Last year, I wrote a post about being scared of turning 20. In the post (which has since been deleted from that particular blog) I theorised that this would be the decade where I would be forced to grow up, start a career, start a family and dive head-first into old age. I rounded up the post by stating that it was hard for me to say goodbye to my teenage years, and even harder to accept the fact that this is the decade where life gets serious.
I'm a whole year into my twenties now. Last week marked my 21st birthday. It was a monumental occasion for me - my mother could hardly believe that her first born had reached the pillar of adulthood, my sister spent the entire day calling me old, and I became giddy after realising that I could legally drink in America. It became incredibly tempting to run away to Las Vegas without my boyfriend, just to prove a point. (The point being that, because I am two months older than him, I am two months cooler than him)
Despite having a wonderful birthday week full of wonderful family and friends, the fears I'd expressed last June hung over my head like a dark shadow. Paint me depressed and call me Eeyore! I realised that I still don't have a proper career. Instead, I'm stuck in a job that has destroyed my social life, my confidence and my aspirations. I do still have a proper relationship, although like all other relationships we have our ups and downs. I'm still pretty determined that I'm not sacrificing my vagina for a child any time soon, in spite of the fact that almost every friend I have seems determined to force out children like a fashion craze.
I am still crippled by the insecurities of my future. I still have no real career in mind, nor do I have any sort of clue what I see myself doing forever. I do, naturally, fear that I'll drift from job to job until I succumb to either homicidal thoughts or my minuscule pension. But one thing I've realised over the past year is that I'm not alone in these thoughts and insecurities. It appears to be a plague on my generation. We've been labelled the "lost generation" and it's not hard to see why. Most of us lack any real direction - sure, we might be at university, or working in slightly good jobs, and we might have a general idea of where we want to end up, we just have absolutely no idea how to get there.
Unemployment is at a ridiculous high at the moment. Schools are stretched, filled to the brim with teachers who don't have the available resources to help as much as they would like, and teachers who just don't particularly care about the majority of their students. We're consistently told to "grow up, get a real job" and stop dreaming, by people who have become so bitter at giving up on their own dreams. The future isn't exactly shining bright for those of us in our early twenties.
But, unlike last June, I'm no longer paralysed by The Fear. So what if I haven't got a First Class Degree? So what if I'm still figuring out what I want to do in life? I've only just begun having an immense amount of fun in this life. We're here for a fun time, not a long time, and I refuse to allow myself to be dragged down over the fear of growing up. After all, Peter Pan never had to do it.