I felt the same sense of dread when I was in my early 20s. It's a perfectly natural part of the transition from childhood into adulthood. Once I got to 24, I quickly moved past those feeling of dread. Even though I understood life was going to move forward, I hadn't really accepted it until that time. For me, the big factor was meeting my wife. She made it clear she wanted to get married, buy a house, have kids, and raise a family. That's a 25 year long project, and there's no guarantee you'll be successful at it - it's entirely possible to fail. I saw that as a challenge, which turned the whole thing into a game, which made it fun, which changed my outlook. Instead of "I have to go to work", it became "I'm going to work towards a better job, making more money." Once I started accomplishing those little goals, they just made me hungry for more. I'm now 38, and I'm much more happy than I was in my teenage years/early 20s. I've got a lot to be proud of, and I'm always working to get better and accomplish the next goal. I'm excited to go to work in the morning, I'm excited to come home in the evening, and I enjoy digging into my project plans and to-do lists. Every time I get through a major project at work, or hit a new financial goal, or come back from a great vacation, it's like a shot of dopamine. But it all starts with setting some goals and making plans to achieve them. Find a significant other, develop healthy relationships with friends, don't settle for a crappy job - find a place you really enjoy working, work to get a home you can be proud of, and follow through on plans to experience the things you want to do (travel, events, etc.). I strongly recommend two books: Extreme Ownership and The War of Art. You may not have a direct connection to a soldier on a battlefield, or a frustrated artist, but the concepts are universal. If you can read and absorb the concepts in these books, and start to apply them to your life, you'll be amazed at the changes they produce.