All the twenty-somethings (all the twenty-somethings), all the twenty-somethings (all the twenty-somethings), all the twenty-somethings with little-to-no clue what you’re doing, put your hands up!
…yeah OK, Beyoncé’s lyrics were better.
This blog took a while for me to write. Even though it was very therapeutic, it was also difficult to determine how much to share without it becoming a pile of rambling, self-pitying jargon. But if this helps someone in the same situation as me feel less alone in their worries, then it’s worth it.
Your twenties is a very weird age bracket to be in. Suddenly everyone you grew up with seems to be at different ‘stages of life’; there are people I know who are married with children and a house, and there are other people who are still at university and have never had a job. There are those without a degree in full-time careers, and those who excelled at university but are now unemployed. And I’m not saying one of these is better than the others, but it’s difficult not to compare yourself to people your age and wonder where you went wrong. Every year until the age of 18, everybody was going at pretty much the same pace. Primary school, secondary school, GCSEs, A-levels or college, and then…boom. Suddenly everything changes, everyone takes different paths, and crucially for a lot of people my age, we don’t even know what this path is.
I graduated from university two years ago surrounded by people who knew what they wanted to do, and since then all I’ve done is stare at job adverts without a clue how to move forward in the ‘real world’. It was so easy to spiral into feeling like I’d failed myself and failed everybody who had ever believed in me, and it’s an unhealthy but, in many cases, unavoidable way to feel. It was a very isolating and almost suffocating sense of absolute helplessness.
I felt like I’d lost my identity, like I couldn’t work out what defined me anymore. What was I supposed to do now? What am I good at? There are thousands of people out there with the same skills as me, so how on earth am I going to find a job? What would I enjoy? Is there anything I would enjoy? How am I supposed to find a career when they all want 5 years’ experience for minimum pay? Do I even need a job? Can I just eschew society, go and build a shelter in a remote forest and live off the land like Bear Grylls?
Living in my head was absolutely exhausting.
But whilst it took me a while to get to the stage I’m at now, I am learning to relish the uncertainty of the future. For the first time in my life I don’t know where I’m going to be in a couple of months’ time, let alone a couple of years’, and that’s exciting to me now. So much of our time is spent thinking about the future, and whilst it’s important to plan ahead, I’m making a conscious effort to enjoy the life I have right at this moment. I’ll never get to be this age again. The freedom I have right now to essentially be able to go anywhere and do anything isn’t going to last forever, and I refuse to waste any more of my time worrying that I don’t have my life together. Because what does that mean, really?
Obviously, it’s very easy to say this, and there will always be days where I sit and eat ice cream and watch Disney because I’d rather regress than face up to how lost I often still feel. And although I’m still researching and taking steps to work out what I’m going to do with my life (because unfortunately, I don’t think I’d survive by moving to a remote forest and living off the land like Bear Grylls), I’m happily in the present, appreciating the people around me and recognising how lucky I am.
I just wish I could go to the Alice I was two years ago and say CALM YOURSELF YOU IDIOT IT’S GOING TO BE OK. But alas, I cannot time travel, and if I could, I would more than likely use that power for something a little more exciting. Like going to see Queen in concert when Freddie Mercury was still alive. Screw helping past-Alice.
But to anyone who is feeling lost, I’ll say it a little less aggressively. It is going to be OK. You don’t have to have everything figured out. Even people who seem to have everything figured out probably don’t.
I’m not saying I have any authority on the matter, I’m just talking from personal experience, from still being lost myself but having learned to be OK with it. I am happily going nowhere. Well, maybe happily going somewhere. I just don’t know where that somewhere is yet.
TTFN, tata for now