Saturday, 5 July 2014

Your Twenties - Really your Freedom Years?

Company magazine used to have me believe that my twenties were my freedom years and this was the decade to enjoy my youth and live life to the fullest - what it didn't mention however, is that it is easier said than done.

They never mentioned that you actually needed money to do all these things and that once you finally found that full time job out of uni, it probably wouldn't pay as much as you thought. This was particularly true once you started renting your own place and had to do grown up things like paying bills and buying food.

When you're left with your dismal amount of spare money, it isn't actually that much to play with. Particularly if you're prone to bouts of shopping splurges such as me. Even if I didn't go shopping, I still wouldn't really have much leftover. So if I did want to travel the world, it would still take a fair amount of saving on my part for months on end.

There was never any mention of the fact that when you reached your twenties, many of your friends would pair up with long term partners and soon your Facebook feed would be full of babies and weddings. All of a sudden, you're thrown into a very grown up world where people your age are getting married and baring children and you've never even had a meaningful relationship and are very aware that babies and marriage are quite some years away.

Of course, we're all in different situations and everybody goes through these life milestones in their own time. I know that I'm intensely happy to bare witness to friends and family enjoying these rights of passage and be overwhelmingly happy for them. It's an honour to be part of it and see their lives progress and change. I love nothing more than a wedding and cuddling babies!

But at 24, when only 8 years ago I was 16 and finishing high school, it's pretty scary that I've been thrown from carefree teenage years to adult seriousness quite so soon. Nobody ever warns you quite how terrifying this segue to adulthood truly is and before you know it, you're worried about getting left behind.

This thought process is so stupid, because at 24, I'm still really young and have years of boring adulthood and drudgery ahead of me - but I can't help but pine 'When is it my turn?'. You see, the problem with approaching your mid twenties is the overwhelming reminder that this means you're ever closer to 30, when the real pressure to have your life figured out is truly on.

I can't help but find myself becoming ever more reminiscent of Bridget Jones, only without Daniel Cleaver and Mark Darcy fighting over me. What if I end up in my mid thirties in the exact position I am now? Should I really be worrying about ten years from now? Will I ever have my life figured out? Does anyone?

When I moved into my flat alone and felt weird about being in charge of bills, I asked my parents if they ever felt like a grown up. When does anybody feel like a grown up. They told me they didn't and never did. I guess you just get along, stumble your way through and figure it out.

I suppose we all find our paths eventually and things will work out how they're meant to. I need to stop comparing myself to others, but it's so hard when it seems like you're getting left behind and standing still as everyone else moves forward. I guess have quite a few more blocks to stumble over and lessons to learn. Some people are lucky and have much fewer obstacles in their way. Perhaps the challenges I've had will make me a better person, help me learn more about myself and become stronger as well as more independent. But it's often hard to keep that in mind.

So am I alone in finding my twenties a minefield? Is it easy for anyone?

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