So last week I turned 23! I’m slowly but undeniably creeping up to my mid-twenties, which in all honesty is terrifying. And apparently aging; as when I went out last weekend I only got asked for ID twice.
Just in case you were wondering, I did have a good birthday… but there were clouds surrounding it. As soon as you nudge past 21, it all feels a bit, unsure. A bit lost. A bit untethered. I’ve personally felt this way for a while; most of which I put down to the transition of moving from university and all its instant-gratification to the real, working world where nobody is there to clap you on the back and grade you at the end of every day. However I’m starting to believe it’s more to do with being in my 20s – a decade of contradictions. A decade where you want to (and expected to debut) as a fully function adult, yet constantly get told how young you are. A decade with no set structure; which is a problem if you are a bit of a control freak like me.
As millennials, we have been up in a world which inarguably offered a lot of instant-gratification. Time passed and although the habitual need for instant-gratification waned but stayed, financial security ran for the hills. We graduated into a world where we were constantly told the majority of us would not gain meaningful employment. The fear surrounding the job-market and annual ’30 under 30’ lists help to fuel a fear of urgency.
Dr Meg Jay, in her book and her Ted talk argued that this was a good thing in your twenties. And in moderation it probably is. However many of us have bouts of urgency and mild panic attacks as we look to the future: the price of deposits on a house, the depressing fact that most of the current pop stars are both richer and younger than you. The fear that no matter how hard you work, or how long you stay at the office you are not making ground quick enough. And if you’re a women the fact you have less than ten years to have children, before your fertility falls off a cliff.
Then there is that small, distracting whisper. The little voice that tells you, you will never be this free again. In the future you will have more bills, more responsibilities. You should enjoy your freedom while you can. You should spend your money on fast fashion and spend hours watching crap tv; because all too soon you will have a mortgage and will be stuck watching cbeebies on repeat.
Apparently I’m not the only one who has moments of feeling a little bit lost. Google has roughly 34227000 results for the top five searches starting with “in my 20s and”.
Now I appreciate that number looks made up, but it’s not, I promise. I also promise to be telling the truth when I tell you that the top five searches are all negative. With insecurities ranging from physical appearances to romantic relationships, from careers to feeling lost. Which let’s be honest is rubbish. We shouldn’t be feeling like this, but at times it cannot be helped. I don’t know how to stop having bouts of feeling unsure, and I haven’t found a consist method of quashing them. If you have, please by all means let me in on the secret.
I could tell you to chill out and relax, after all you’re only young… but you need to be laying the ground work for your future life now. Alternatively I could tell you to work your arse off – but then you might be really successful until you run off into the sunset with a mid-life crisis snapping at your ankles.
All this said, your twenties is also amazing. Your lack of responsibilities gives you the freedom to grab any oppertunity that comes your way. You can make mistakes, and still have a few years to put them right. You can learn what works for you, what doesn’t and what you may be willing to compromise on.
I guess the only real thing for it is too read quotes off Pinterest and try to keep the belief it will all work out fine.