It was my birthday on Thursday and I turned 26. It’s an age where, when I was a teenager, I was sure I’d know what the hell I was doing with my life. You know, I’d be working a top notch job, be saving towards a house, be travelling regularly, and all the “proper adult stuff” that you know, we all should be doing by your mid to late 20’s. I’d be ticking off dreams left, right and centre, all whilst keeping fit and healthy and having an amazing social life, of course. But the reality is I’m sat here in my pyjamas in my tiny one bed flat with not too much to show for the last 26 years.
The reality is I have no idea what the hell I’m doing.
I didn’t really know how to feel about turning 26. I think tipping over the edge of no longer being in my “early” twenties was a bit of a ‘pit of your stomach’ kind of feeling that I hadn’t really felt before when acknowledging another year passing. I know I’m not “old”, (I’m still within the first couple of age range brackets you have to select when filling in a serious form ha!) but no matter how many people tell you “oh you’re still young”, “just wait until you’re my age” or “you’ve still got plenty of time” it doesn’t stop that ‘pit of your stomach’ feeling coming on strong.
I think this is particularly prevalent for women. As a woman it can be really hard not to question every decision you make within your life anyway, let alone as you start getting older. Every little thing that you decide to do or not do gets judged, dissected, and scrutinised without your permission. I’m sure that men experience this too, but for a woman it can be much more prominent within your day to day life. Unwanted judgement is just the reality of being a female. The comments, the “oh so when are you getting married” or the “oh so no children for you yet?”, I feel these more than ever at the moment and it can be a difficult feeling to argue with.
With each year that passes it just feels like there is this exterior pressure, this man tapping the face of his watch whilst glaring at you and shaking his head in disapproval.
But sometimes we don’t have the luxury of choice. The way that society is currently constructed there are so many of us that are trapped. Trapped in system that doesn’t really allow a huge amount of space for growth. With hideously high rents, living costs through the roof and wages not really allowing for savings, there is no way I can even think of saving for a mortgage or a wedding let alone even acknowledge the idea of children.
The society that is judging me is also the society that is making it impossible for me to progress and grow.
This is why I think it is so hard for anyone to plan anything that’s too far into the future. We are set up to fall at the first hurdle if you don’t have the financial backing to catch you when you tumble.
I realise there are much bigger issues in the world, it’s just sometimes the world can feel so unfair. People around me are constantly moving up in the world but I just don’t have the luxury of being able to drop everything and do that MA I’ve always wanted to do, move to that city, or go on that trip when I am constantly having to worry about just keeping my head above the water.
There’s a part of me that always thought I’d be so much further ahead in my life by this stage.
Living in a city like Oxford probably doesn’t help either and can definitely add to the stress. The divide between poverty and wealth here is incredibly real and horrifically noticeable, as you can probably imagine. As much as the city is incredibly beautiful it can also be really ugly at times. It can all feel a little pointless, with the energy you’re putting into something really not equating to very much.
Some people seemingly getting a free pass into jobs that others could work years towards and not even get a look in. If you have the name and the connections, you’re in.
Now I don’t want this entire blog post to just read as me moaning the whole way through (I know it kind of does though ha!), but sometimes it really does just all get on top of you. The never ending pressure, from society, from other people, and from yourself, that little voice constantly putting you down is sometimes far too loud to tune out of especially when there’s no room for you to move away from it.
I don’t really know what I wanted to achieve in this blog, but I really just needed to vent my frustrations.
Life can be so incredibly tiring and I want people to know that it’s not all nicely edited photos on Instagram or pretty outfits I’ve put together.
This is real life, this is the reality of being a “millennial” in a country built by “baby boomers”. The reality of living in a country that was made for people with money and connections.
Sorry for the ramble but thanks for reading if you did.