Our 20s are some of the most monumental years of our lives. We question our purpose, experience true heartbreak for the first time, and fight the urge to leave everything behind and start over — more than once. Some of us actually do.

“Our 20s are some of the most monumental years of our lives.”

You see, these are the years we stumble through college, learn what it means to be an adult for the first time (do we ever really learn, though?), start that job, quit that job, and start another, find that wholesome apartment right outside of the city, begin saving for our first home, search for love, find it, lose it, grieve it, and finally go to therapy. We start to form an idea about our identity, decide whether we are going to become a writer, or an artist, or an activist, or maybe even all of the above.

We question everything about life, and inevitably, question everything about ourselves in the process.

These are also the years we spend more than we have, and then try to spend less, revamp our closet over and over, get bangs and instantly wonder why we did it, learn that spending more time in the sunlight actually does make a difference, pick up running and swear it’s just for the exercise (but really, we’re all running from something). We try to discover what true happiness looks like, sounds like, and feels like, and learn that standing up for what we believe in is one of the most important things we can ever do.

Something beautiful that happens during these years is that we truly start to blossom into the people we are meant to become. We start to realize that our experience of life is an ever-evolving process, and how extraordinary a process it is.

“Something beautiful that happens during these years is that we truly start to blossom into the people we are meant to become.”

In the midst of it all, we meet wonderful people who inspire us to continue the journey, encourage us to keep seeking answers to all of the questions we have, show us that we are not alone, and walk beside us through some of the most challenging, beautiful, confusing years of our lives.

They become the friends we met in our 20s, and they change everything.

They will swap stories with you over French press coffee on Saturday mornings, become your accountability partner when you decide to finally start working on that passion project you’ve been talking about forever, strongly discourage you from sending that one text you’ve been thinking about sending, let you pick the restaurant because they know how picky you are, gift you a journal for every birthday and holiday because they believe in your writing, take you out to celebrate when you land that one client that seemed impossible, get impulse matching tattoos and laugh at the ones you got when you were eighteen.

They will tell you the hard things in a soft way, drive you around the city when you need a minute to think, drive you away from the city when you need a week to think, shout from the rooftops of parking decks when nothing makes sense, believe for you when you’ve lost all hope and faith in your situation, sit on the shore with you while your tears crash with the waves, show up at your door with a box of cookies after a hard day, and absolutely make you dinner every night on what feels like the worst week of your life.

“They will tell you the hard things in a soft way.”

They will sit on the curb and cry with you until neither of you has any tears left, showing you that seeing your pain hurts them too, and then they will do everything in their power to never be the source of such pain. They will encourage you to have that hard conversation, pray with you, guide you, remind you that all is not lost, and that what may take you a year to move on from now will actually open up space for something even more beautiful, if you’re willing to believe it.

They become the people who help you feel heard, seen, understood, known, and loved. They will open their arms wide and not let you go until they know you are ready to breathe on your own again. They will hold space for you, and remind you that you have everything you need for this moment in time. They will be the people you run to when you feel all is lost.

“They become the people who help you feel heard, seen, understood, known, and loved.”

When life feels like it’s too much and you can’t keep up, you will look to these friends and say: How do I get through this? How do I move forward? Their response will be simple, but something you will come back to over and over for years to come: The sun will rise, and we will try again.

And one day you’ll realize, they were right.

Friendships take time to form, but when we hold space for them, our lives are forever changed. That one girl we met on the internet over a shared love for poetry, the co-worker with the cool style, the stylist who took us from blonde to brunette, and the middle school friend we reunited
with. They all become friends, ones we feel deeply in our hearts that we could never live without.

And we come to learn, we won’t have to.

Madison Leigh King is an author, writer, and copywriter from North Carolina. Avid reader turned writer, she draws inspiration from her favorite works and interweaves personal experience into what she creates. She loves sharing stories over coffee, prioritizing movement, and spending slow mornings in her Southeastern home. Follow along on her journey as she writes her first novel on Instagram and TikTok.