Yes, I know the quote is cheesy, and from How I Met Your Mother, but it’s sound advice. All I want to do right now is reverse back to three years ago and start university all over again, where it’s safe and I’m confident about what I’m doing. Instead, I have to look ahead and decide where my future lies.
My university life is very nearly over and up to this point I was absolutely certain I knew what I wanted. Now, though, the options and decisions I have to make terrify me. Since I was a kid I knew I wanted to be an author, and that’s all well and good, but I can’t be an author without the time and finances to live and write at the same time, which means I need a stable job. It’s getting that stable job that scares me. Once I sign the document and become an employee of a publishing house, I’m not likely to ever leave. I’ll be signing my life away, yes it’s my dream to help other authors and make their own dreams come true, but what about my own dreams?
Everyone says your twenties are the prime of your life, where you can drink and have friends and basically just have fun, but that’s not the truth. Coming to uni at eighteen, having a house and friends and knowing what I needed to do was perfect. My life was easy and manageable. But now it’s coming to an end and I don’t know what I want. I don’t want to go straight into a job and essentially start the rest of my life, but what else can I do? I have options, like everyone. My boyfriend and my mum want us to fly out to Cyprus (where my parents currently live) and spend a year over there, finding a place of our own and working to save up money. Bare in mind, my body does not agree with sunny destinations. I get a rash all over my body from a mixture of sun, sea, chlorine, suncream and sweat. So I will not be in a comfortable state while I’m out there. While it’s some people’s ideal decision, to live abroad for a year, it’s not mine. I love England and my home in Winchester. I’m a huge home bird and while I could make a life for myself out there, it would never really be my home. The other option is finding an expensive flat for us to live in Winchester, at about £700+ rent a month, working a minimum wage job and barely having enough money to live, let alone save up. But I could get experience, have an internship to boost myself on the way to a great job.
In truth, I don’t want to go to Cyprus, because I’ve followed my mother and what she wants all my life – going to uni, getting jobs and being told how and what to do. I’m tired of it and I want to start my own life and live my own rules, funding my living and just trying to plant my feet on the ground by myself. But I don’t want to work at a crappy job and barely make rent while I’m trying to edge into the publishing industry.
I feel like I’m in a limbo, and no one ever told me it would be this difficult. The decisions you make in your twenties pave the road for the rest of your life. Yes, I can afford a year away, I’m only twenty one. But at some point I want a proper, stable career, I want to start a family and I’m terrified that I’m running out of time. How am I going to fit travelling, starting a career, love and a family into one lifetime, it just seems impossible.
I have a degree now and I don’t want to waste it by making coffee for people who don’t appreciate it. I want to write, and read and have a job I love, where waking up in the morning isn’t a chore. But how am I supposed to get from A to B? While I can do the things I want in between finding a career and starting a family, it’s all about financing it. I need a job, and the only ones I can get at the moment are the minimum wage, student jobs, like being a barista or sale assistant or waitress and there’s not much job satisfaction in those.
Visiting Thailand, the Grand Cannon, the Eiffel Tower and writing about my experiences are all on my bucket list, along with a tonne of other things. But where am I going to find the time?
I don’t know where I’m going to be this time next year and it gives me a lot of anxiety. I like to have plans and know what’s in store for me. I could be sitting on a beach in Cyprus, reading or writing my novel. Or I could be starting an internship or bottom level job in a publishing house. It scares me and I hate thinking about it. This is the first time in my life I get to make a decision that affects me and the rest of my life. I don’t have to listen to my mum or do as she advices, I don’t have to listen to my boyfriend who has done all this before (he’s twenty seven). I get to make this choice because it’s mine. But the pressure is overwhelming.
What I do know for sure, is I’ll be going to Amsterdam in June with my university friends. It’s a way to cling on to the life we had a uni, and cherish it, making it stretch out for as long as possible and yearning for the comfort of university life. At least I’ll get to cross something off my bucket list, since the Ann Frank museum has been whispering my name since I read The Fault in Our Stars by John Green.