Staying sane in your twenties

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Sometimes I think I might be going mad. Sometimes I blame London, sometimes I blame money, mostly I just blame life. Sitting and reflecting on the amount of stuff I worry about and how often I let my brain run away with the idea that I have messed up everything in life and I am a lost cause is worrying. Maybe I should do something about it. Maybe I should just chill out. Maybe I should take up something relaxing like knitting. Maybe I need to stop reading all the articles that say we are screwed because the older generation took it all. Or maybe I’ll get a puppy. A puppy will solve everything.

But seriously, it’s really hard to feel sane in your 20s, so I am finding out. I don’t have a baby, am not engaged, don’t have a mortgage, probably haven’t found my calling in life and haven’t done any charity work abroad. OH THE FAILURE. I blame my friends partly; we stress each other out SO MUCH just by openly talking about all these things and boasting without meaning to when we get them. Damn you Instagram, you lying fiend.  We all talk about when we will have kids and joke about never affording to buy a house or why no one has jumped up and down to marry us yet. It might be fine at the time, and we just move on to the next topic of conversation, but the truth is it’s impossible not to dwell.

Sitting on the tube in frozen panic that your GHDs are still on and you will return home to a smouldering pile of ash and your landlord will be there, waiting to kill you and kidnap your parent’s dog as revenge, that’s fine. That’s general, normal, ‘I’m 24 and today I straightened my hair still 90% asleep’ worry. Lying awake at night crippled by stress that you’re not about to complete on buying a house, or will your fertility run out before you have a baby and what if you never, ever get promoted and remain a bit skint forever? WHAT WILL YOU DO THEN? That is not normal worry. Why are we, twenty-something people, getting so massively worked up and worn down by the idea that we have to have it all and it has to happen now?

I am one of these people, as my boyfriend, who is laid back to the point he’s practically a horizontal being, will definitely back up. He’s probably terrified of me and wondering where the relaxed, casual, fun person from 2010 has gone. Well she’s currently coming up with ways to spend 2015 living life, rather than worrying that life isn’t being lived right. It’s such a drag, not having it all. It’s just terrible isn’t it? Being free to go on holidays and having a bit of disposable income to travel and go to festivals, stay out after work to have a drink, lay in bed until lunchtime on a Sunday and eat cereal for dinner whenever we want. How completely unbearable are our lives? How do we get out of bed to face the day?

Not so bad eh, when you think about it like that. It’s absolutely fine to one day want to sit in a home you own that’s filled with furniture you thriftily sourced on Gumtree, with your chubby little toddlers taking naps alongside your little dog. It’s also okay to not want to have little toddlers and dogs and just spend your life roaming the planet and doing seriously cool things. Your life’s happiness absolutely cannot be measured by what you own, or you’ll never be satisfied. It also can’t be put into perspective in your twenties.

I think it’s time to remember that youth can’t be purchased when you’re 40 and you’ve got your life a bit sorted. It also can’t be paused or frozen Austin Powers style. I regret the last year I spent stressing out about things that either will or won’t happen, so I’ll happily take my 24th year of life forward and remember that the next birthday is 25, not 50.

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