Turning 23 this year has led me to think about where I am in my life. When I got to 22 I kinda thought, oh wow, I'm not 21 (duh) but seriously, at 21 you feel like you've just spread your wings, you are officially an adult, but also young enough to get away with acting childish. Year 22 speeds round the corner and you're like oooooh that's a bit different, but before you know it 23 is looming and I'm starting to feel nearer to 30 than anything else. But the question is, at what age is it that you seriously start thinking of yourself as a 'woman' without cringing at the thought of that label?
So here are my facts, I don't own a house, I don't have a fancy 9-5 office job, I don't have any income security, I rarely go to sleep before midnight, routine is a far away concept for me and the words 'mortgage', 'marriage', 'children' and 'interest rates' don't really exist in my current vocabulary. If anything, even thinking about these types of life-long investments and plans, my 'dream' job or where I want to 'settle', kinda hurts my brain a little. So, at what age do you wake up and think "right, I've definitely got my sh*t together here"?!
I see lots of people my age on social media sharing their lovely new home or newborn child, and I'm like great, seriously amazingggg... If they are happy, I am happy for them. Because, to be honest, there is no age, nobody wakes up one day and thinks yeeeeesss, I've totally got all my sh*t together, just no, they just don't. In my opinion, there isn't the right age, everyone is different and nobody's life is perfect.
(I'm sorry I honestly can't for the life of me make this text black - someone help me pleaseeeee)
Everyone is different and every story leads a different path.
The most important lesson to learn here is to support one another on their individual journeys, whether the 28 year old is backpacking around Malaysia and the 20 year old is due her second baby. Support one another and stop worrying about having your sh*t together because nobody really has. I have two degrees at 22 years of age, yet I work two jobs for minimum wage. I'm saving to travel the world, I don't want to tie myself down to contracted job, and why should this been seen as irresponsible? I have my degrees, those pieces of paper ain't going anywhere.
You see, the thing is, I DO have my sh*t together. It wouldn't appear so as it doesn't quite look as traditional as it should. Most people think that by now they should be applying for a mortgage, half way through that graduate scheme thats going to secure them that dream job in a corporate company so they can, own their property, buy a new car, squeeze out a couple of kids, climb the ladder of promotion, working the rut to earn more money to buy more things, to enjoy that one holiday a year that, with kids and email backlogs and flight delays, inevitably becomes more stressful than just staying at home. This is what normal looks like.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not intending that there is anything wrong with that kind of lifestyle, by all means, go for it, smash it out the water! I'm just saying, there is no need to worry if you haven't stepped onto that pathway yet, hell, you're not even in sight of that path.
It really doesn't mean that you're not in control of your life or you aren't living up to potential. I see my early twenties as a time of growth. Looking back to when I first started university, I can see how much I have grown. four years, two countries, two degrees, three universities, four homes and countless friendships has taught me who I am as a person, my strengths, my weaknesses, the kind of people I want in my life and the kind of person I would like to be.
I've bought my own car (maybe not my dream one but it gets me from A to B), I've travelled to many countries and I've got good qualifications. It feels pretty good to have my own independence and to know that I worked hard for four years and have got something great to show for it, knowing that I earned everything I got.
Enjoy your time, whatever you decide to do with it, spend it wisely. Our twenties are a period of our lives for us to really enjoy, yes we are 'adults', we are old enough to carve our own path, and young enough not to care what anyone thinks of that. Let your path be abstract and wonky, or colourful and zig zag, or even straight and narrow. You do you.
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Thanks for reading, lots of love, Elle xxx