It is difficult for you as you spend so much time with people who have such severe difficulties. It certainly does not mean that this is the furure for you.
I have had extensive bronchiectasis since I was 3 and am now 66. I have never had to have oxygen and until my heart developed AF and left ventricular cardiomyopathy 3 years ago ( not caused by the bronch) I could keep up with most of my contemporaries. Better than many actually as I don't have dodgy hips, knees etc. Now I pace myself, making sure to walk my dog, use stairs when I can and I have just ordered yet another exercise machine ( I get bored). My latest spirometry tests were a tiny bit worse, which is expected as I age but my volume and gas exchange were better than last time. When I have an exacerbation I do need to give my body a chance to rest whilst the antibiotics work, remembering always to get that gunk out!
As for developing it at an early age. You have probably been living with it coming on gradually for a long time in a mild form as opposed to us old stagers who had catastrophic lung damage at an early age. Slowly, as successive chest infections added to your damage you noticed it. Have you been tested for A1A antitrypsin deficiency? This is a hereditory condition where the body does not coat the lungs with the substance which normally protects them from damage caused by the proteins which rush to the lungs to battle infection. These proteins then damage the lungs and with A1A it happens more quickly than in the lifetime of people without that deficiency. About one sixth of the population have it and it can result in bronchiectasis. About one third, which includes me, never find out why they have it. I had pneumonias as a child which did the damage but do not know why I had them.
My advice is not to judge your own condition or prognosis by other lung conditions, many of which progress more quickly and give a different type of breathlessness in different ways to bronchiectasis and best not to compare with other bronchs as we are all vary so much.
I hope that your consultant gave you a treatment plan which will guide you through whilst you are learning to respond to the different signs that your body gives you. If not, call and ask for one. Your GP will only have a plan for COPD and will need the advice of your consultant. I am going now so that you can absorb all of that.xx