As a single, 23 year old woman who has a few decent GCSE’s and A Levels under her belt, 11 months of travelling around the world and 5 years of working in different industries either side of that, I think it’s safe to say I have no real plan or structure in place in terms of where I’m headed in life or what order I’m doing stuff in. This past week, this fact has freaked me out. Like, alot. And I just wanted to get it out there that it’s actually okay to not know where you’ll be in 5 years time and to not have a clue about what you want in terms of career, home or relationships. Everyone is running to a different clock, where you are is irrelevant to others and you shouldn’t stress yourself out if you’re in a different place to your friends.
I can’t quite believe it’s been 5 WHOLE YEARS since I left my school days behind and I’ve been working ever since. University wasn’t on the cards for me, I admit I got fed up with being constantly hounded by my school to apply through UCAS and think about uni when there seemed to be no other options. Instead, I got into an apprenticeship with a local company as a fresh-faced 18 year old and haven’t looked back. Whilst most of my mates were continuing with their studying (and who am I kidding – partying) I was working Monday-Friday, 9-5, with people of all ages, building up my experience and skills. It was a hard adjustment but had I not joined when I did, I wouldn’t have met my amazing girls Sal and Liss, and then gone on to meet Laura. I definitely believe everything happens for a reason and these girls were meant to come into my life at that point. Since then, I’ve worked in so many areas – customer experience, marketing, incentive programmes – stuff that has made my CV strong and myself proud. Everyone is different, some of my friends got degrees and some of my mates are now on great graduate schemes in London. I have other friends who have worked their way up in companies since leaving school and some who have even started their own businesses. I struggle to not compare myself to others but at the end of the day, it’s how I feel that matters. It’s so easy in today’s society to not feel like you’re succeeding because you’re not on 30k and driving a nice car. But seriously, do you enjoy your job instead of dreading getting up every day? I know which I’d rather. Everyone is different, and that’s perfectly okay. Just do you and concentrate on what you want out of a job.
Another unrealistic expectation from society and older generations before us. Owning a home before you turn 25 is NOT REALISTIC in the 2010’s. I’m not sure I know anyone who is lucky enough to own their own home without either inheriting enough for a deposit, or shacking up and buying somewhere with their other half who’ve they have been with since their late teens/early twenties. Big up still living with the parents. I’m actually thankful for this because it meant I was able to save and go travelling for a year. I’m now back with them (I admit it’s harder to come back to this after having the independence of travelling) but if you get on with your parents, then what’s the problem? Renting shouldn’t be frowned upon either. It makes you appreciate money and teaches you to budget. Not to mention allowing you to test the waters with your OH and give you a taster of what it would be like to buy with them. I hope to rent with friends in the future, mainly because I kind of want the lifestyle of Rachel, Monica and Phoebe. For those that do own a house, hats off and congratulations to you. I’d love to be in that position, but am not panicking because I’m not. You have years to buy a house, years to rent, years to decide. Buying a house is a big deal, and they say one of the most stressful things you can do. I’ll enter into all that wisely and in my own time.
I get the age old question from my Grandad “Any young lad on the scene for you then?!” every time I see him and every time I say no, he continues to tell me to “Hurry up and get settled before it’s too late!” Thanks G-dad. I completely understand it’s a generation thing though. Him and my Grandma were married at 21 and had my dad at 23. The thought of me having a baby right now is quite frankly, unthinkable. I just love alcohol, sleep and my social life too much. But being 23 and single sometimes makes me think ‘what is wrong with me?!’. I’ve not actually had a proper relationship since my 5 and a half year one ended when I was 20, and even then, that was basically when I was still a teenager. But SO WHAT? Yeah the affection and knowing someone is there for you is pretty lovely, but the emotional support, the fun, the laughter, I can get from my friends all the same. And being single is fun. I’m free to do as I please and have nobody to answer to. If you’re not all loved up just yet, enjoy it! Don’t just settle for any one. You deserve to be with someone who appreciates everything about you. It’s definitely something that shouldn’t be rushed.
Ultimately, what’s important to you?
As I said earlier, everyone is on a different clock and working to different goals. Don’t go comparing yourself to others and where they’re at in their life. If job satisfaction is your driver, or if you want to aim to save a certain amount, then great! If you want to travel to as many countries as you can before you’re 30, then go for it! If you want to start a family, don’t let what others are doing stop you. Concentrate on what makes you happy and do more of that. For me, I’m happy in my job, I’ve got 5 trips planned to keep my travel bug satisfied this year and continue to try and stay positive and happy from the little things. Don’t sweat it, you’re doing your thing and should go out and own it.
With love and just enjoying the journey,