It’s been a particularly knackering few months, and even when I’ve had some time off work I’ve spent it doing knackering stuff. This year’s been knackering in all sorts of ways, actually, but rather than boring you with a complex psychodrama I’ll sum up what’s been going on.
I turned 25 in August. This, combined with the unfortunate angst of watching everyone I know having what appear to be more exciting and successful lives than mine via social media, has triggered the newly-traditional “quarter-life crisis” which seems to plague many in my demographic.
If you’re not familiar with the concept, it involves reaching an age you always thought would signify “proper” adulthood and realising you’re failing miserably on every metric you ever set for yourself, because your idea of where you should be is determined by what people older than you had. When my parents were 25 they were married with a mortgage, car and mini ginger person. By contrast, I am still a mini ginger person living with my parents, doing a job that bores the life out of me and thus feeling like a bit of a failure. Don’t get me wrong – I have no interest in mini people, ginger or otherwise – but the overall sense is that I could, and should, be a bit more established in the world.
Whatever is classed as “having your shit together” these days – well, I’m basically not that. And I beat myself up about it, despite the knowledge that the whole thing is utterly ridiculous because times and attitudes have changed and anyway, I should really shut up because the quarter-life crisis is born out of privilege. I’m only free to get angsty about my life and my ‘career’ because I don’t have to worry about things like food and shelter.
I also saw a lot of doctors. I haven’t really been ill all year, but I’ve spent a lot of money on prescriptions and seen two different specialists. There was physio for my knees and a dermatologist for the psoriasis that’s made my scalp look like an alien landscape all year (turns out the treatments my GPs said probably wouldn’t work are actually the only ones that do). It’s not been cracking, I’ll be honest, except that cracking is exactly what my knees love to do.
It’s been a bit of a whirlwind year, and I think in the maelstrom I’ve lost sight of what I actually set out to achieve. And here’s the point where blogging more often would have helped, because this time last year I set it out pretty clearly.
- Learn to swim: Partially complete. It took me until August to bite the bullet and face my fear not of water, but the horrible swimming teacher I had in primary school. Well, that and my hatred of having anything near my eyes which makes sticking my face in the water quite tricky. Success is limited, chiefly because of that whole water-gets-in-my-goggles-and-I-panic-and-stop-breathing issue, but I’m getting there.
- Fix my knee: At least old ladies don’t overtake me now. It’s much better than it was, but the ex-good knee is now as bad as the getting-better knee because one’s been compensating for the other. I’m taking some strong anti-inflammatory medication and pain is still intermittent, so it’s clearly not fine yet, but I’m going to get referred back to physiotherapy to work it out.
- Save money: Progress. I haven’t saved as much as I’d like – possibly because of my habit of travelling to see friends, a boyfriend, gigs and lots of wrestling shows – but I haven’t splurged everything I earn. Mercifully, I also know I don’t have to prepare for unemployment just yet, because…
- Have a job at the end of the year: My contract has been extended until May 1st, so I have extra time to prepare for potential unemployment after that. Work is boring, but I’m begging for extra work and making myself useful so that when my contract’s up, they might just find me something more varied to do.
- Stay in touch: I’m still not as good at this as I want to be – not by a long shot. But I think I’m getting better and I’ll keep working on that.
- Blog more: Oh well.
So really, success depends on the goals you set for yourself. I haven’t landed that dream job, moved out of home, or gone jetting around the world, but that’s not where I am in my life – and I need to stop beating myself up about that. Some people are on six-month secondments to exotic locations in high-flying jobs. I’m trying to climb the stairs. And that’s actually OK, because I am bloody lucky to have what I have and be where I am.
Conclusion: shut up with the whining, Parkin. You’re doing alright.