Where did this expectation come from?

A really weird thing has been puzzling my brain lately and it’s about expectation. I think it’s popped in there because I’m nearing my 32nd birthday, I feel old and young at the same time and I’m probably even more directionless than I was at 22. Sure, at 22 I was just finding my feet in terms of a job and I was still living at home, dating a guy I knew I didn’t want to be with and wishing something, anything would change. Now I’m nearing 32, I’m much more confident, (in some ways) I have a better job, a MUCH better BF and a house to call my own…but I feel even more lost than I did before.

At 22 I felt the burden of expectation, I had big ideas and grand plans for my future, I was going to make it. What “it” I was going to make was a little hazy, but I knew I was going to get there. I was comfortable with my discomfort, I needed it to get me out of bed every morning and I wanted to live up to all of the expectations I had placed on myself.

Now, I question whether I was trying to live up to my own expectations of myself or the expectations others had, that I took it upon myself to live up to. Most of the decisions I made were made by carefully weighing up which boxes I could tick in other people’s minds if I did certain things. I made almost no decisions because I felt that gut-wrenching urge to do something. When I look back on that time now, I realise that I probably failed in delivering on the one expectation I’ve always had of myself; living honestly.

If you fail to do what’s true to you, over the years you’ll find yourself becoming more and more enslaved to the expectations of others. Personally, I believe that sometimes people break down when they have the epiphany that actually they can choose which expectations to live up to…but they realise this so late that they crumble under the pressure of change. At 22, I was bumbling around making erroneous decisions and ignoring what my intuition was telling me but I never worried about the consequences because I knew that I could change things at any moment, and I was sure I would.

Today, I can’t even hear my intuition. I’ve buried it so deep that I’ve almost completely lost it. Sometimes I meet a person and it shouts at me, a strong warning that I don’t need that individual in my life, but other than that, it seems to be speaking a different language. So I’m directionless. I don’t even have the direction to ignore in favour of other people’s expectations, all I have is my adopted set of expectations and the awkward feeling that I’ve gone wrong somewhere. On paper that’s not the case but the endless babble sitting in that void in my core tells me otherwise. But I’m nearly 32 now. I have a mortgage. I have a dog. I have a significant other to consider. I don’t know what the rules are and whether I can break them yet; the expectation seems to be that you need to have midlife crisis for that to become permissible and that just doesn’t sound like something people would expect me to do.

30-Something Life

A year ago my 30th birthday was rapidly approaching and I faced it with nothing short of fear; fear that things would have to change because 30 is grown up and I was not.

Well here I am now, nearly a year on and having survived the year (almost), I’m here to tell you that 30 is nothing to be scared of.

I’ve learned quite a lot in the last year about the myths and truths that surround the move from being a 20-something to a 30-something. Let me share a few with you and please do comment if you have any others you wish to add!

Things I’ve learned about being 30:

  • You have a bit more money than you did when you were 20
    • If you don’t, it’s likely you’re doing something you enjoy more than you did when you were 20
  • You’re well into all of the age brackets you need to be in to enjoy life, whether that be legal drinking age or cheaper car insurance age – you’re there
  • The number at the beginning of your age has changed, it’s very likely your mentality remains the same as it did at 29
  • It’s ok to still not know what you want to do for a living
    • Just a bit scarier to think about how many years you’ve been in this state
  • Marriage is not obligatory
  • Children are not obligatory
  • Spending too much money in Primark is still ok
  • Wearing Primark clothes is still ok
  • Owning more pairs of shoes than you can fit in your wardrobe is practically law; you’ve had many years to collect them
  • Getting wildly drunk is still ok; chances are your drinks will taste better though as you’re more likely to be in a nice bar
  • Life does not start at 30; it started when you were born and you still have to make an effort to live the life you want
  • You’ll probably spend more time inspecting your face for wrinkles than you did in your 20’s
  • You may be fatter than you were a few years ago
    • I’ve found a great solution to that is buying bigger clothes; I can do that because I’m now a rich (er) 30 year old
  • The friends who are still by your side are probably the ones you’ll be swapping dentures with in your 80’s

The main thing I’ve learned is that there’s no need to fear turning 30 because you really do get to maintain control of your life. The world is changing and no longer are you expected to have hit certain milestones by a certain age; we’re really the first generation to experience the full freedom of that shift. Embrace it, continue to be yourself and your 30’s will be whatever you want them to be. That’s something I didn’t understand at 20, but I wish I had.

Happy ageing, fair folk! x

20somethingfreak has moved on!

Hello everyone!

***It seems that I somehow messed up the scheduling so this didn’t post last Monday as it should have done. Sorry – here it is now!***

Well, the day is finally here and I am 30 years old. As from today, all of my 20somethingfreak followers will be re-directed to 30somethingdreamer.

I’m super excited to begin a new decade of blogging. I thought about giving it up but then I realised that would be the definition of insanity and what I should actually be doing is blogging more frequently, not giving it up. Duh!

I feel like I’m the same old me except that this time, I’m not so much blogging to fill a gap in my life but blogging just because I like to write and ramble on.

I’m in NY right now, likely having the time of my life. I’ll update you on everything when I’m back. In the meantime, have a super week and get those Christmas trees up 🙂 x

Saying goodbye to my 20s

Yes, I know, I haven’t quite said goodbye to my 20s yet but I’m a mere week away from turning 30 now! Even as I write that, I feel a little anxious flutter at my core and what I can only describe as nervous anticipation. I think I’m going to do well at being in my 30s but I’m also terrified in case I spend the next decade making the same mistakes again.

30s.

Hmm…

Me, in my 30s. That’s a grown up age. Lots of people in their 30s are married with kids and the idea of doing those sorts of things is still TERRIFYING! If I think too much about the fact that I’ve just bought a house and have a dog I freak out, never mind actual lifetime commitments.

Anyway, the real purpose of this stream of consciousness spiel is to reflect on my 20s because I think it’s a difficult decade to get through. Some people sail through it and love it and the rest of us look on, wondering why our lives are a pile of poo by comparison. So if that’s you doing the wondering, don’t worry about it because I’m about to explain why that’s a good thing.

If I look at my 20s as a whole, there are just 3 main themes to the journey I took and the lessons I learned and the ratio isn’t great, 2 bad : 1 good. Here we go…

Theme 1 – Depression

I still can’t really admit that I have ever been depressed because my background tells me that depression leads to suicide, which leads to other depressed people and I refuse to accept that. What I can admit is that I spent months following this routine:

Wake up – cry – stare at the wall – go to work – hold back the tears – come home – cry – stare at the wall – cry – go to bed

I can also admit that when I managed to stop the staring at the wall behaviour, I still spent an inordinate amount of time crying. The reasons for the tears were varied, but in reality I had a huge sadness inside me that I couldn’t confront and it was ruling my life. This sadness sapped my confidence and stopped me doing and achieving as much as I wanted to but I realise now that it was a process I had to go through. It sounds so clichĂ© to say this but I know now that it really doesn’t last forever, as long as you’re prepared to let the good stuff in.

So, if that’s you right now, let it happen. Sometimes the only way you can move on is to fully embrace the problem, let it flood your mind and then mop up the puddles slowly but surely.

Theme 2 – Debt

During those depressed years I racked up a heck of a lot of debt. Tens of thousands of pounds spent on utter shit that I didn’t need but which I thought might change my life and make me happy. A small portion of the debt was spent on fun, but it really was mainly on junk, oh and some bad car choices. (Never buy a used Corsa VXR!)

That level of debt when you’re on a relatively low salary is crippling, so what I did was bury my head in the sand and keep going. I’m hugely fortunate that I was dug out of the hole by a very generous inheritance, else I would still be in that hole now. It was a good lesson though and I’m glad I learned it at a young age. If you’re struggling with a similar situation, please seek help; just Google it and you’ll find places you can turn to for support.

I sound like an old person now, namely my father, when I say that money really isn’t everything and the stuff you think you need, it won’t make you happy. You’ll have the moment of joy looking at those new shoes but you’ll spend far longer worrying about how you’re going to pay off the cumulative sum of 10 new pairs!

Theme 3 – Good Times

Here’s where the biggest lesson lies for me…the good times are there, they are happening no matter what your situation is, it’s just up to you to decide whether or not you want to be part of them. I feel such gratitude toward all of the people who kept dragging me into the good times and showing me what I was missing. The people I feel this most strongly about are my parents who have been through some really tough times themselves in this last decade, but who remained strong enough to pick me up every time I fell, cuddle me and then invite me to start enjoying life again. Without them, I’d probably be rocking back and forward in the foetal position on my bed right now!

I’ve achieved some stuff too and I’ve managed to build up something of a career, even with a couple of redundancies along the way. I’ve just climbed onto the property ladder, I own my car outright (even if it is 12 years old),I have a beautiful dog, a wonderful boy and many friends. I’ve been on girly holidays, I’ve read loads of books, been out for unbelievably delicious dinners at lovely restaurants and generally smiled and laughed loads, all despite themes 1 and 2.

A huge number of the good times have been in the last 3 years, exactly coinciding with the time that I realised that I can’t find my own happiness in other people, it has to come from within. I can’t tell you how many times people said that to me and I poo-pooed their advice, thinking that I was sorted and other people were making me miserable. I was wrong. I was miserable and as soon as I fixed my own misery, my life transformed and I flipped the ratios:

Happy Days : Blue Days – Sam until age 27
1 : 10

Happy Days : Blue Days – Sam post age 27
10 : 1

Well, I think I have rambled on long enough now so I’ll leave this post where it is. Watch out for some interesting changes to the blog; I can’t be a 20something freak forever 🙂

30s – I’m comin’ to getcha!!! x