I always thought by age 21, I would have a car, flat, boyfriend and a few million pounds in the bank. Delusional much? Fast forward age 24, soon to be 25 and…
It is a reality for a lucky few, but not for me. Putting an age against what you should have achieved in life is quite worrying – sometimes things do not work out the way you want them too. I understand those who are process driven and like things done a certain way, by a certain time and great for you if it works out, but for me that hasn’t happened.
Marriage, mortgages, maternity leave – frankly all these things scare me. I am guilty of asking my friends in long-term relationships the same question “So when are you getting married?”. To be honest, people used to ask me that when I was in a relationship and it really grated me. I don’t know why I still ask others that question, maybe it is just something you say like “How are you?”. Do you honestly answer?
Anyway, back to marriage – what is it exactly? A piece of paper, two rings, and a huge party. Oh, and spending the rest of your life with your ‘soulmate’. I have heard stories of couples marrying after six months, a year, 5 years and so on. How long does it take to get to know someone? Do you ever really know them completely? Who I am I to judge if you’re ready to make the ultimate commitment to someone, good for you. Just make sure you save me some cake.
But in all honesty, the idea of marriage scares me, so does saving for property or having kids. I believe that this formula cast upon us by Western society is damaging. Is there more to life than these three things? ABSOLUTELY.
I read something on Twitter a few months ago and I resonated with it completely:
Woman at the bar: ” I don’t feel the need to be married. I don’t want to wake up to someone every day. I want to travel and be free”
— Necole ❤️❤️ (@iamnecole) March 3, 2015
Perhaps this is why I have the travel bug, but waking up in a few years and being able to have the freedom to escape excites me. But on the other hand, I could meet someone and I might have an undiscovered desire for the dreaded three Ms. That is the beauty of life, no matter how much you try to plan or prepare, it will never work out the way you want it to. I do have my five-year plan in place, but it’s more of an outline of things I want to achieve rather than ‘Oh I need to do this before I turn 30’. Sometimes there is beauty in just being, not having to justify your actions to anyone and just doing things the way you want.
As long as you have ambitions to better yourself, in career, health, or learning a new skill, I believe this is a way to climb out of the quarter life crisis hole. Or even making a to-do list of errands you really need to get done. Book that dentist appointment, get your cracked iPhone screen fixed (Totally guilty of this) or simply take a day off to go and redeem your Groupon spa voucher. Do YOU.
Even if it means taking the time out to reflect on your career and questioning if you really want to continue it for the rest of your life. I believe it is rare for people to say that something (or someone) is not good for them and changing it rather than wallowing in self-pity and letting things continue how they are. If you want to try a different industry, go back to education, start freelancing or take a break and go travelling. Take the risk. It will be worth it.
I would rather look back on my 20s knowing I made good choices for my future than being stuck doing something I hated to please everyone but myself. Life is way too short. Make your mark on the planet, enjoy yourself and live a life for you. Fall in love with yourself along the way…
I have realised that I am content with that, 2015 for me so far has been bittersweet, raw and interesting, but I have invested myself in self-improvement. A good friend of mine encouraged me to ‘break the habit’, ultimately making small changes that have a big impact. This has actually had a big impact on me in terms of routinely going to the gym on a Sunday (an absolute outrage), but it is for my health at the end of the day. If my personal trainer is reading this, I am sorry, I just ate some biscuits…
Having time for yourself is so important, a chance to discover who you are, what you like and what you don’t is valuable. But not having enough time for yourself can be quite damaging too, I always think it is wise to take at least 30 minutes of your day and be alone. Be it having a glass of wine, writing in your diary or just taking the time to get ready for bed, your time is valuable.
I think it is natural to compare yourself to your peers, in terms of where they are in life. Be it a career, relationship, wealth, health or where they are in their Friday night selfie on Instagram. What is right for them may not be right for you. Judging someone else by your standards isn’t going to make you any happier. Comparison is truly the enemy of joy.
Once you stop comparing yourself to others and concentrate on you, life becomes much more exciting.
This post was inspired by meeting up with a few old school-friends for dinner and discussing all of the above and the barrage of Buzzfeed posts dedicated to the quarter life crisis. I am glad I am not on my own in experiencing the QLC, but I am trying to do things to get out of it. This is a great post that summarises it. There are even 25 movies to help you through…
I’ve even included some screen-grabbed quotes from good old Instagram below that I thought went well with this post…
I am turning the big old 25 in a couple of months and yes I am not where I want to be, but I am working on it. So if I want to spend the day in bed watching Netflix, or drinking the bar dry, it is my decision as an adult to be able to do what I want.
Please note – Images in this post have been sourced from Instagram and are only used for reference purposes. They do not belong to me.