I have this really awful habit of thinking I have my shit together for all of 15 mins a week, preaching about how blissful everything is, and then spending the rest of the time totally freaking out about where my life is (or isn’t) headed. I’m going to hazard a guess that I’m not completely alone on this one.
No matter what anyone tells you, being in your twenties is a huge learning curve, with enough peaks and troughs to keep you in a near-permanent state of unrest.
I think for me, it all started when I graduated. I did a degree that gave me a fair amount of enjoyment, and was laced with the promise of a solid career in business. Only, when it all ended, I realised that I wasn’t top of my game in my subject area, and that I’d actually just floated along for 3 years in a little bubble of optimism where the future wasn’t really a factor.
I then found myself thinking about what I should do with my life, rather than what I wanted to do.
There is perhaps a tendency to tell ourselves that so long as we have a respected profession, we’re doing alright. I am currently walking this path, and am grateful for the job I have (and I do genuinely enjoy it). However, my fear of reaching for the career I truthfully wanted and failing, completely overcame me. This meant that I never even set out in the right direction. At this stage, I have something to lose and have to consider whether I’d take 10 steps back for the opportunity at 30 steps forward. Given that, on a good day, I just about manage to make a decision on what to eat for lunch, I can’t see myself reaching a verdict any time soon.
Alongside thoughts of an alternative life path, another thing that seems to play heavy on my twentysomething mind, is the need to envelope all conversations with a huge dollop of opinion. Many of my friends will tell you I’m pretty opinionated, and they’re right in thinking I have enjoyed nothing more than a good debate after a glass (or three) of red wine. However, what they probably don’t see is that my conviction is perhaps a little lacking. I’ve dropped my ballsy teenage ‘know-it-all’ status and now find myself feeling like I’ve lost my way somewhat. I know I have a ton of things I feel strongly about. Yet, I can’t quite get a firm grasp on my beliefs, or form the sentiment to support my views. I catch myself wondering… is this just me? Or is it normal to have opinions that change as easily as your mood? I fear it could be another symptom of life in your twenties, and maybe I just need to accept that I’m just not quite there yet.
Further to this, my relationships with the significant people in my life have, to a great extent, taken a different turn. Since hitting my twenties I’ve been exposed to far more by way of crazy family issues (we all have ’em), which previously never really crossed my (rather selfish) mind. You come to realise that your parents aren’t just your parents, but they’re mere humans with flaws aplenty, and you have a duty to guide them, just as they did you for the early part of your life. Relationships with friends are all too changeable too. You most likely spent your teenage and university years sharing similar experiences, and taking a comparable journey. This can pause as working age commences. Many of my friends are choosing to settle down, whereas some of them are making a life overseas, or starting afresh in a new city. Friendships that always seemed so obvious, are now almost lacking in common ground.
So, to summarize, being in your twenties ain’t easy.
I’m not one to be melodramatic (ok, I am), and I’m certainly not planning on shouting out to the world about ‘FINDING MYSELF’ anytime soon, but I think there is a point to this post. I guess what I’m really getting at, is that if we didn’t take a minute to reflect on the early stage of careers, relationships and our flaws, we would inevitably end up hitting our midlife and entering a different crisis zone altogether. Here’s to hoping that by embracing the concerns I have about my present and future, I can do something about them and find my feet planted a little more confidently on the ground.
Now… I probably aught to go practice what I preach.