Ok, so, living up to my blog title today with a headline message of…DON’T PANIC.
I feel like I need to say first and foremost, this isn’t to bash couples who love each other a whole bunch, feel the timing is right for them and want to get married young. I think there’s a different mindset and age for everyone, if the time’s right for you the time’s right. For me, the idea of getting engaged at 22 (the age I am right now) seems like a crazy prospect. No no. I still don’t properly understand how taxes work. For my entire first year at uni I thought cereal and a packet of crisps was an acceptable lunch. I take napping to the extreme. I’m talking serious nesting-on-the-bed-do-not-disturb kind of napping. So no, it’s safe to day, it’s not for me.
At university, I live in a house full of medics. Apart from the abundances of prolapse banter, they’re a pretty great bunch. Now as a group, they’re lovely people, but I can be prone to panic when I periodically realize they have jobs lined up right after graduation and a life path pretty much planned out already. I’m not bashing that, I think it’s pretty brave to commit to something at 18 and learn to perfect your skills and diversify. Some of my other friends are engaged, moving in with boyfriends/girlfriends and moving to godknowswhere to start their brand spankin’ new lives. SCARY STUFF. Breathe through the heart palpitations, swallow that scary scary bile of fear and put things in perspective.
I’ve heard a lot about how our generation has inserted a new stage of life into the mix that hadn’t existed before…the scared and confused 20 something who doesn’t have it all figured out. Maybe this isn’t because we fancied dossing around for a while, maybe the older generations among us (who screwed it up for us, more on that later) should consider it’s become a necessity! Take the time to decide what you want to do, get some life experience, travel, don’t be afraid to stay in a sucky relationship because everyone else seems to have it sorted. Sometimes my family seems to forget that having a degree now is just the beginning. Then there’s the vocational experience, the extra-curricular stuff, the sainthood, the nobel prize…and after all that, you’ll be lucky to start with a paid internship. I have to start at the bottom of the ladder in the industry I’ve chosen, and that’s fine with me! I can take the time to work my way up, even in the face of friends who work in more straightforward industries or have amazing coveted graduate schemes. I know they exist, I’ve heard of them in stories.
Trying a range of jobs and work experience placements is a very good idea, how else do you decide if something might be for you. Not easily is the answer.
SO, don’t stress about getting engaged by the time you’re 27, buying a flat etc… It’s at times like this Dylan Moran’s dulcet tones pop into my head; “Find someone, put them in the flat. Make them stay. Go to work. Scream internally. Gardening gardening gardening death.”
There are other steps along the way to all this good stuff, and they’ll happen in their own good time, (providing you put the work in). You don’t have to rush this stuff. In the meantime, here are a few things you can be doing while everyone else is picking baby names:
Travel and take trips.
Relish the opportunity now, while you have the time, the money (Hahaha..not really but…kind of). Go to a festival if you’ve never been. Fancy interrailing with some mates? Go for it. A weekend getaway on a groupon deal – take it, the world is your expensive but high producing oyster.
Live somewhere new, on your own.
Get to know yourself first before you start worrying about anyone else. Living on your won is something everyone should be forced, kicking and screaming if need be, to do before they ‘settle down’. Explore a new place alone, go out and meet new friends by yourself, these are all invaluable experiences.
Perfect a new skill/hobby.
Find something you love doing, practice it, perfect it, become a boss at it. Love baking? Go on a course, enjoy being immersed in it for a while and become a kickass baker! You’ll thank yourself when your friends are all 20 pounds heavier but very happy to have you around. Like gardening? Get stuck in green fingers!
Just for a while, you’re allowed, these are your selfish years. Not in a stealing all your housemates food and hoarding it in your room kind of way, just in a looking out for your own interests kind of way.