As my twenty-first birthday approaches, I feel as though it might be time for a QLC (quarter life crisis, to those not in with the Gen Y lingo). I vividly remember standing alone on a balcony last year (sunbathing, nothing more ominous), grappling with the fact that I had turned twenty. TWENTY. OMG SO OLD. Now I have experienced being twenty for almost as long as anyone ever has, I can confirm that being old is somewhat underwhelming. Save for a growing appreciation for kitchenware and throw cushions, it’s not really discernably different from being nineteen. I still spectacularly fall over and injure myself on a weekly basis in the same way as I did when I was a sprog and I will never be able to use clingfilm. That’s just a fact.
Something so beautiful about our lives nowadays is our extended childhoods. Both of my grandmothers worked from the age of sixteen before marrying my grandfathers at which point their job was to be a mother and have babies. Of course some people still do this, however we have changed the structure of our world which now allows teenagers and those in their early twenties to experience some self-conscious freedom.
When I went home the other weekend I was struck by my brothers taking their cushty home life for granted. Sure they do chores like washing the car and mowing the lawn, however you don’t realise how nice it is to have you mum cook for you (with real in-date non-Lidl products no less), and to live in a clean house where laundry happens regularly until you’re freed into a world of pesto pasta and sniffing clothes to see if you can get away with wearing them. I now have the best of both worlds as I have the freedom of London life as well as going home and being pampered with a homemade curry once in a while. This age of being able to live at home and away at the same time is relatively new and helps to ease the transition between leaving the homestead and venturing into the ‘real world’. As such it almost fabricates the QLC as we are living in a completely different world to the one our parents showed us. They left home at a younger age, settled down at a younger age and managed to get on the property ladder (what even is that) somewhere along the way. So by logic we feel the pressure to sort our lives out because we compare ourselves to the generation above us, however in reality our lives are being completely restructured by the rapidly evolving world around us.
With any luck (or government legislation) women will be continually emancipated from the expectation of them having to choose between a career and a family with implementation of split parental leave and more flexible working hours for working mothers. As the daughter of a badass working mother I can safely say that having the role model of a woman who is able to look after three teenage children, work full time and cultivate a successful vegetable patch is pretty inspiring. Although I am biased, of course.
I guess what I’m trying to say is stop being so hard on today’s young adults. We were born into a world of cassette players and rudimentary internet and now we can do pretty much anything technology related on the little metal square we keep in our pocket (remember that moment you realised Spotify meant playing ANY song you wanted, not just what was on your iPod?… revolutionary). The rapid expansion of technology means that we are forced to learn at a relatively high speed which has made our lives easier in so many ways. But somehow expectations of life goals haven’t caught up with this surge. It’s illogical that in a rapidly expanding and excitingly globalised community that we should be expected to get a good job, meet an individual, get married, get a mortgage, have babies, lather rinse repeat as needed. But tried and tested does not necessarily mean better. As a woman I am so thankful for my ever-increasing freedom to move around the world with the prospect of infinite achievement without the worry of societal constraints, although I know many do not have this luxury. Embracing these changes will further society’s global development and pave the way for future badass women who will lead us into a world that maybe will develop something more user friendly to cover food with than bloody clingfilm.