There are days where I am sinking. Where I am sinking so fast I wonder how soon it will be until I hit the bottom.
But then there are better days, where my head is above water as I tread to stay on top. Its not quite swimming but it’s something and I think that everything might just be OK.
I think water is the best metaphor to describe twenty something’s navigating their ways through life. You no longer have the inflatable that you were so comfortably nestled into, whilst studying or living at home. You are suddenly thrown into the deep end and you can hear society shouting ‘SWIM’ when there are some days that you think you might drown.
Added weight in water does nothing but hold you down. You have laps to complete, whether that be in the form of bills to pay, a job to obtain, a job to maintain, or even work and self-‐satisfaction. Include societies expectations of you as well and suddenly the weight is even greater. Millenials reflect on what they don’t have more than any other generation. The goal posts have been moved from previous generations and whilst our parents would have strived for job stability and security, we strive for limitless opportunity and have been drilled to ‘reach for the stars’. You can see the problem here and why so many of us feel like we’re struggling to stay on top of the surface.
Twenty something’s are constantly seeking validation that what they are doing is right. Constantly comparing themselves against their friends and colleagues that they are matching up to the ‘status quo’ that society has set them. We exude confidence, quick to assure any prying eyes that we are very much ‘smashing life’, but inwardly we are riddled with worries.
‘Is this right? Do other people feel like this? Is this it?’
We are bright, intelligent individuals who seek to do well, however many of us start off over worked and under paid because employers know that they can get away with it. If you don’t want the job there are 50 people waiting in the line right behind you who do. You will find many a twenty something wondering why they haven’t thought of a new app idea, written a best seller or created at least something! The media sensationally broadcasts the young symbols of success and you berate yourself for not having done at least half of what they have. Instagrammers, bloggers and vloggers whose job role apprises of making you want their lives, can claw into your sub-conscious, but only if you let it…
Don’t get swept up in the current of limitless expectations. As much as you think everyone is expecting the world and more from you they’re not. The only person more often than not that is setting yourself such high standards is you. The problem with this is even if you were to reach them the chances are you still wouldn’t be content. We are always seeking more, which whilst both aspirational and admirable can also be toxic. Where is the cut off point? Why is it that so many of us secretly rate our self worth much lower down the scale than it should be?
Ultimately, the goal is to be happy, at least it is for my friends and I. There are days that can feel like you’re are sinking and every now and then you have a day where you think you’re teetering even closer to the bottom than you would like to be… But that’s ok. It’s these low points that make us human. You’re amongst hundreds of thousands of people who’ve had moments of despair, as the fear sinks in and they’re questioning every life choice they’ve ever made. However, the days where you’re treading water are the good days. Yes, you don’t have it cracked but you’re working at it. You’ve broken the surface, you’re making it work.
Then will come the days where you start to swim and those are the best days. What is key to remember is no person has the exact same stroke; we all swim with our own perception of a stroke. So the chances are the things that make you happy don’t necessary equate to someone else’s happiness or if you like successes. Whether you’re sinking, swimming or just treading water, remember that the human body has a relative density compared to water. Even when you think you’re sinking, your body’s buoyancy allows you to float. See this as a metaphor for how resilient we as humans are. No matter what negative forces are being thrown at you remember that your mind has the capacity to bounce back and that more times than not it and you, will be OK.
Just try to enjoy it.
Twenty Mile Club