Three gin and tonics in and whilst setting the world to rights with my high school best friend, a big decision was made. We’re going to leave behind our mundane and meaningless lives, move to another country and start from scratch. It’s time to break free from the suffocating life that I have created for myself and start living.
It’s time to live for the moment and for each day rather than for some thinly veiled semblance of happiness often dictated by payday, reminiscing on happier times and fantasizing about a happier future.
I am rejecting the narrative that I have always bought into. I’m rejecting the idea that at twenty five I should be saving left, right and centre for a mortgage or a wedding or a rainy day. I’m rejecting the idea that I should be looking to settle down, to marry or to have babies in an attempt to achieve domestic bliss. I’m rejecting the idea that I should have my shit together. So what that I don’t? I’m not sure that any of my friends actually do. We’re all struggling on our own personal treadmills; we’re pursuing careers we don’t like or a domestic life we’re not sure that we want. Few of us are pursuing our dreams. None of us are where we thought we’d be…and it hurts.
We’re wondering if we should stay in our relationships and if we’ve truly found “the one” because, heck, we aren’t getting any younger and the selection of eligible singletons isn’t getting any larger. We’re wondering if our 9 to 5 jobs are the dream careers that we always thought we wanted. We’re wondering if we’re living in the right city and mixing with the right people. These are crucial years, no doubt about it. Every decision shapes our future. We are told that we don’t have the years to squander any more. We simply don’t have the time to settle in toxic relationships or to dabble in a plethora of careers. So we stick. We force ourselves to be happy with our humdrum existences, with our mediocre relationships and with our modestly paid jobs. He will propose, we will start to earn the big bucks, I will go on that vacation of a lifetime. We’re living for the future- a future that may not come. The one thing that we are telling ourselves we shouldn’t be doing is exactly what we are doing. We are squandering our days away as we cash in years of our lives for future happiness. I’m twenty five years old and as of today, I say no.
It’s not about a search for the sunshine. I’m looking to find myself. I won’t let myself trade in one boring life for another away from home. I’m not going to let myself procrastinate, say yes when really I mean no or let my affection for others override my affection for myself. I won’t be the understudy of my own life. It’s time to be assertive. Nobody gains from being indecisive and wishy-washy. Nobody gains when you try to please everyone but yourself. How have I reached this point in my life where my happiness is on the back burner? I barely recognise myself- void of passion, limited aspirations, bored of living.
I don’t care that I’m following in the footsteps of a thousand people before me who’ve taken a year out of their lives to learn, refresh and reflect. I know it’s trite and cliched. I’m not that Instagram-loving, Pinterest board-making graduate looking for a piss up at a half moon party, intent on getting a tattoo in Thailand and looking to develop a love of Yoga. I just want to take ownership of my life. I want to be proud of my twenties and the decisions I’ve made because even if I’m poorer than my contemporaries in a few years, even if I’ve paused my career or even if I marry later than everyone else- who cares? Does anybody ever lie on their deathbed and regret taking a risk, making invaluable memories and experiencing things beyond their ordinary lives? Like anyone else who travels, I’m looking to find myself. I’m twenty five and I’m lost. I might as well be truly lost in a beautiful unfamiliar place whilst embarking on an equally beautiful journey- so let’s embrace every cliche going and actually start to live; Carpe Diem!