What Being In Your Twenties Means To Me

Hey guys! Yet again there has been a rather large break between my posts. It seems that I have quickly slipped from three posts a week to a measly one. I could list a whole host of reasons and/or excuses as to why I haven’t been so active on WordPress but to summarise – we all know that sometimes life gets in the way. This has meant that I have only really been reading posts I see on Twitter, as opposed to Reader. Side note: hit me up on Twitter and send me links to your posts! I have sucked. Big time. I am, obviously, planning to rectify this because Christmas is quickly coming around and I have a whole list of post ideas to share with you guys! On that Christmassy note, I hope you like the photos from the York Christmas Market that I’ll be featuring in this post alongside some of my thoughts.

Finally, yes you may have noticed that my blog took a “mature”(??) turn a while ago, and this has also resulted in less posts. I adore writing on beauty and fashion and other bits but I love more meaningful posts and this has generally meant that I prioritised quality over quantity.

So, less waffling! I wanted to talk about what being in my 20s means to me. I would love to know what you guys either plan to do in your twenties, are doing or did. Do you like your twenties? Did you travel? Study? What did you get up to!?

For me, your twenties seem to be a massive period of huge life decisions, judgement, and fear. Basically, a lot of emotion.

Right now, I am 21 and I am in my final year of university. I have some plans for the next few months and years but I am very aware that these will be trampled by some curveballs from life. I will, fingers crossed eh, graduate next summer and be moving to York officially. Hopefully, I will have a job that I am happy in and is one that provides me with some fab career options. I might be thinking about having my own family and settling down in the years after that and doing all the white picket fence crap too.

But. This is all very daunting. I often wonder if the decisions I am making now are because it is what is just expected of me. It is just presumed that you leave university with a good grade, get a job and live happily ever after in the house you buy, with your 3 kids and a labrador. In reality, there is a lot of debt, fear, and uncertainty. I have heard people mention recently in university that the pressure since being in their twenties has been astronomical. By your 30s, your parents probably had all the free-for-all, lack-of-responsibilities fun that they planned to have and became, what I deem, a fully-fledged adult. They most likely had children, married maybe and owned their home. Increasingly, people are making references to our generation having their 30s as their 20s. Education and career dictate so much of our lives that finances are strained and we don’t get the ideals of previous generations.

I could go down a whole other track about politics but that’s for another day!

I find it super interesting how more and more people want time to themselves after university and choose to travel or take a year out from studying or finalising career moves and get a low key job and essentially, just get by. There is less pressure, you can enjoy yourself and see the world and you have your whole life ahead of you. So why do we, as a society, push 20 year olds into this created norm where we study, get a successful career and have a family. Look at the people around you. The people in their 20s, 30s and 40s. Are they all doing the same thing? No. Were they all successful? No. Everyone hits bumps in the road and this ideal that we create for people to grow up in to is constraining and means that people “rebel” against it. Fuck you Brenda, maybe I won’t get a 37 hour unpaid internship just to get the job of my dreams at 21 when I can see Bali, Singapore, and Thailand and consider it after when I have a great tan and have made some questionable decisions about tattoos in foreign countries. Yanno what I mean?

I think that in your 20s you are pressured to fitting this “success” norm that doesn’t really happen for most and I find more and more hope and joy in seeing people break away from this mould. After being in education the majority of our lives, I think most of us deserve a break. A well-deserved one at that. People underestimate how draining it can be as a student (you know, not all of us are out every night and spend all of our money on alcohol and dubiously cooked chicken nuggets!) and how, nowadays, we are all pushed in to doing 101 things on top of our degree just to stand out from the crowd. I’m not saying I’m a shining example but on top of a very independent research and reading heavy degree, but in the last three years, some of the things I have done include:

  • Been elected the course rep three years in a row
  • Held down a job in a busy retail environment while writing essays and revising for exams
  • Visited China for almost 4 weeks to teach in a nursery
  • Volunteered consistently at a local hospice doing fundraising
  • Multiple positions in different societies

And you know what, it means I’m quite tired. I love all the extra stuff I do, and I wouldn’t do it if I didn’t, but sometimes the idea of escaping for a year or two after my studies is really appealing. In your 20s it seems more and more like we have to cram everything in, in a short amount of time, to be happy and successful and it’s just not true. I think people in their 20s should spend some time finding themselves, understanding what they want to gain from life and having fun. I mean, it’s going to take you at least 100 years to buy your house anyway…. might as well enjoy life!

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7 Comments

  1. November 18, 2017 / 7:07 am

    Such a thoughtful and well written post Ella! I couldn’t agree more that there is way too much pressure to succeed nowadays, be super entreperenural and even accomplish something while still studying at university – I am currently taking a pre uni gap year and am freaking out because I feel like everything I do in these months has to be a productive form of self development in one way or another. However, as you said, regardless of what stage we’re at in our lives, we all deserve a break and to take it easy for the sake of mental health, because we have much more time than we think and life will always go on!

    • November 21, 2017 / 7:32 pm

      Thank you so much for taking the time to leave such a thoughtful reply! I am so glad you liked it and even more so that it was written in a way you could relate to! Remember to always take time for yourself 🙂 Totally agree, life isn’t over at 30 – we seem to put an expiry date on it all really.. xx

  2. November 18, 2017 / 6:01 pm

    Just to get it out of the way: HOLY HELL, YOUR BLOG IS DAMN BEAUTIFUL. In love with the design. This post . . . oh my god, I relate to this down to the depths of my soul and it’s something I’m struggling with already and I’m only 18! I definitely think you should take a break if you feel like you need it; our generation has so much “doom” pushed down our throats with all that “there are 50 people applying for every job you are” and “you need to save NOW for a house or you’ll never be able to afford one” and all the rest that we all feel like we have to grow up ASAP… xxx

    • November 21, 2017 / 7:37 pm

      Oh my gosh, this comment literally has made my day! Thank you so much! I have been so disheartened with problems my blog has encountered recently so to hear this means the world 🙂 I’m so glad it ended up being relatable, I tried so hard with it! Oh my gosh I totally agree with everything you said, from 18 onwards it feels like you are being told to plan every aspect of your life all at once. It is just too much! We have all the time in the world to enjoy ourselves and be successful! xx

  3. November 20, 2017 / 1:26 pm

    I love this post. I think you’re completely right! This is exactly why I just want to move to Manchester after we graduate with a few friends, and work in an okay job and see what happens for a year or two😂 There’s loads of time for the rest of it, and once we get on the career ladder we aren’t getting off for a very long time haha xxx

    • November 21, 2017 / 7:41 pm

      I am so glad you liked it lovely! That’s exactly what it should be like though – putting yourself first before these expectations that are impossible to meet! Exactly, when you said about getting in to your career in editorial work, you’re unlikely to leave. It is. so. true. Gotta enjoy the no commitments while you can! xxx

  4. November 22, 2017 / 9:31 am

    I think your 20s can be a difficult time. You’re still young and have goals and ambitions but other people expect you to start growing up and doing ‘adult’ things. What I’ve learnt is that people in their 30s and 40s sometimes still haven’t grown up and grow at a pace that works for you. It’s easy to put pressure on ourselves and expect to be a certain way and some pressure is good but it’s better to live than exist x

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