Me and my 20 something friends….nearly all of whom have left University well over a year ago have found ourselves in limbo. We are suppose to be enthusiastically embarking on exciting adventures both in our careers and personal lives but instead find ourselves moaning about not knowing what to do, not having any money and working our butts off in a job we either don’t want or get paid pittance for. Don’t get me wrong those of us with jobs are extremely grateful and I feel guilty for even mentioning my woes when some people are certainly worse off. It’s not so much about the recession and the lack of jobs (although they are clearly a major factor) It is our inability to swallow that bitter spoonful of reality that we have begun to choke on as we realise what life really is.
Ok, it might be a little self indulgent to write about this but it has been a simmering topic that won’t go away. I went travelling around Asia this year in the hope of escaping the recession and whilst visiting the orphanages of Cambodia and picking up the bones of those who were brutally murdered in the killing fields less than 30 years ago, I felt a deep sadness that I never have recognised before. Look at the world; look at what we humans do to each other. Look at the state of the economy as it rips apart hardworking people lives. Even worldwide I am struggling to find inspiration and for me that is certainly a first.
Bitterness is a horrible thing and I am trying not to be cynical, believe me. But since we left University excited and ambitious only to be faced with a recession things seem to be spiralling downwards for my friends and I are starting to feel that maybe this is another, albeit less reported, life crisis. Let’s call it the 20-something blues. On the other hand I do feel lucky and privileged to have my friends and family who happen to be fiercely supportive and inspiring but I can’t shake this creepy aura of depression that seems to haunt people around me. It must just be our age group or maybe it’s just my friends but I honestly can’t help but laugh as another of my friends tells me they have been cheated on, they have been made redundant or that they are too skint to afford to do anything but work the two jobs they need to survive. I mean they weren’t joking when they called this a depression! We left University and since then, although there have been unforgettable experiences and some triumphs, I am finding it hard to ride out the uncomfortable stage we find ourselves in.
Being in our early 20’s we often have less money than we did at University and a lot of us have fallen into jobs where they could really have done without the three year degree and £15,000 worth of debt. In addition to this, (yes I really have more to rant about) I feel constantly nervous knowing that nearly every decision I make could shape my life forever.
In the past two years the phrase ‘I don’t know’ has become as common as the word ‘urm’, I say it in nearly every sentence. I am starting to feel less sure of myself and loosing that sassy confidence I spent years perfecting. It’s like being 16 all over again, for goodness sake even our acne is making a comeback!
Where we go from here is a mystery. There is no righteous path we feel we should take, no next step as there has been our entire life. We are now completely independent and free but the thought of making these life changing decisions now makes me want to run back to University to endure another stage of ‘rediscovery’.
The worst thing is I know 5 years from now I will be looking back on this time wishing I could go back and enjoy all the nervous excitement of not knowing what’s round the corner. I am well aware this is just another new stage in our lives. So with this in mind I have decided there is no other way out. I am just going to keep playing that movie-style power tune in my head and charge straight in to anything and everything in the hope that sometime soon, I will know what I want. For now though I am just glad to have my 20 something friends who know exactly how I feel and can moan along with me!