I’m turning 25 next February, and as of now (July 19th) I have 218 days until I hit my quarter life mark. 25 is a significant number. It would have been three years since I’ve graduated university, and officially entered the ‘adult world.’ It represents a division between the ‘early 20s’ and ‘late 20s.’ In your early 20s, you’re allowed to search for yourself’ and are forgiven for having setbacks in your career. In your late 20s, the judgement around your lack of progress isn’t as forgiving. It’s really stupid to be saying this out loud, but I’ve been feeling tense and stress about turning 25, even though I have more than six months until that marker. It’s not as if I’ve been sitting around and doing nothing since then, nor am I in any position to judge those who have. I’ve had a taste of a ‘real job’, and while it was a nice boost into the corporate world – I’ve since moved onto another interest. Or rather, fully accepted the life I’ve always wanted, and am taking little brave steps towards it.
I work as a full-time freelance writer. As someone who is so new to the writing world, it’s not an easy place to start. With little experience and a slim list of contacts, finding work can be a struggle. It’s not a consistent salary, and the amount of time I spend chasing clients for payment is disheartening.
Each person’s life is different and goes at different paces. Creatives, like myself, tend to fall off of the traditional ‘practical route’ and choose to the take the risky path. My desire to become a full-time writer eventually outshone my fears of leaving the comfortable lifestyle I was happily working towards. My dreams of one day running a successful publication are now more of a priority, then something I would daydream about while I was doing my 9-5. However, committing to this lifestyle won’t turn you into Carrie Bradshaw overnight. If anything, you won’t turn into anything within the next 10 years or so.
While I’m confident in my decision most of the time, my pride is continually overshadowed by the shame I feel when I scroll through my Facebook feed. I can’t help but compare myself to friends on Facebook who have made the decision to follow that same practical route I used to be a part of. Friends my age, or those who are younger, are celebrating new job promotions at companies they joined immediately after graduating from University. Some are tagging themselves at airports on their way to business trips companies have paid for them. I hate that I feel this way, but, at times I can’t help it. I can’t help but feel jealous. I think to myself, ‘that could have been me’, or if I’m feeling a little extra pretty, ‘that idiot thinks The East Coast of America was still owned by the Queen of England – how come she gets to go on an all-expense paid trip to New York for two weeks?!” (true story)
This feeling, of course, is deeply rooted in my insecurity on the decision I’ve made. It’s where all the jealous feelings come from. Instead of posting big career news, I spend my days chasing down clients, rationing food and figuring out a way to ask my parents for more money, while sending out job apps for part time sales assistant positions.
At times when I feel like I’m falling behind on everyone else, I torture myself by weighing out my possibilities. Would I be happier falling back into the corporate world, without even trying to be a writer or Trying to be a writer, without falling back into the corporate world? I find that my decision changes every so often. What if I could’ve done both? What if I had pushed myself harder to write at night, and work by day? Have I made a mistake? Am I really too young to be taking risks like this? What if I don’t make it and find that I barely have anything to put on my CV at the age of 45?