When did our 20s become the era of paranoia?

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I’ve read enough articles, lists, blogs and spent enough time on social media (believe me) to know that a lot of people in their twenties spend a massive proportion of their time worrying. Girls especially, but that might just be my skewed view as I follow more girls on social media, read women columnists more and generally get a lot of my material from blogs- predominately written by females.

I fall into the worrier category. I fall into it so hard I would like to put myself forward as team leader, get us all uniforms and arrange the Christmas social so we can talk about what we’re scared of over some gins and then get cheesy chips after. (Genuinely, I would be up for this).

I don’t know when it happened, it certainly hasn’t always been this way, but I literally spend my life paranoid and it’s mostly about health, money and other people. Having a chronic illness nestled within my body wreaking havoc doesn’t help, and I have plenty of very good, medically certified reasons to be worried, but I go beyond those. I just worry for worry’s sake. It’s pretty much my hobby now. But thanks to the power of the internet and very few thoughts being sacred, I can (sort of) relax in the fact I’m not alone.

My peers are just as paranoid as me.

God, we need to sort ourselves out. Whenever I read a tweet from a friend who’s worrying about something to do with health or finance or any other young adult topic, I just want to reach over and whisper “don’t worry pal, me too.” That sounds creepier than I intend it to be. But if you are one of these worrisome people, please try and take a breath and lessen the teeth grinding and anxiety in your stomach, you’ve got some company. There are others out there right now doing all the things we know are bad for us- Googling symptoms, scrolling through unrealistic Instagram accounts, comparing careers to people older and much more experienced and staring at our banking apps and thinking ‘where’s the money gone?’

Exhausting though, isn’t it? As much as I want to take a chill pill and feel the way I felt when I was about 20 (which by default was tipsy, warm inside and free) and roam around like I’m indestructible and totally on top of everything, I just can’t. The paranoia and the concern have crept up and taken hold and they’re not just here for a sleepover, they want to stay longterm. Cute. NOT.

It hasn’t been all bad- it’s given me ambition. It’s made do things outside of work that create work that ultimately make me extra money, help me get contacts and help me grow audiences for things like this blog- all because I was worried I wasn’t doing enough career wise. People actually read this blog, which is still amazing even now, and people actually reach out to talk to me off their own back and tell me they like my blog- even more amazing. So yeah, in some ways, I’m kind of thankful for it, but there has to come a time when it stops.

There’s only so much time in one day, and wasting too much of it worried about every ache, pain, thinner looking friend or more retweeted article than your own will only result in a downward spiral of misery. And making other people happy above ourselves, despite the fact we’ll carry on doing it forever anyway, is no good. It’s just no good.

Worried about your fertility? About your chances of buying a house? About your liver? About those headaches you get? Your overdraft? Your credit rating? Not being travelled enough? Not going out enough? Not getting enough attention from certain friends?

The list goes on and it could just get bigger and bigger and evolve the older we get, or we can learn to accept, which as someone who hasn’t got to that point can contest to- it ain’t easy.

This era of worrying might pass, and who am I to even speak for people in their twenties, I’m only half way through. I just want to worry less and I think I could round up a small (or maybe world domination size) army of people who would like to join me in that. Throwing away youth on endless amounts of worry and paranoia sounds awful and I do not want to look back and realise that’s what I did. I want to do EVERYTHING and have a lot of fun while I’m doing it.

Let’s go start a revolution shall we? (Or let’s just have an early night and not Google ovary disorders for a while). Baby steps.

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