What am I doing with my life?! (Thoughts on my 25th birthday)

In a lot of ways, I am extremely proud of my generation. 

We are braver, louder and more creative than the one before us; we teach them important principles and aren't afraid to shout about our political views, in the hope that someday they will come round to our way of thinking. We also grew up with bookish wonders such as His Dark Materials, Doctor Who and Harry Potter, and I truly believe that if we hadn’t, printed books may not be thriving as they are today. We helped bring the spectrum of sexuality out from the darkened basement and into the public eye, and the term ‘sex-positive’ became a common expression (although annoyingly, its meaning can often get twisted). And despite growing up with our parents and teachers warning us of the many dangers online (and this was before ‘Catfish’ came out) we still went out into cyberspace and found not just an army of like-minded, supportive friends and a plethora of fandoms, but also... ourselves. Oh, and we also made the internet a job! These days, the biggest companies hire social media managers and digital execs, bloggers and vloggers are seen as valuable for sponsored content purposes, and indie businesses are thriving thanks to their tweets and Instagram profiles. This is because we have helped the online world grow and become a brilliant space for ambitious creatives, driven business people and everyone in between. 

(Photo: Erin Veness)

All these brilliant things came about in direct opposition to the ancient, stale values we were still having pushed on us from a young age. To this day I still have my Church of England primary school values burned into my subconscious; a tiny part of me shrieks from the back of my brain that I need to get married, buy a house and have babies if I want to really achieve the ultimate goals in a woman’s life. It’s not a biological clock – it’s a small-minded, small-town-born gremlin.

Yes, way back when I wore those charming, checked pinafores and had my hair scraped into bunchies, I was taught that the optimum age for ‘settling down’ (a negative expression in itself, no!?) was……. 25. There actually was a time when I had it in my head that by 25 I’d have a house, a husband (or at least a fiancée) and be planning a family – while at the same time climbing up a career ladder at lightning speed, throwing cute dinner parties with my very best friends (all of whom were in my Year 6 class) and wearing the very best and trendiest outfits, every day. 

(Photo: Erin Veness)

Well now, here I am. Almost 9,125 days old. Living at home with the family, perfectly single, a degree in the bank, currently not working a permanent contract as I am awaiting even more surgery, having already experienced some of the worst health scares imaginable, with a couple of impressive scars to show for it. I visit friends now living in European cities, and some closer to home who are all in different stages of their lives; some are recently married, some moving into first houses, some expecting bubs, some living with friends or alone and working out what they want. I also only buy clothes in sales, and ignore every major fashion trend for fear of buying into them, only to do so too late or get it completely wrong.

And let me tell you, I have never been happier. 

(Photo: Erin Veness)

Okay, that was a bit of an OTT statement – I am definitely happy, yes. I’m lucky. I’m on my path. But I often worry – am I doing life right?!  

I don’t go ‘out-out’ much… in fact, I can count on one hand (okay, maybe three fingers) the amount of times I’ve been out-out, drinking with friends and getting a taxi home in the small hours, in the past 6 months. I’m not travelling the world with a long-term partner, or taking up interesting internships abroad; I don’t have any plans to jump on the property ladder in the next decade, and I don’t have a Pinterest board packed with adorable DIY wedding ideas. My savings account has been well and truly scuppered in the last few years, while my current account is screaming in pain all day, every day.  

(Photo: Erin Veness)

Every friend I’ve spoken to about this has joined me in my feelings of worry and confusion @ life; in some cases even the ones who seem to really have their sh*t together and #goals mapped out. Because the truth is, none of us really know what we’re doing. And even if we do, there’s always a chance of curve balls and spanners being thrown at us every which way and destroying our carefully constructed plans within seconds. We’re blagging it. And that’s alright. Let’s keep on.  

I’m actually quite excited about where I’ll be this time next year, when I am two days away from 26... no, actually I’m more excited about the fact that I have no clue where I’ll be, this time next year. Stay tuned. Happy August 1st, everyone. 


posts you've really liked.