When I was younger, I used to think that people in their twenties were so grown up. It seemed to me that when I hit 22, I’d have life sorted. Not in the way of marriage or kids but rather that I’d be grounded, with a place of my own and at the start of a fabulous career, enjoying all that ‘adult’ life (whatever that is) had to offer.
Well, I feel somewhat disillusioned and I have a sneaky feeling that I’m not alone.
It all started so well. I left University with a great degree and landed the ‘dream’ job in London. On paper, it was perfect. In reality, I’d become a kind of miserable hermit. Tearing my hair out over a computer screen by day, too tired to do anything by night. My parents began to tread carefully around me and I dumped all my negativity onto my poor (and very patient) boyfriend. I’m sure my friends dreaded meeting up with me because I just whined and whinged. I was pale, spotty, unmotivated and a misery to be around but worst of all I was completely unaware of the effect I was having on those around me.
I didn’t hate my job, in fact there were parts of it that I really loved and I got to work with a bunch of super talented people. Yet in my heart I knew something wasn’t right.
Growing up I was always adamant that I wouldn’t be one of those zombie commuters who stared at a computer screen all day. Yet here I was. My colleagues seemed to manage though, was I just being dramatic and ungrateful?
I Quit My Job
Nevertheless, I went with my gut instinct and quit. In my head this was a really stupid decision because I had a great job and no solid plan lined up once I left. However, the support of the people around me, from colleagues to family, was incredibly reassuring. I was shocked at the number of people who were in a similar position but couldn’t quite muster up the motivation to change their situation. I was lucky though, because I still lived at home and didn’t have any big financial commitments.
So, I’d left my job. Now what? For starters, I feel myself again. I have returned to my extras and walk-on work for television to see me through and I started this blog to keep my creative mind and writing skills ticking over. Yet despite keeping myself busy, earning money and devising plans for the future, I still feel like I’m drifting. What I have realised though, is that I am certainly not alone. So many people I know in their twenties and sometimes their thirties are also ‘drifting’.
By ‘drifting’ I don’t mean unemployed or lazing around. I just mean lacking direction. Yet what I have also come to realise recently is that it’s OK to drift. As far as I’m concerned, there’s no point jumping back into something that you know you’re probably going to hate. As long as you’re doing something then you’re covered.
This general uncertainty amongst our generation is most definitely a product of the time. There are so many options – too many options – that it’s difficult to know where to begin. The Internet has opened endless possibilities but in many ways it’s also stifled things. The Internet has let us see so much more of the world, but now we’ll never be satisfied staying in that same office job for the rest of our lives. Furthermore, computers have removed the human touch. Where once people would meet up and have a coffee or lunch, now we send an email. This is a whole other subject which I won’t delve into here but I think this impersonal dimension certainly exasperated my situation at work.
As far as where I’m heading next, I’m starting a new venture this week that I’m really excited about. This time it’s local (goodbye zombie commuter) and not solely office based (goodbye miserable hermit). All in all I’m more than happy just drifting right now – it’s a productive, educational and exciting kind of drift that I’m sure will lead somewhere solid in time.
In the meantime, the best possible summary of this brain dump is beautifully paraphrased by the ever-succint and philosophical genius, Taylor Swift:
“We’re happy, free, confused and lonely at the same time, it’s miserable and magical, oh yeeeeeah… I don’t know about you but I’m feeling 22!”
Ah, those years I spent at University learning how to quote academic scholars has clearly served me well…
I would LOVE to hear from anyone who is experiencing a similar kind of twenty-something drifting.
Finally, massive love to the blogging community who have completely overwhelmed me with love and support. It’s what has made me fall in love with blogging!