I was about 30,000 feet in the air when it hit me: I really don’t know what I’m doing.
It wasn’t just an I’m-on-a-work-trip-to-Sydney-and-planes-sometimes-scare-me meltdown; these little life crises hit me on a semi-regular basis. I’ll be watching Netflix, or cooking dinner, or… mid-wee… and the anxiety will tumble down onto my chest like a waterfall. I don’t know what the fuck I’m doing with my life and oh god why didn’t I become a teacher because teachers earn a decent salary and have actual job security and also teaching is such a good, rewarding and stable profession and wait, what the hell? I don’t want to be a teacher. I’d be a terrible teacher. I’ve tutored one kid in my entire life and they fired me. WHO EVEN AM I?
Sometimes it’s as if I float above my own millennial existence and feel like I’ve drifted from where I’m supposed to be; that the paths I’ve chosen have accidentally veered me off The Way. And now I don’t know what The Way is anymore. I only know I’m lost and confused and (based on the principle of probability) rather hungry.
Then I get distracted by dog memes and another month passes until I remember that, oh yeah, the life crisis thing.
I know I’m not alone in this. Far from it. So many of us drift through our post-university years in a weird daze. So many of us secretly harbour anxieties about our careers but feel too embarrassed to talk about them.
It’s normal to be overwhelmed. That doesn’t make it particularly easy, though.
Since relaunching my blog I’ve had a few of you email me asking for career advice, or simply venting about your own frustrations. I’ve also had many conversations with girlfriends that end in us all semi-weeping at the prospect of entering our mid-twenties soon. I mean… 24? Twenty four? I am NOT almost 24. I CAN’T BE.
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I can’t tell you how bubbly I feel at the moment. I’m back to blogging and it makes my soul so flipping happy. I’ve been in the media for a few years now (professionally) and I hope I always keep The 20s Diary in the background as a little hobby of mine where I can write about anything I fancy (eventually it’ll be The 30s Diary, then the Oh God Please Make It Stop Diary). I recommend you go read it because I’m shameless and posted something tonight. I also recommend you try Halo Top Mint Choc Chip ice cream but that’s a completely unrelated matter.
Because I have no idea where my career is going, my impending birthday is particularly troublesome this year. I would rather stay 23 forever if that’s at all possible, please? 23 has been cosy and lovely. I would like to keep it for another year. Also, just writing the number 24 makes my heart do this weird thing and it may or may not require medical attention.
Because I’m a naturally competitive person, I do worry that I’ll never be content with where I am; that I’ll travel through life feeling not just a desire to excel, but discontentment that I’m not excelling far enough fast enough. To feel entirely happy with where I am is a rather foreign thing for me. Ever since I was a teenager the goal has been to aim a little higher, which is good for my motivation levels, but not exactly great for my overall happiness.
My main problem is I don’t know what direction to aim anymore.
I’m slightly pissed off that I was never that person who instinctively knew what I wanted to be growing up. I did an Arts Degree for the reason anyone ever does an Arts Degree: They’ve got no fucking clue what career path they want to choose but know they don’t want to work at Target forever.
I bloody adore my current job. It’s the prospect of What Next that terrifies me.
As millennials we’re told to reach high and chase our dreams and do what we love and hustle and work hard and believe in ourselves. And yet, if you ask me where I want to be at 33, I can’t tell you.
I honestly have no idea.
I’ll probably spend the next 10 years trying to figure it out.
Are you the same? Let’s chat in the comments xxx