What happens when you grow up?
My friends and I, people, colleagues, strangers, children of the 90s are now in that scary ass time when you are officially an adult. Kids born in 1999 are now 18 people. Official.
We’re in our dare I say almost mid twenties. We’ve been to university, we’ve got the degree and we’re now in our first, some second year of that real-adult-actual-career-job. This job provides an annual salary to the betterment of our leisure, or in this day and age, our savings account. Engagement posts be flowin’, wedding invitations are off the chain and multiple shares of ‘top 20 girls who are most likely to be superwoman…’ Y’get it. Our imaginations should be maintained and realistic, and somewhere between the years of being stuck as a teenager and being forced to have your life together appears a smooth transition to adulthood. I mean let’s face it, when we were kids we all had that vision of seeing our 20 something successful self walking down a city street in a Zara fitted two piece with matching briefcase too.
And I can kind of do that life; living back in London, but I’m more than likely heading to my temp job as an office receptionist for a big corporate company in the city to try and make the rent whilst calling myself a Musical Theatre actress. (That’s a different blog in itself lemme tell ya…)
The point is, it’s not as simple as that, and I don’t think there’s enough coverage out there for support. Now some people have succeeded in pursuing that vision. Great. I 100% respect those who at my age have decided that marriage, kids and a mortgage are to their most value. Or wealth – whatever it may be. That’s their life and it’s wonderful to see them so happy. I have no doubt that one day those things will be important to me too. Yet I feel the need to be writing this for those people who have chosen not to go down that route (yet), and who, like myself are still exploring the possibilities and more importantly, the impossible problem of those possibilities. We’re in a rut as our ingrained perception of what we defined success to be, is changing. A choice that others may struggle to digest. But to those people this is to tell you – it’s okay.
I always have people asking me what’s going on with me; what I’m up to with my life. I tell them the truth.
Fuck knows. My life is scatty I must confess. It’s the bittersweet reality of my performing industry and being an open minded and free spirited ambivert. The whole palpability of my life tends to baffle some people and don’t get me wrong, I too find it very overwhelming at times. But there’s a huge disparity between the life we would like to lead and the opportunities we actually have to lead it. What happens when you get the opportunity that allows you to do the things you didn’t think possible?
The impossible problem of possibilities.
Our twenties are a time when you’re old enough to make decisions and a time of great discovery, freedom and exhilaration if you can remove the expectations of friends and family, society and yourself, to figure everything out on a
non existent certain timeline or according to a specific checklist. It’s taken many slightly offensive comments and sleepless nights for me to chose to embrace each scary uncertainty that comes with my twenties. Don’t try to be perfect and a people pleaser ya’ll. It’s not only exhausting, it’s impossible. Humanitarianism is crucial in this day and age – practice and preach it, but make sure you’re kind to yourself. Your welfare is just as important as the welfare of others.
That’s why the pressure of social media is a recipe for disaster. I understand that all social media platforms can be a legitimate source of communication between people; to keep in touch and to innocently share their successes and sometimes failures (think about what you share to the public domain plzzz)… It focuses on oneself therefore naturally comes with a hint of self-obsession. Yet you have to be aware / beware that it can be torturous. It is comprised of people competing for approval of their glorified selves. Consider the utterly ridiculous phenomenon of people wishing to get recognised by uploading #basicbitch and #likesforlikes. Don’t get me wrong, I am no martyr when it comes to selfies and the odd check in if I’m abroad, but I don’t let it take over my perspective on life.
Remind yourself: the value of life doesn’t just come in forms of money or likes.
I’ve lost patience over scrolling through social media; seeing life lived by others on a screen, rather than living it yourself. I’ve found it is more a process of elimination —absolving yourself — rather than a hunt for the ‘solved’ life. That’s what was so fantastic about living on a boat and travelling the world for six months. You are forced to live presently without the desire to see and compare what other people are up to. ‘FOMO’, (fear of missing out) is nonexistent. Let alone how euphoric it is once you open your mind to different cultures and are captive to the beauty of the planet. (It’s all very cliche for a reason ya’ll). Some experiences can’t be uploaded; isn’t that a wonderful predicament.
So sure, I get anxious as hell about the near future and future beyond that. My prospects and priorities are extremely ambivalent. Something that’s surprisingly new for the usually tenacious me. Fear is always challenging but any challenge is progress. There are lessons that can be learnt in the ‘ah fuck’ moments. The things that don’t go according to plan are often the biggest hidden blessings — sometimes, it just takes time to realise what that goldmine is. That’s what my twenties are and will continue to be about. Living presently. Responding to the things that happen rather than to what hasn’t. It’s out of your control so go with it. It’s all about perspective.
To quote the late David Bowie, “I don’t know where I’m going from here, but I promise it won’t be boring.”