Twenty–something. Finished college. Unemployed. Jobseeking. Employed but only in order to pay crippling rent-prices and/or to fuel an increasingly intensifying social-life and obsession with clothes which is a direct result of having no idea what the next step is, so figuring you might as well look good and feel good (albeit briefly) while you stumble through it.
If there’s one thing a large majority of both my school and college friends have talked in circles recently, talked upsidedown and inside out, analysed to the point of disintegration and dissolution into pints of craft beer as we search for new and exciting things to try and explore in life, it’s that none of us have a fucking clue what we’re doing.
Degrees in the bag, some barely making it til the end of the month without overdrawing, others like me still living out of home and trying to decide whether to move out or use the limited funds available to us to live, to see and do things before we get too old or tied down– parental inconveniences aside, living at home near a bus route and train line has it’s advantages.
I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve heard things like ‘I need to sort my life out’, and ‘I have absolutely no plan’; exclaims of uncertainty acting as grace notes to sips of wine and beer that gradually reduce the immediacy of the problem and allow it to fester some more in the depths of that which is ultimately within our control, yet which feels in every sense of the words to be outside of it.
Because really, when it comes down to it all, the world really is our oyster. I don’t mean this in the overly enthusiastic and positive good hippie-vibe-giving gushing that tries to convince people the world is all fabulous – because I think at this stage we’re finally coming to a certain awareness that it is not always a nice place to live – I just mean that in society today it is literally just a matter of deciding and convincing yourself it’s ok for you to try to do something – and a lot of the time it gets done.
The trouble is it often takes getting to that point of ‘Oh shit. What now??” for us to take a step back and actually look at our options in a way that makes us see there actually are plenty out there, if we just take things into account and break it down.
In my case, I made lists. I’ve made list after list of things I could do – things I love to do, things immediately available to me, things that require a bit of work and application to obtain – essentially, I’ve finally gotten the opportunity to sit back and look at myself and my talents for what they really are, and I’ve taken my options into account. Surprisingly, a lot of the things I’ve found myself lusting after passionately as a career path and way forward are only narrowly related or corresponsive to what I studied in college, which at first severely distressed me.
But I’ve come to realise that the time I spent in school and college, blindly working my way towards a degree that wasn’t going to directly walk me into full-time employment (hello, BA!!) was actually probably the best thing I could have been doing at the time.
Unless you are one of the small percentage of people who know exactly the career path they want to embark on and have done since being asked what you wanted to be when you grew up encompassed everything from an astronaut to a Man United player (I’m still holding out on becoming a ‘popstar’, but the days of shiny parachute pants and S Club 7 dance moves being over sadly won’t allow for exactly the picture I’d painted for myself to materialise), chances are you’ve found yourself in these horrors of the post-college life-crisis, where nothing seems certain, and The Fear seems to stretch out endlessly ahead of ahead of you as a result of a 3-year long session of not-having-to-think-about-being-a-grown-up.
As it stands for me right now, there is no guarantee of stable or definite long-term employment – but I’m ok with that. I’ve gotten this far, and it’s given me the chance to learn about myself and my talents, and to see the things I could bring to the world if I just shape them up and put my mind to it. I’m not going to say it’s easy, or that everything is going to be ok, and I can’t promise that for anyone else either. I’ve just finally come to the calm (and somewhat exciting!) realisation that the world really is my oyster right now. I’m just struggling a bit while I figure out exactly how to eat oysters – I’ve never tried them before.
I’m sure they’ll be delicious when I eventually figure it out, and their omega-3 fishy oils are only going to add to my life both nutritionally and cognitively. There’s just so much potential out there, and I’d encourage anyone struggling with this at the moment to just take a little while to look at yourself and what it is you love to do, what makes you tick. If your eyes light up when you talk about it – then you know you’re on to something. Don’t compare yourself to friends or family who seem like they have their shit together, or have it all sorted, because I can guarantee you – they don’t. Listen to yourself, your needs, your talents, and things might start making a bit more sense. I don’t know. I’m not even sure yet. But I know I’m excited to try some of these oysters.