Last weekend I went to a medieval banquet with an old university friend. We dressed up in medieval clothes, drank red wine from a pint glass and danced in a circle with complete strangers. Then we moved on to ‘Satan’s Den’ where we downed Sambuca shots (foul) and took selfies on a double bed that we found hidden in a corner near the bar. It felt like the carefree days of uni. I think we both embraced the night because it was a break from life. Having fun was enough, I didn’t have to think about the future. I could just live in the moment. It was a nice break because over the past six months I have been consumed by depression and anxiety.
They say the ‘quarter life crisis’ is a time of uncertainty, stress and fear about the future. I have experienced it all. I’m not were I thought I would be in my career, I still live at home, I can’t seem to make my wages last the month and my jeans are still tight. Every week I start a new diet, attempt to save money and try and figure out my career path. By the end of the month I am eating everything, avoiding my bank account and having ‘that life’ conversation with another disillusioned 20 something while we try to avoid getting drunk- impossible. Older friends and family tell me that I am worrying unnecessarily ‘Your 24 years old’ ‘ You have your whole life ahead of you’. The problem is I have no idea what that looks like.
I have spent the last few years trying to ‘become someone’. I thought that meant chasing the next job, finding a serious relationship and losing weight. Neither is happening in the way I would like and this has caused me to become depressed. It’s been hard but I have decided to let go of my expectations. I always told myself that I couldn’t be happy until I achieved the next goal. What if this is it? I may never achieve ‘success’ I might not be married by 30 and my jeans are likely to remain tight unless I buy a bigger pair. I’m not an expert, I live the struggle daily but the following are things that I have been thinking about.
Un-become everything that isn’t you
As a society we are obsessed with ‘becoming’ something. We spend our lives trying to fix ourselves. Generation Y have taken this to another level. Why spend so much time trying to change ourselves all in the hope that it will bring happiness. You will never be happy until you accept yourself for who you really are. I am slowly learning this. I have always been obsessed with wearing heels, they made me feel beautiful. I conveniently ignored the fact that I struggled to walk in them and I would have sore feet for at least a day after my night out. I hardly wear heels now, my comfort is much more important. What are trying to become? If it doesn’t feel right then it’s not you.
Work is a living not a life
I have a love/hate relationship with my job. One minute I feel like I am making a difference and the next I feel like another cog in the machine. The promotion I dream about seems more distant, I get disheartened and I feel like I am wasting my life. This has been a major cause of my unhappiness. I am starting to realize that jobs shouldn’t define you. It doesn’t matter how many mistakes I make or how difficult my colleagues are. I come in each day and do my best to change people’s lives. I have a job that aligns with my values and that is a blessing. You may be in a job that you hate or not progressing fast enough. You could look for a new job and that might make you happy for a while. However, happiness is never guaranteed. The most important thing is to try and find value in your work. Your job gives you the money needed to build a life- never forget that.
You can’t find love on a schedule
The number one topic of conversation is always relationships and my lack of one. I have been single for over a year and it’s not fun any more. I watch people getting married and having babies and wonder, is that ever going to happen to me? I hope so but the truth is I can’t force a relationship. Every man/woman shouldn’t be looked at as a potential life partner. You shouldn’t be mentally assessing someone when you first meet them. Dating has become boring and robotic. Dating Apps such as Plenty of Fish or Tinder tell us that value can only be found in someone’s physical appearance. We treat each other like commodities, selling yourself in the hope that someone will buy. A relationship based on the superficial will never last. I know it’s hard but we need to stop thinking that we can make love a ‘goal’. It will just happen.
I wasn’t sure about writing this post. I have been avoiding my blog because I didn’t feel like I had anything interesting or positive to say. I don’t have the answers, each day is still a struggle but I hope that this post helps someone. Let’s commit to sharing the struggles as well as the success, life is about both.