Twenty Going on 40

My soon-to-be-21-year-old daughter is having an early-life crisis. She’s completely panicky these last couple of years because she doesn’t have her life together. I’ve told her a hundred times … no one expects you to have your life together at this age.

She took a year off after high school, to our deep concern, to work full-time and enjoy one last year of “freedom” before she had to begin college. Yes, I got a good chuckle out of that, too. Freedom. Pfft.

College, unfortunately, lasted all of a semester. Athletically, she shined, helping to bring her women’s volleyball team to state championships for the first time in the school’s history. Academically, not so much with the shining.

Both of our daughters are very intelligent women. They have common sense (most of the time) and are extremely capable people and hard workers. They just didn’t like school. They didn’t have the patience or the interest (OK, or the discipline) necessary to obtain a “traditional” education after high school. While our eldest chose to serve our country instead of attending college, she is now pursuing her degree at her own pace. The youngest however, is floundering.

She works full-time at local hospital and is respected by both superiors and peers as a hard worker. She spends too much of her money on things she doesn’t need and, as a result, she’s constantly stressed out over not having enough of it. She worries about money (or lack of it) all the time.

I’ve assured her many times that she’s really doing just fine. She has a good job with a lot of potential to move into other areas. She has a car that’s paid for, and she has a roof over her head and food in her belly. She’s healthy, loved and has a good support system around her.

But, at 20, a person can’t always see the forest through the trees. They often only see what’s right in front of them; what’s here and now; what’s giving them anxiety and, of course, the drama of young adulthood. All she sees right now is a huge car insurance bill, a small college debt, and a few other menial bills. But she loses sleep over what she sees as the inability to ever be able to afford to buy a house, and endless uncertainty.

Life is full of uncertainty, I tell her. Try not to get overwhelmed with worry while you have everything you need right now. Save for the future, change your spending habits, work hard, have a goal.

Most importantly, don’t miss out on enjoying life right now by worrying too much about later. Later will come no matter what.

About Ann Luongo

Ann Luongo is the Marketing Writer and Lifestyle Reporter for, and has been writing for Cape Cod and South Shore publications for over 15 years.
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