At nineteen years of age it seems like I still have nothing worked out. I’m in a solid relationship, studying a degree, have a part time job, good family relationships and some wonderful friends and yet my life still feels a mess.
I see my boyfriend only once every two weeks and I feel like I spend more time missing him than anything else, motivation for uni rises and falls with pointless lectures that have spun me into student debt, I have no idea what I’m doing with my life after uni and my eating and exercise habits are a disaster. I constantly feel like a bit like I’m hanging off a cliff with my pinky holding me up.
Yep, I’m a student. A run of the mill young adult with no time, energy or money. (I’m actually not as miserable as my complaining makes it sound.) I haven’t really worked out who I am yet or what I’m supposed to be doing. But you know what, I’m doing the darn best I can.
And yet it never seems enough.
I’m not alone in this feeling. A whole generation of people sit with the same thoughts, trying to fulfil this idea of what a real adult is. An idea that I am convinced doesn’t exist.
The “put together young adult” is something that I believe has been somehow been contrived on social media. They are the Instagraming 20 year old’s with successful YouTube channels and blogs and personally owned businesses with hot boyfriends (soon to be husbands) and insane morning routines. They’re glam young Mum’s with flawless make-up and a spotless house. They’re the hipster guys in their mid twenties with brief cases and fancy shoes and girlfriends they call their Mrs. They are regular people who unintentionally create a standard online that doesn’t exist. They are aesthetic. They are goals.
But ultimately, they’re personas.
And that’s not their fault. Because thing is, I’m pretty sure they’re trying to meet the exact same standard, feeling just as lost as the rest of us.
I don’t think feeling a huge amount of pressure to pull things together when you start to reach the end of your teens/ early twenties is a new thing, but I certainly think that this pressure seems to be morphing into an expectation based on an ideal that social media has manufactured. Not to mention university culture which is basically a group of newbie adults trying desperately to impress their fellow “intellectuals”. (To the 18 year old guy in my English class who said his favourite book was Ulysses on the first day; no mate, no it isn’t).
The point is, though I could very well be wrong, I firmly believe that no adult really knows what they’re doing. They’re just human and they’re just winging it like the rest of us. There’s so much pressure put on older teens and young adults from student debts to balancing work, studying and social lives, to an introductions to bills, mental health issues and expectations from family and friends that I think the extra pressure we put on ourselves to be have everything together and demonstrate as much is really nothing but damaging.
They say that teens try to grow up too fast, what if young adults are doing the same thing? What if that’s because they’re expected to be good at all the adult stuff from the moment they turn 18? What if all of this is me attempting to justify the fact I don’t feel like a proper adult yet?