Quarter-life crisis: Struggles of a 20-something

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Call me dramatic but I swear I’m going through a quarter-life crisis!!

Yes, I sound crazy considering I’m only 23 but at least I’ve not bought a Ferrari or jetted off to the mountains to ‘find myself’.

It’s no secret that for our communication-obsessed era the 20-something syndrome has become something that almost all of us have experienced.

The pressures of being a 20-something isn’t just from our environment or that annoying aunt that keeps asking why you’re single at every family gathering, but more from ourselves. We’re always told that during this 10 year span we will look our best, feel our best and have the ability to travel and explore. Where we are constantly told to ‘broaden our horizons’ and that ‘the world is our oyster’. Where we should be able to do whatever we want, whenever we want.

But isn’t that the issue?

When you’re 20-something the options are limitless but unfortunately the resources are not.

After work I could slap on some jeans, a cute little top and enjoy a cold Rosé in a pub garden with my other-half. I could jump in my car and travel anywhere on the South coast if I so choose – the beach, the city or even to the New Forest but for me these aren’t just destinations, they’re home.

If I wanted I could save enough money and go travelling abroad for a year, working in bars, backpacking and experiencing different cultures. Take a turn in my career and completely give up on the 5-year-plan, throwing my luck to the higher power.

But when I think of being in my twenties and what it still has to offer me, I feel this immense pressure that I’m not doing enough. If I’m not looking like some size 0 model and eating carrot sticks for dinner – I feel guilty. If I’m not staying out until 4am in the morning to have a dozen tequila shots with my friends – I feel like I’m missing out. When I see peers jetting off around the world without any concrete plan – I’m envious. Worrying about the world around me and concerning myself with what everyone else is doing makes me feel like I’ll never get to where I want to be.

A recent study in the UK found that 86% of some 1,100 20-somethings suffer from anxiety and stress; a fear they aren’t doing enough with their life.

And that’s me!

How do I forgive myself for taking the week off from exercise and hiding away on my sofa eating a whole tub of Ben & Jerrys? How can I celebrate everything I’m doing right rather than focus on all the reasons I’m failing. How can I get through my twenties successfully, ticking off the things I said I’d do?

Having been defined by education up until the age of 22, I find it difficult to find my place in the world. Feeling 45 and stressing about career prospects, debts and how I’m going to afford the life I so badly want. With social expectation and social media constantly reminding me of the things I don’t have and measuring myself against such an unrealistic norm.

I don’t have the answer but I think it’s time we slow down, calm down and most importantly wind down. Stop beating ourselves up because we aren’t going crazy over the latest diet fad or because our close family friend is constantly on holiday and you’re not.

Lets not forget, until the age of 40:

– Samuel L Jackson hadn’t starred in a movie yet

– Julia Child was still working in advertising

– and Vera Wang hadn’t designed a wedding dress until she herself got married.

In the words of a wise individual, do you boo. What I’m trying to say is there is no countdown. Sometimes it takes a little longer but I bet it will be worth the wait.

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