To most, I am a 23-year young woman, with a good job, a solid relationship, a car and a 10-year life plan. To most, I look like I have my life figured out. But, honestly, that couldn’t be further from the truth. Yes, I might have the basics in place and I might look like I know what I am doing compared to my friends the same age that still don’t know what career path they want to go down, but the only reason these things are in place is because of the huge pressure that I put on myself to have ‘it’ all figured out.
I admitted to one of my close friends the other day that I really don’t have it all figured out and she seemed a little surprised. Especially considering that I am the one that she always comes to for life advice. Don’t get me wrong, I genuinely have a 10-year life plan, I have both my future wedding and funeral planned to a tee which is a little weird, I know, but it doesn’t stop me from wondering if I am doing it all wrong ALL the time.
These are the first few years I have spent out of full-time education and it is hard to find your feet. I hated education but I miss skipping lectures because I was too hungover or just simply couldn’t be bothered, I miss going out till 3am on a Wednesday night and I miss eating dominos for breakfast because I was too lazy to go to the shop. No one really prepared me for the slog of the 9 to 5 (or 5:30 in my case).
When I was at uni I battled internships with working part-time, studying as well as socialising and paying bills but I always knew it wasn’t definite. I’ve worked from the age of about 14, sometimes for 12 hours straight for 6 days in a row, but again, I knew it wasn’t forever, just till the summer passed. Now I am working, I have far more spare time on my hands and a better quality of life but I just can’t shake the dull and numbing feeling that this is now my life forever. 9-5. 5 days a week until I retire, or die – whichever comes first.
Nothing on earth scares me more than that. The thought of looking back on life and thinking holy shit, where did the time go? And, what the flying fuck did I do with it? Anyone that knows me knows that I like to have a good time, but striking that balance between working building a future and having fun is hard. I put so much pressure on myself to save for a mortgage and have nice things that I quite often forget that I am 23 years old and I should be spunking all my money on clothes and alcohol.
To top it all off, I feel like the minute you have everything figured out in your 20s, once you’ve found a career you love, or just found your place in the world, that’s when you hit a new stage of your life. One where you get married or have kids and then you’re back to square one again. Lost in a new world where everything you once knew goes out of the window and you’re living in limbo again.
Maybe you never really have it figured out at all. Perhaps, we spend our whole lives trying to find meaning and to be happy but it’s in the moments when we aren’t actually looking that we find it. For the foreseeable future, I will be battling with myself over if I am doing the right thing if I am in the right career, with the right guy and if putting a mortgage over holidays is better in the long run. That’s who I am as a person and I am probably never going to change.
However, I am going to focus on taking the pressure off of me. And try to understand that no matter how hard I work, or how much I want to get out of life, if I don’t find happiness in the small things then none of it will be worth it. As much as I like to pretend I do, I don’t have my life figured out and I am just bumbling along as much as the next 23 year old – and that is ok!