting on a couch reading a red book

Ah, to be a 20-something but hear the names Tito’s and Don Julio and already feel the heartburn flaring up. To be a 20-something and spend the majority of your free time reading post-modern fiction, talking on the phone with your parents, and practicing self-care. I have about five close friends, spend as much time alone as I possibly can, and fall into deep conversations rather excessively.

On a Friday night, the 20-something generation tends to go out and drink, which can create a lot of struggles for the home-body that just wants to read American classics with a different fermented brew— tea leaves, otherwise known as kombucha. While my peers generally tend to thrive in social settings, I’ve noticed that I love hanging out solo. Heck, I even go to the movies alone (if you haven’t done this, it’s the best hidden secret. You don’t miss a word!).

While my peers tend to enjoy distractions and busy themselves, I find myself trying to avoid any obligations other than work and school. Really though, if I have no plans that day, it feels like the equivalent of a little kid at Disneyworld not knowing which ride to go on first.

On a more serious note, I notice that my peers tend to emphasize physicality in their conversations, thoughts, and everyday choices, while I typically emphasize intellectuality and spirituality as being equally important. It’s kind of amazing to have a rather deep-rooted understanding of your likes and dislikes as a 20-something, but it can lead to feeling misunderstood and alone.

Composite photo of people partying and one man silhouette standing alone in nature

Thrive in Solitude vs. Social Settings

I’ve lived with a total of 14 girls before. Not all at once, but 14 nonetheless. I’ve been able to compare myself to other 20-somethings, only to realize that the majority of them thrive in social settings. They seem to have the most fun, be the most entertained, and feel like the most confident versions of themselves in correlation with the amount of social activities they take part in.

Have you ever had one of those lightbulb moments where everything in the world seems to make sense? Imagine having the clearest access to those moments when you’re alone. This can often be misunderstood as depression, a dislike for friends and family, or an avoidance of making plans, when in reality, this alone time is simply needed in order to offer the happiest and most loving version of yourself.

While I agree that balance is important in life, I just can’t seem to get off the solitude bus. It gives me the space to become, well, me. And when I find more of that person, there’s more of her to share with the world.

Composite photo of rush hour at the airport and people at the beach in sunset

Enjoy Stillness vs. Distractions

With technology constantly at your fingertips, it may almost feel painful to step away from the distraction because of how stimulating it is. I mean…all those colors, and articles, and information, and conversations! This experience is pretty common, even for someone like me, who prefers not to be distracted. I find that I’m the happiest and most vibrant when I ditch my phone for the day. It doesn’t leave me feeling anxious or uneasy (it did at first), but it actually makes me feel free.

Not having anything to do or anything to distract me allows me to figure out what it really is that my mind, body, and soul are asking for. Some days it’s a hot bath, others it’s a day at the beach or a long hike. Sometimes it’s listening to an album in my room without skipping a song because there’s no one there to tell me that they don’t like it. That can feel pretty nice when you happen to love that song.

For me, living a less distracted life gives me what feels like more time and a deeper appreciation for the moments I miss when preoccupied, like the ones with my parents, my health, and my purpose. I have so much respect for the “do-er” who continues to make plans and stay busy on his/her time off, but whether it is fortunate or unfortunate, it has only worked to my disadvantage.

Photo of young fitness couple smiling

Emphasis on Mind, Body, and Soul vs. Body

With the media creating the “ideal” body that seems nearly unattainable, there’s never been more obsessing over body image. Guys have now raised their standards because girls are, according to Tiny Fey, expected to have “Caucasian blue eyes, full Spanish lips, a classic button nose, hairless Asian skin with a California tan, a Jamaican dance hall ass, long Swedish legs, small Japanese feet, the hips of a nine-year-old boy, the arms of Michelle Obama, and doll tits.” She’s not wrong. My 20-something peers tend to spend hours thinking, talking, and what seems to be breathing body image. The emphasis on physicality has never been more prominent in our society.

I’ve found that attraction encompasses so much more than a nice body, though. I need to be able to have a stimulating conversation and connect with a person on a truly deep level in order to spend time together. It’s actually been proven in psychology that beautiful people are considered to be nicer, friendlier, and more accepting than average-looking people before even meeting them.

Photo of Buddhist monk in Bangladesh

This subconscious oversight seemed to dawn on me pretty quickly, as I’ve found intellectuality and spirituality equally attractive as a guy with an 8-pack. To find a person who has qualities in all three domains may sound extremely selective, but I think it actually opens up the possibility of finding beauty in someone who didn’t physically attract you at first. Maybe it’s my way of defying the old saying that “youth is wasted on the young.”

So here she is— the 20-something who feels like she has an old soul. Hopefully she didn’t sound too condescending (no one likes that). I end up with a lot of misunderstandings and more alone time than I feel is particularly necessary, but also with what feels like endless opportunities with nearly zero stimulation, and they all lie within me. It sounds cliché, but it is oh so real.

Time is valuable, and even if we’re young, it doesn’t have to be wasted. Old or young soul, social or not, we can all benefit from being selective about our time and thoughts. Anything negative doesn’t serve us, like obsessing about body image or constantly filling our time with more than we can handle. Hide your phone and run on the beach. You’ll be engaging in an “old soul” activity yet feel like a little kid again. If you never had a first time at Disneyworld, here’s your chance.