A few months ago I saw a quotation someone had shared on social media. The quote is as follows:
This immediately reassured me, as I do feel that the twenties generation faces a lot of pressure of high expectations and achieving great potential from society.
There are many ways to look at this situation, one being that time changes. People used to get jobs and settle into careers, started paying for a mortgage, got married and had children when they were, what we consider now, young (in their twenties). Nowadays, people are starting to do some of these things later in their lives, most notably marriage and starting a family.
One main reason for settling down later is prolonged life expectancy. As humans have evolved, our life spans have increased gradually, mostly due to improving healthcare and resistance to diseases. For example, the vast majority of women in developed countries survive the labours of child birth, compared to many years ago when both child and mother were at a high risk of death. With an expected long life expectancy, younger people do not feel the need to rush into marriage or partnership and produce children if they so desire.
I certainly live my life in this way. I am fortunate to have been born in a developed country, where the expected life expectancy in the UK is 80.54 years. When I do consider what to do with my life, I always think ‘I have my whole life ahead of me’. I feel that I do not need to rush into things straight away, and there is not a sense of urgency either, I feel, in others who think in this way as well.
A popular phrase amongst my generation and younger ones is ‘you only live once’ (YOLO). I remember when YOLO first came about and it was (is) often used in a negative context, such as stupidity and lack of common sense. I’d see images of people on the internet doing chaotic and sometimes life threatening things, with the words YOLO alongside. I do follow the belief that we only live once, but I avoid using the highly contested phrase.
Quite often I have heard my parents mention that when they were my age, they had a house together with a mortgage and were working in established careers. As I’ve already mentioned, times do change. While I would like to have my own place, I cannot afford it currently, as I am studying a Masters and obviously cannot work full-time.
I remember feeling worried when some of my friends I went to university with for my undergraduate degree knew exactly what they were going to do career wise. I still to this day do not know what I would like to do however; I am not seeing this as a problem or something to worry about.
With ‘my whole life ahead of me’, I want to explore before I enter a career. You know what? What I really want to do is travel around somewhere in the world for a period of time (2-4 months) and then take any opportunity that comes up for a career I am interested in, such as media, publishing or journalism. In fact, I want to explore several careers during my lifetime, and potentially study a PhD and enter the world of academia later in my life.
I do believe that we only live once. Since this is the case, I want to make the most of it by trying out different careers, travelling around the world, meeting new people and building networks, and to add to all this excitement, marriage in my later life. If there is one thing I do know, I don’t want children until I’m at least thirty!
Happy reading and blogging!