Back in August, which seems like an age ago now, I turned 25.
This birthday was probably the scariest for me; it felt like the age where I should be more of a grown up and where I should all of a sudden have my life figured out. It’s also the wrong half of my 20s and now I’m on the slippery slope towards the big 3-0. This may sound melodramatic but in this post, I’m going to be quite frank and quite honest – I feel it’s needed (more-so for myself).
Obviously, not all points here will resonate with you but I wanted a space to clear my mind a little and potentially, get some feedback if any of you would be willing to share it.
1. Money suddenly becomes the be all and end all
Not a day goes by now where I don’t think about money – how much do I have, how much do I need to save and how much am I in debt. It’s honestly not the prettiest picture.
This is not to say that I don’t have enough to get by, I really do – it’s that I won’t be fulfilling my parent’s non-stop question: ‘So, when are you buying a house?’. Realistically, right now, never. There seems to be this overwhelming pressure put upon me to suddenly stop renting and start a mortgage, but with what!? Paying the mortgage is the same as paying rent albeit a little less, it’s the deposit that is the issue, as with so many other people. Getting that amount of money out of thin air or even from savings will take years, so it’s never really realistic (unless you have a super successful business or career) to assume that a 25-year-old can do this.
Not only is a house part of the ‘money issue’, it’s the how can I do more to fulfil my life with so little. For me, it’s felt like a sudden rush to make the most of life – to travel, to go to more events and to experience the world but before what. Surely, I have the rest of my life to do these things? There needn’t be this obsession over money but there is. In a world where you can see what everyone is doing, it has felt like I’m just resting on my laurels and am not fulfilling my potential, when really I know that’s not true. I do a lot.
Maybe the point to make with this issue, is not that you personally place a high value on money, it’s the people and world around you. It works a bit like peer pressure. I also doubt this stops anytime soon.
2. Relationships take on different meanings
It’s a fact, relationships change as you grow older. You develop new ones, older ones fizzle out and they become a lot more important. I feel like relationships now are a bit like picking a ‘dream team’. It’s like you’re the one person out of two that had to pick players for you team, except this team will be vitally important in your coming years.
But let’s start with family. Family will always be there, they should be the friends you don’t choose. In the last year alone, I’ve learnt a hell of a lot about my family – some good but a lot of it bad. I can see the flaws now I’m a little older. All the white lies you were told as a kid, they are all washed away and your let into the ‘actual’ club with all the past knowledge and truths that come with it. You’re deemed old enough to be able to handle it – honestly, I’m not sure I am.
Being engaged, that is a strange one. To some people it means that you’re now their new best friends, to others you’ve lost a connection. I’ve learnt that it takes a special kind of friend to find those points to relate to when they are single and you are not – it’s those friends that are worth everything. Those who suddenly want to be your new best friend, in the nicest possible way – sod them. A couple is no different whether they are engaged, married or regular boyfriend and girlfriend – SHOCKER – they are the same people. A relationship should not change based on this change of status but it does to so many. Planning a wedding is also not a walk in the park, when you’re planning yours, you’ll realise who your true friends are, you’ll also realise it is not a finishing line.
Friends. These are probably the relationships that change the most. It’s just important to accept that everyone is not going to like you… but why should they? You’re not going to like every person you meet. I think, in my experience, you’ll find out who will be your long-term friends and who will be the ones who will fade away. It’s not easy though, you can easily lament on what has been lost but it is important you look to the future – sometimes, it just doesn’t work out. There are plenty of other people in the world just waiting to change your life for the better.
3. Career success is exactly how you define it, not anyone else
On to achievement, career success at the age of 25 is how you define it. What career you want, where you want to work and what companies or industry you want to target – you’ll get there. Don’t let anyone else, especially the media, tell you that you aren’t successful because you don’t fit their definition.
There was a lot of talk when I left university that I was a part of the ‘doomed generation’ – no jobs, massive recession and pointless degrees with a lifetime of debt. Sounds bad right? Wrong. This was a lie. Your career, at the end of the day, is what you make it. If you’re willing to work your arse off (yes, sometimes to the detriment of a social life/relationship) and seek out those opportunities then you can have the success you’ve always dreamed of. This may sound idealistic but I’ve managed it. The best feeling in the world is knowing you’ve worked for it and it’s yours to enjoy. Right now, I wouldn’t change it for the world and I only hope to keep on growing.
4. Making yourself happy has never mattered so much
Tied into the whole ‘fulfilment’ point earlier, making yourself happy has never mattered more than it does now. I’ve adopted the attitude that if it doesn’t make me happy or have a positive effect on my life, then why am I doing it!? I may be too young to say this but life is too short to waste on bad films, disgusting coffee, events are designed to make you feel like the smallest person in the room and music that is quite frankly, awful. Instead, fill your time with the things you love – I fill mine with culture, decent music, indie films, reading, crafted coffee and exploring.
I’m thinking this is the best mindset I’ve come to yet and it’s taken me 25 years to get here. I used to be so worried with other people’s happiness that it would ruin my own but there is a difference between empathy and being an emotional ‘doormat’. The best thing is, it’s never too late either. You can start today and believe me, being happy and content is worth it – you’ll achieve a lot more.
So, now that’s off my chest – do you agree or disagree? Is this melodramatic or any kind of helpful?