Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Your Twenties - Expectation vs Reality

When I was a teenager, I imagined that a few years into my twenties, I'd have my life sorted and would be well on my way to success and happiness. Fast forward to me approaching my mid twenties and things haven't exactly gone to my overly ambitious plan.

The frustrating thing about your twenties is that it doesn't usually look like what you expected it to. As teenagers or students still in education, we like to imagine that at the end of years of following the path set for us, everything will work out by the end and slot into place. Most of us have ambitions and an image of where we'd like to be.

However for me and many other people my age, it hasn't exactly worked out. A long recession saw to that and has seen many of us finding ourselves still living at home and wondering where the hell our lives are going. Even for those who have managed to fly the nest, low paying jobs have meant living by a tight budget and disappointing living conditions. 

Maybe I'm alone in my previously ambitious view of my future, but when I was 18 and imagined my life five years into the future (and I did) I expected to be well established into a career, have a nice flat and a wardrobe of designer items. Boy was I wrong.

Perhaps this is a right of passage for your twenties, but not one we are prepared for thanks to novels, TV shows and films usually showing us well established twenty-somethings. I think Girls was the first to show us a realistic perspective and attitude, and I am obsessively in love with the show, but let's be real here - the four girls still manage to afford to live in New York and live pretty fabulous lives even if it isn't SATC degree of fabulous.

It seems that for many of us, not blessed with a silver spoon or useful contacts, your twenties is the school of hard knocks and this is where we do the growing we need to become relatively well established thirty year olds. But then again, could I be writing this blog in ten years time with the same line of 'It wasn't how I thought it would be'? Perhaps the simple truth is that you never know where your life is going and what the future holds. There is a famous line in a Sex and the City episode that goes: That's the key to having it all: stop expecting it to look like what you thought it was going to look like. 

At the start of every year, I try and imagine where I will be by the end of it. It's a pointless task, because the simple truth is that I have no idea. At the end of every year, I think over everything that has happened and realise how I could of never have predicted parts of it. I think this year, this will be particularly true, thanks to an unexpected health problem and resulting surgery. How could I have predicted that?

In many ways, I feel that your twenties is a confusing decade. You're young but old, irresponsible but responsible, naive but experienced. You're constantly growing and trying to improve and establish yourself that you don't know whether you're coming or going. Then there is the peer pressure and friendly competition. Friends and peers are getting their dream jobs, travelling, getting married and having babies and you begin to feel left behind and lost, wondering when it's your turn. While so and so meets the love of their life, buys a house and runs a company, you find yourself still never having had a serious relationship, living at your parents house and still only just beginning your career.

I suppose in a way, it's this frustration that keeps us going and teaches us life lessons to hold close and allow us to grow. It just happens to different people at different times and hopefully for good reason. Without life envy, what would push us to strive for our own dreams? If everything happened how we imagined and hoped, what could we possibly hope to learn?

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

5 Things That Suck About Recovering from Surgery

Hello All,

I am in the process of considering setting up a new blog as I've been so bloody useless on this one and I need some more direction and organisation and discipline but while I think of a name, theme and general approach, I'll stick to this one. Failing that, maybe I'll raise this blog like a phoenix from the ashes and actually update it.

Meanwhile, I had surgery last week and am currently dealing with the unadulterated boredom of post-surgery recovery. All is fine, just a slight little health hiccup which I hope is behind me now, but as my first experience of open surgery, it was a scary time. Not to mention painful.

So here are a few things that suck about recovering from surgery:


The problem with post-surgery is that you have to take it easy and for the most part, that means a lot of staying at home - avoiding the dangerous outside and the threat of people bumping into you. Yes when we work full time, nothing sounds more perfect that lazing on the sofa and watching daytime TV, but after a few days of that and not much opportunity to go out - it gets really boring, really fast.

I have a lot of things to keep me occupied - my new Mac which I'm typing this on, 3 new books, 10 magazines and countless DVDs but it's the kind of boredom where you literally can't be bothered to do anything to get you out of this mindset.

2. Exhaustion

Obviously, surgery is quite a lot for your body to go through and as a result it takes a while to recover fully from it. The rest you need to take can also play havoc with your stamina. I had my surgery on Monday September 2 and I've only been out twice since the surgery. Both times, I've felt absolutely exhausted after. It feels so good to get out the house but it's becoming clear this is something I need to do slow and steady. It seems that as much as you want to get back to normal life, you have to listen to your body and take it a day at a time.

3. The General Public

I'm not the general public's biggest fan at the best of times, but post-surgery you have to become some kind of Terminator type scanner to seek out potential risks. These people don't know you have a healing wound about your person and don't understand how much pain or damage they could do to you if the were to bump into you. Therefore you have to be the one to dodge their oblivious strolling as they walk with their head in their phone and feet on auto-pilot. Constantly being on red alert is extremely draining and makes shopping much less enjoyable and much more obstacle course.

4. Restricted Mobility

I've had abdominal surgery, which is making anything from sitting, lying, bending and even stretching, a difficult and painful task. For someone that likes to rush around fast and get what they need, I've had to dramatically slow down and take my time. I've had to come up with ways to get what I need, which means I've developed an awkward lunge if I need to get anything below waist level. I have to lower myself to sit down like a pregnant lady. Getting things off the floor? Don't even think about it.

5. Dropping Things

Since I can't bend down or get anything that's on the floor (unless I can grab them with my feet), I've had to deal with the fact that if I drop something, it stays on the floor until somebody can help me out. My hands seem to think this is hilarious and have mysteriously became completely useless since surgery. This has seen me continually drop things and leave a trail of mess wherever I go or calling for help. In shops, if something falls off the hanger, I've had to become one of those dickheads that ignores it, because I can't pick it up!

Because I don't look pregnant or injured, I'm fairly certain I just look like a slow walking, lazy weirdo. It's not immeditely obvious that I've had surgery, which is a good thing, but it means people aren't aware of why I'm acting strangely. But let's face it, even if there was a badge I could wear that said 'I've just had surgery - give me space and patience', I wouldn't wear it anyway and everyone would be too intrigued in their smartphones to give it any attention.