Reflections on Turning Twenty

My birthday is this weekend and I am no longer going to be a teenager. I’m kind of freaking out a little bit. Being a teenager for me means that it’s acceptable to not know what you’re doing, to float around and waste time because you’re only young- you’ve got so much time to figure stuff out.

But at twenty I feel like it’s no longer going to be acceptable and people are going to starting expecting me to get shit done. I have one year left at uni and then real life will begin.

All of the above is ridiculous and I know it, but I can’t shake it. So, to calm myself down I’m turning to writing this post. Here are some thoughts, beside the aforementioned, that I’m having in the week leading to my birthday:

NO ONE KNOWS WHAT’S GOING ON

Although I’ve just said that I feel like being twenty means I have to start acting like an adult and get shit done, I can see that it’s just not true. Being at uni means I am surrounded by a lot of people of the same age and we’re all in the same boat. No one seems to know what’s going on, what they’re doing right now or what they want to do later on.  In fact, total honestly here, I have less of a clue now about what career I want and all that than I did when I was at school.

And you know what? It’s okay! Sure it’s scary and a bit unnerving but we’re still so young. We’re still trying to figure stuff out about ourselves and the world. Although twenty does sound like a grown-up age, I think that- based on what I’ve seen- most of our twenties is spent like our teenage years would have been if we didn’t have school to cope with. We’re now getting our first taste of freedom and ‘the real world’ and we have no idea what that means. We’re learning and experiencing things for the first time and it’s perfectly normal to feel lost and confused. I’m sure we’ll all get there one day.

WHAT IS A CAREER?

Like I said, I’m almost at my last year of uni which is terrifying. It’s all gone so fast and I’m so close to needing to get a proper job, etc. But I haven’t got a clue what I’m going to do or even what I want to do. University is/has been a wonderful opportunity and experience but I have no idea what I’m going to do after. Uni has taught me so many different things within what I thought was my area of interest- journalism- many of which I didn’t think were possible.

One good thing about university is the fact you get to experience various different things within your field and see what you like. I’ve always been interested in journalism and it’s been nice to see that my love for writing and my interest in people hasn’t gone away. But it’s also been hard learning that there’s a lot of things I don’t like or I feel uncomfortable doing. Many of these things are ‘essential’ in having a career in journalism.

For the first time in my life, I’m at a loss for what I want to do next. Uni has provided so many different ideas about what areas I’m interested in, at the same time as showing me how difficult it is to get there. I’ve become more angered as the years have gone on at the ridiculous expectation that we’re meant to know what we want to do by sixteen and then work towards that career for the rest of our lives. What if we change our minds? People change all the time! I just need to take a moment, breathe and hope that I’ll figure it out one day.

I STILL FEEL THE SAME

I often have this discussion with my friends and we all agree that we still feel like we’re fourteen years old. I have people in my life who have recently hit the big 2-0 (that’s not a thing, is it?) and because it’s what I do, I’ve asked them how they feel. And they always answer that they feel exactly the same.

Although, obviously, we’ve all grown and developed and learned so much since we were at that awkward young age, I still feel the same in my mind. I’m often still as awkward, scared and insecure as I was then. I’m also still immature (but mature when I need to be), lazy and just want to have a laugh like I did then too. While I’m very grateful that I’m no longer fourteen (Year Nine was not too fun!) it’s weird that I can’t shake the feeling that I still am.

Still, when I have this conversation with full-blown adults, like my parents and the like, they say that they still feel like they’re a teenager. My dad certainly still acts likes it, bless him. At the core, everyone just wants to feel okay and have a laugh.  So maybe this feeling won’t ever go away- I don’t really believe that any of us grow up in the way we feel.

Thank you sticking with me through another long post, but as always I hope it helped!

Speak soon,

Rachael.

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