Growing Pains

Happy New Year!

It’s a new year and a fresh start and my seemingly never-ending sabbatical is finally over. This is the first time I’m putting pen to paper (so to speak) in over 8 months, so forgive me if I stutter.

In the spirit of the new year, I really only made one resolution: Become obsessed with something. While I’ve been away, I’ve been reading up on people who have made it in their field and the greats that we hail for changing or influencing the culture; and though they all have different aims, views, personality types etc, the one thing they all have in common was that they were obsessed with their craft. Passion breeds obsession and vice versa and the only way to become great at something is to stick with it and stick with it and stick with it!

So I will be here, every fortnight at 3pm, honing an obsession for my first love: the written word. So be here or be rectangular.

In addition to celebrating a new year, I also recently celebrated a birthday (for those of you who didn’t keep up with all my social media posts). It’s a weird thing having your birthday at the beginning of the year, because as well as stepping into a new year, which most people see as a rebirth anyway, you’re also graduating into a new age group. Two rebirths for the price of one, and if you’re anything like me, this just means a hell of a lot of reflection.

My reflection began around 11pm on the 31st December with a quick year review and a few impressive mindmaps (oh yh, I map).  It was relatively easy to start the new year. Exercise plan: check. Exam strategy: check.  Tweet and retweet meaningful new year sayings: check and check.

But it was a lot harder to turn 22. Cou580447_10151708423332323_1421015876_nrtesy of the magazines on my Facebook wall, I’ve been reading too many posts about how life changes in your 20s, on everything from hangovers to how to tackle seeing your friends engagement. As if there is a special ’20s’ club somewhere where we trade in booze for netflix, rejoice about being single and ask each other’s advice about how we know we’ve found ‘the one’. All in good fun of course, but it does put a lot of pressure on you, just knowing that there are expectations on being a 20something year old.

It’s easier to hide behind 21. You’re just a beginnner in the 20s club, almost like the bachelorette before her wedding; you’re not quite in yet so you can let your hair down and sow your oats before we give you the real initiation. At 21, I felt like I needed to scream ‘YOLO’ daily and do crazy things before life got too real, and just like a bride before her wedding day, on the eve of my 22nd (or ‘my last day as a 21 yr old‘ as I called it), I started to panic as to whether I had really spent my last carefree year well and if I ‘turned up’ as much as I could’ve before the 20s club took me in.

But the truth is, every additional year brings new challenges and new responsibilities. Yes we do try to make sense of things by concocting some kind of formula, but really, there is no formula. Some people get married at 18, some people don’t own their first house till their mid 30s and there’s even a woman who had her 3 children after she’d turned 40. Life is an individual experience and in my opinion, the only thing that unites all 20 year olds is that we are all in the decade where people EXPECT us to start to build for the future. Our time and our plans are no longer dictated by an educational body or our parents and it is the first true taste of independence. But what we choose to do with that independence is up to us.

This decade and the new found self-governance that comes with it means that a lot of us are just beginning to discover who we are. We no longer have to be who our parents told us to be and what our schools allowed us to be; we are now free to decide for ourselves. And that is a scary thought. It was a scary transition for me to go from trying to rebel against rules of authority to suddenly not having any rules to rebel from. How late do I stay out if my mum isn’t texting me every five minutes? Do I really want that nose ring now that there are no school rules against it? What kind of friends do I want now that my parents don’t care who I hang out with? Who do I date now that dating is no longer a game? And so on and so forth till I find my way.

So aside from the elite daily posts that I know are plaguing your Facebook walls also, I hope this blog can be a space free from pressure and expectations. Where we 20year olds (and anyone of other age clubs) can come together and share this awkward transition period. No telling you ‘How to share your engagement pics online’ or ‘What all 20something year olds do on a Friday night’. Simply an interactive blog attempting to open your mind to different viewpoints and topics and experiences; for you to decide how you want to tackle all these issues that we finally have to start paying attention to. No judgements, no expectations. Just a place for your voice to be heard, even if you stutter.

But it only works if you…

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