Yikes, it’s been a while guys. Sorry for being such a blogger recluse.
I had a bit of a freak out recently. It was this weird period spanning a few hours where I was convinced I’d wasted my twenties: on being insecure, on working in a callcentre, on never losing the weight I always wanted to lose, on just putting things off (keeping in mind that I’m 28, I’m still in my twenties, even if the end is looming ever closer).
It hasn’t exactly come from nowhere. A lot of my friends have gotten engaged this year, moved in with their boyfriends or moved on to bigger and better things, and cities, and jobs. Me? My life has went through more than a few upheavals and changes in the past few years. Most of them have have been for the best. The new job, the lovely apartment, the new friends and new opportunities. I’ve not been left behind. I’m not floundering. But for a tiny, little while, I felt like I was.
It was a bleak. It was an unexpected. I was having a quiet weekend. Something I’d been looking forward to for absolutely ages. November to February have seen me be absolutely crazy busy: between work, and social obligations, Christmas and birthdays, I haven’t had a lot of time to just sit back and breathe. So I was really excited that I had this little oasis of calm in the middle of it all. I was going to clean, do laundry, catch up on my reading and writing. I love weekends like that, the ones that are all about me and what I want to do, with no obligations or expectations from anyone else.
So, on a Friday evening, when I should have been deciding what film to watch and relishing going to bed early, I was overcome with this awful sense of dread. I started to feel like I was behind in my life. I had spent too long living at home. I had moved back to Belfast too late and all of my friends had moved away, or moved on. I was in my late twenties and sitting in on a Friday night, and I was, all of a sudden, a little bit afraid that I was going to die alone.
Which is ridiculous. I know this. I know that I needed that year and a half post PGCE to recover from a really stressful period and figure out what I wanted to do next. I wouldn’t take back that time. I wouldn’t do it differently, because I made a few great friends and gained some much needed perspective. Ok, maybe I could have started exercising and eating healthier sooner, but I can’t change the past, and hey, I’m doing all of that now (27lb and counting).
And Belfast? Belfast is not the same place it was when I was in University. I’m not a student anymore and as nostalgic as I am for those days, I don’t want that lifestyle anymore. I’m ok with that.
Yes, a few of my closest friends are getting married and that is terrifying. Yes, a part of me feels like I might be left behind in that sense. But I am far too young to consider myself ‘done’. I’m not going to die alone, and I’d rather be alone right now than settle. I mean, yeah, maybe I need to throw myself into dating more (how do people date these days? Is it all online? It feels that way). I have other things to do for the time being. Like be excited for the wonderful things that are happening to me, and the wonderful things that are happening to those closest to me. Maybe our wonderful things aren’t the same kind of wonderful, but I’m genuinely looking forward to going through them together.
I guess what I’m really saying here is that it doesn’t matter that you (and I) don’t have all of our shit together quite yet. It’s ok if you’re in a great relationship but haven’t got your career on track. It’s fine if your career is finally going where you want it to, but you haven’t been on a date in forever. If you’re alone and you don’t know what you want to do with your life, that’s cool too, you’ll get there.
(If you have all of the above: brilliant! Well done! I’m simultaneously a little bit jealous and happy for you).
What we need to do is get past this myth that your twenties are carefree and fun and together (thanks social media and pop culture). Sometimes they’re not. Sometimes you feel a little bit broken and confused and exhausted by them. I’ve never, not once, spoken to someone in their thirties who hasn’t said that their twenties were hard. That they struggled. That they doubted. I don’t have a single friend who has it all yet. My brother turned thirty a month ago and it is literally only in the past year that his life has come together in a way that makes him ridiculously happy. And just to put this in context: on his twenty-ninth birthday he left his phone in a taxi, had just broken up with his boyfriend a few months before hand and threw his car keys at a wall (sorry James, if you’re reading this, but I feel context is important here).
So girls, guys, it’s going to be ok. We got this.