Friday, 15 February 2013

Adult Status - When the Clock Starts Ticking

This week marked the end of an era for me.

On the Wednesday, I turned 25 years old thus renouncing my young adult status and stepping into the world that is bonafide and certifiable adulthood. In the UK, the 16 – 24 year-old age bracket has a bit of stigma attached to it. Individuals leave school, bypass the age of consent, enter into that famous rite of passage that is university – if they so choose to - before crossing out over the other side into the real world.

Therefore, if you’re lucky enough to pass your driving test during this time, car insurance is usually sky high because younger drivers are statistically more likely to get themselves into an accident. And let’s not forget the underage or irresponsible drinking habits of the young elite which is also, equally more likely to land them in trouble – or in a hospital bed…or smashed in the middle of the street somewhere. And of course, the infamous sexual promiscuity of these young folk which has prompted the National Health Service to screen young adults every year for STDs* – currently one of the epidemics on the increase is Chlamydia.

But despite the obvious transition, I’m not exactly where I expected to be at 25. I possess a whole host of qualifications and yet I’m not really making use of them yet. I have a student loan the size of a mortgage deposit. I never did finish off learning how to drive. I’m single. I earn peanuts and I still live at home with my mum. Miss Independent? I don’t think so.

But I guess when I finished school, I had a very Mickey Mouse perception of the way life would go for me. I believed the hype – anyone remember AimHigher – which said that going to university would enhance my job prospects and pretty much set me up for life. (And I guess they weren’t entirely wrong; without my degree, it’ll be physically impossible for me to go and teach English overseas). But we weren’t to know that a Maths degree or going to medical school would be in higher demand right now as oppose to a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology or a degree in Spanish. And naturally, no one could have predicted the recession and the amount of graduates fighting each other for jobs which are few and far between; and these aren’t even the jobs with the prospects and the higher salary either. These are unskilled jobs in retail, food and the like.

I expected that I’d be living alone by now or at least with a good friend. In fact, it was a friend of mine who had expected that she’d have acquired her driver’s licence by now. I guess I expected that I would feel like an adult, but even though I’ve graduated and I’ve made the transition from adolescence, I still very much feel like that kid who was just starting out at university. Certainly, I have responsibilities. I contribute to my household in any way that I can. I have bills to pay…etc, but the clock is ticking and even though I still feel young enough that I’ve got time (I think that if I’d just turned thirty and was where I am now, I’d be borderline depressed), I’m still concerned about my future as I always have been.

But I’m taking steps. Because one thing I’ve realised about myself is that I’ve always been a bit of a late developer. As an infant, I was speech delayed. My overall self esteem didn’t surface until after college. My femininity developed late – heck, it’s still developing – so maybe this is the course I’m destined to take in life.

Fortunately for me, however, I’m not lost anymore. I have a goal and that target is still very much in plain sight. I just have to stay positive. And in actuality, in addition to this, I also, left my job at the training and employment agency today so you can call it a "double end of eras" if you will. It was quite a touching goodbye nonetheless. I guess I hadn’t realised how much they valued me there, but I had no choice but to move on. I was only working there part time and my new job – which in effect is just my old job – will be full time meaning that I can earn a bigger salary so that I can save towards teaching overseas and actually have a life. Thus the sacrifice I mentioned in an earlier post will greatly recede over time.

So, my message today is for those of you who feel a little lost or can’t help but watch the clock in worry at the way your lives are developing. Because believe me, I understand. I’m a massive control freak and I get really bent out of shape when things don’t run smoothly. But as adults - young or old - sometimes we just have to accept it. Because maybe those bumps in the road are necessary; and maybe its necessary to experience circumstances that make you want to tear your hair out. After all, for every obstacle you overcome, it definitely makes you stronger. And maybe, just maybe things are supposed to take a bit longer in life because eventually, you'll arrive at the destination that is really and truly meant for you.

*Sexually Transmitted Diseases

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