I’m surprised most about the uncertainty- I really thought at age 21, I’d have all my ducks in a row and probably would have ticked a few major things off my bucket list. No such luck. I know I’m not alone in this but it’s still hard to not be disheartened by my lack of achievements by now. I remember being a wide-eyed child, with countless hopes and dreams and aspirations for my older self. Would my younger self be proud of me now?
Growing up watching TV and films, I couldn’t wait to be a teenager. I’d drive around town in my it-needs-a-little-work car, go shopping with my friends, drink milkshakes and stay out late watching movies (it appears I watched a lot of 80’s films). The reality couldn’t have been further from that though. Instead of ‘hanging out’ all the time, I’d spend most of my teenage years alone in my bedroom, playing angsty music and trying to talk to people online – the few people who weren’t bullying me at school. I didn’t pick up any friends in my car, in fact I didn’t actually pass my driving test until I was 19. And there I was thinking I’d be zooming around town at 17 (not that I’d have anyone to drive around with then, either). I thought I’d be carefree, instead I was scared of every move I made. All hope of a fun, happy teenager with buckets of potential was quickly washed away as I picked up the first symptoms of anxiety and depression. I had no idea what it was at the time.
Life is a lot harder than I thought it would be. You need experience to get a job, but you need a job to gain experience. You have no idea what you want to do with your life until it’s ‘too late’ and you haven’t got the ‘essential’ degree to get a job in your chosen field. You need to juggle a social life, saving money, life experiences, work, housekeeping, hobbies, wellbeing, and just about everything else. If you don’t have a high-flying career; you’ve failed. If you haven’t found ‘the one’ then you never will. If you still live with your parents because you can’t afford it on your own; you’re everything that’s wrong with this generation. Nobody taught us all this at school.
But for all of the hardships and setbacks, life can be incredibly rewarding, and it is absolutely what you make of it. If you want to travel – make a plan and get saving! If you want that job – work your ass off to get it! The only thing holding you back from achieving your goals is you.
My adult years are not what I expected them to be, it’s been a turbulent ride and not all of it was rosy. But I wouldn’t be the person I am today if it weren’t for my journey. I’ve crossed a fair few things off my bucket list, and although I still have a way to go, I intend to cross every last one off.