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13 August 2003

Emotional development - 20s

These are the years of living on the edge for many young men, but unfortunately quite a few fall off the edge.

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The twenties are your rollercoaster years. Playing hard, working hard, seeing the world, playing the field. But, ask yourself why nearly 98 percent of fatal road accidents in SA are attributed to men, or why only two percent of prison inmates are women! These are the years of living on the edge for many young men, but unfortunately quite a few fall off the edge.

Establishing who you are and what you want from life are not easy achievements, but much of your later life will be determined by the decisions you make in your twenties – whether these are a choice of partner, decisions on sexual orientation, career choices and lifestyle choices.

Fortunately these days the range of choices of who you want to be is not as limited as a few decades ago, when the choices were pretty much Party Animal, Sensitive New Age Guy, Workaholic Breadwinner or Strong Silent Type. Now you can be so many more things.

Relationships in your twenties can be both agony and ecstasy. Sometimes both on the same day. Chances are that somewhere in your twenties you will go through at least one messy breakup. How many people meet the love of their life at 18 and then it's all plain sailing till death do them part? Let's be realistic here.

The twenties are times of great pressure and great decisions and great expectations. And also often a time of great depression. If you experience any of the following, you may be suffering from depression and it may be an idea to see a therapist or your GP. After all, we are no longer in the fourteenth century.

  • An irrational sense of guilt;
  • Loss of interest in sex;
  • Indecisiveness;
  • Loss of interest in things that interested you before;
  • Trouble sleeping or eating, where you do either too much or too little of either or both;

Experiencing more than any two of these symptoms over a period of several weeks could mean that you’re depressed. Speak to someone about it. Remember that real problem with depression is not depression itself, but not seeking help.

The twenties are no easy ride – hold on to your principles, find out who you are, learn to trust yourself, learn to listen and above all, enjoy it as far as you can.

 
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