“Mum, I’m so old. I’m 22! How can I get this to slow down?” I asked, with a waiver in my voice. Her reply was something I always come back to when I’m having a millennial-inspired mini breakdown about how fast I’m growing old:
“Look back to when you were 18,” she said, “would you want to do all that all over again?”
“No.” I said, which sent my brain into a whirlwind of all the prospects that the future held.
Us 20-somethings are constantly worrying about two things: not being adequate and growing old. One thing we should be worrying about most, ironically, is the fact that this is actually suffocating our ability to do anything.
We’ve been there (at least some of us), feeling utterly useless and empty: ‘why should I bother? This person (let’s call them Bob) already achieved x, y and z by the time they were my age, so it’s far too late for me to get started.’
You may want to look at it that way, but may I interest you in an alternative perspective?
A) You’ve no idea what Bob’s circumstances were like.
B) It is completely arbitrary to compare your journey to Bob’s.
C) And finally, turning a certain age does not debilitate you from pursuing what you want to do with your life.
Basically, fuck Bob.
It’s hard to ingrain this message into your brain when you’re constantly looking at others, admiring their motivation, their energy and their drive. Sadly, this just makes you want to do anything but related to your future or your personal growth. Whether it’s down to a lack of confidence/self-belief, I don’t think it’s wholly down to laziness. That is optional, but not believing that you are able to do what you are meant to do is a whole other kettle of fish.
Sharing these seemingly meaningless anxieties may help others who are doubting themselves, too. I’m sure it’s incredibly common for people to question their abilities and their purpose, but it’s nowhere near as common for people to actually air out this issue and express this anticipatory fear that feels like it’s drowning your brain and putting a gun to the head of your creativity simultaneously. Big sentence, but then again a big old weight off the chest.
So, whenever you find yourself thinking about your looming mid-20s and the impending despair of underachievement, just remember about that smug bastard Bob. Bob has no influence over your life, and even if he is more successful than you, does that mean he’s happy? No. Bob’s life will probably come crashing down around him sooner rather than later, not that we’ve had time to fantasise over that..
ANYWAY, without getting too distracted over Bob (who may well be a very real person), just take your time, keep going and remember if you never questioned anything about your life, you wouldn’t be evolving.