Your 20's are a weird one. Some are either getting engaged, some are on a spiritual journey through Asia and some are still rolling in at 4am, chicken nuggets in hand. Here's my thoughts on being a 20-something year old.
Like many of my fellow millennials, my evenings pretty much consist of aimlessly scrolling through my social media and weighing up my quality of life against others. On Instagram, I'm often riddled with envy as I'm presented with dreamy photographs of exotic, tropical destinations, luxury food, designer clothes and one Victoria's Secret looking model after another. Head on over to Snapchat and I get a little 10 second preview of my age mates' constant wild nights out, festivals and holidays. Click on Facebook now and someone has definitely just checked in at Gatwick airport. Sigh. So I lock my phone, turn over and get an early night before work in the morning.
I know I shouldn't believe what I see on social media, especially as people only post what they want to portray (guilty as charged) and usually I'm quite good at turning a blind eye to it all. But when all you seem to do is work and no play, it's easy to fall victim to the media-saturated, materialistic world.
I'm 22 years old. Throw it back 10 years ago and I probably would have told you that by now I would be living life, travelling, going on girls holidays and having fun without a care in the world. And to be fair that's what I should be doing. I mean, I did all the things I was told would give me a better shot at life. I put my head down and worked my ass off until I got my GCSE's, A-Levels and degree. I went through endless amounts of work experience, unpaid internships and scarring jobs just to get the experience that every employer so desperately wants. I've sacrificed my social life and experiences just to make my CV that teeny tiny bit better.
Yet, here I am, still working 24/8 in a job completely unrelated to my degree, just so that I can get by, put some money in to my savings and be productive while still searching for my dream job. Don't get me wrong, I'm all for the 'grind don't stop', but when you're living for a day off just so you can catch up on sleep, sometimes it can get a little overwhelming, to the point where you think 'is it all worth it?'
Because as we all know, house prices are increasing, so much so that by the time I might actually be able to leave my parent's house let alone a flat share, I'll probably end up throwing it back to the student meals of beans on toast anyway just so that I can afford to pay the rent... because the job I'll be in probably won't be secure and probably won't pay me half as much as I need to actually survive.
Of course, this creates a snowball effect whereby once again, any thought of a social life, shopping trips and even health, marriage and kids gets pushed way back down the priority list. In fact, a recent survey by Merrill Edge found that only 43% of millennials prioritise getting married and only 36% are aiming to have children. Why? Because 63% are saving to live their desired lifestyle.
So, what can we do to change this way of living, I hear you ask. Vote? Don't be silly. As Twitter so rightly pointed out, the only vote the British public can get right at the moment is their least favourite couple on Love Island.
It's a vicious cycle and no matter how many steps forward we take, we get knocked back. It's frustrating to say the least but we're not all negative Nancy's here because let's be honest, no one has it completely figured out and really, we should all stop being so hard on ourselves. Instead, let's just think of it as a blessing in disguise and the trials and tribulations we face are really our rites of passage.
What I'm saying is, it might feel like you are an exhausted 40 year old workaholic trapped in a 20-something's body and it might feel like you are drowning in the world of adulthood while others are out enjoying, but everyone works at their own pace. The future is scary and you might not be able to stick to the path you intended, but hard work does pay off and sooner or later, you'll get to where you want to be.
Oh, and don't worry, those people you're vicariously living through on your Snapchat, Instagram and Facebook were probably once, and still are, feeling the same way as you.