Why are we racing to adulthood?

June has been a bit of a nothingness month for me aside from pretty major one event – I turned 25.

25.

Mid 20s. As close to 30 as 20. A quarter of a century. A fully-fledged adult. The age at which my parents got married. The age at which as a kid I thought I’d be married and own a home and have a kid.

It goes without saying that I have none of those things.

But I read a quote recently which sums up my attitude perfectly – I’m right on schedule with my life plan now I’ve pushed everything back eight years.

Because looking at it now 25 is far too young for all those things. I’m amazed my parents felt mature enough at 25 to get married. I can’t keep a plant alive, I still cry at adverts, I sometimes eat biscuits for dinner; I’ve no business making life shaping decisions. Owning a home, having children and getting married are all things that can wait because when else in my life am I going to get the chance to be accountable to no one but me?

This hit me while re-reading Wild by Cheryl Strayed and just provides further proof that I should adopt it as my own personal bible. Talking about her mother she says, ‘I never got to be in the driver’s seat of my own life… I’ve always been someone’s daughter or mother or wife. I’ve never just been me.’

That’s what I am right now. I’m just me. Tied to nothing. In practical terms I’d have to give one month’s notice at work and two months’ notice on my flat but after that I could just walk out of my life. I could splurge all my savings on an around the world trip. I could move to Australia or Canada or Europe (although not for long). I could go back to University. Or I could continue as I’m doing now and just live my life exactly as I’ve made it around me. Eating what I want for dinner, even if that is occasionally biscuits, spending my money on iced lattes, second hand books, fancy cheeses, fresh flowers, days out to castles, landmarks and zoos and one extravagant, exotic holiday a year. Yes I’ll have a savings account too, I am unendingly sensible after all, but this is the one time in my life when I’ll have financial security, disposable income and no one dependent on me; I finally get to treat myself without guilt, without debt.

And slowly but surely, through reading and working and day to day life experience, I’ll become a well-rounded woman. The kind of confident, self-assured woman 13 year old me could never have imagined. Ready to face the serious, big things when I need to.

These lost years of the mid to late 20s when you’ve been thrown out into the world to live independently are the best gift that the feminist cause has given us so far and we are not even close to appreciating it. Women just twenty years ago didn’t get this option. Lizzy Bennet, Helen Graham, Tess Durbyfield, Cassandra Mortmain, Esther Greenwood; none of them got this option and they all so desperately needed it.

So I’m going to stop worrying about getting ready for the future, racing through life to the next goal post, and use this time to become a really good version of myself.

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This month I’ve been…

I’m really bad at these monthly wrap-up posts because the end of the month always comes as such a shock. It’s really only just clicked that we’re in the last week of April and so now might be a good time to start on my wrap-up post. At least that’s a bit better than doing what I usually do – waiting until I see loads of other people posting them to remember and having to churn something out in the last half an hour of the month. Continue reading “This month I’ve been…”

This month I’ve been…

The impossible has happened. In March I have read as many books as I’ve bought (insert Hallelujah Chorus here). It may not look like it from the pictures above but that’s only because Carry On had to be returned to the library before I got a chance to take the photo.

And along with finishing those four, I’m a solid third into The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides, so that’s practically like having read more than I’ve bought and I think I’m coming over all faint at the mere thought.

Of the four books I’ve finished Station Eleven is the clear winner of the Best Book prize. And as soon as I convince myself to sit down and review it you can all hear why. But in the meantime just trust me when I say that it is well worth your money and time. Continue reading “This month I’ve been…”

This month I’ve been…

Books with a winter outfit

My biggest achievement of February has definitely been my book buying – I’ve only bought two books. Two books! Granted it is the shortest month so two days less temptation but still! I couldn’t believe it when I was looking through my shelves but nope – In a Dark Dark Wood and Only Ever Yours are the full extent of it; my bank balance must be so happy.

And I’m very glad that my book buying has been so successful (or unsuccessful depending on how you look at it) because my actual book reading has been a complete and utter failure. I am still reading War and Peace. I’m stuck at three quarters of the way through and my motivation to get any further is just non-existent. Continue reading “This month I’ve been…”

Distractions

As I write this Veronica Mars is playing on the TV, I have a half finished jigsaw spread out on the table and several tabs of Sporcle quizzes loading. Dinner is in the oven, I’ve got a load of washing in the dryer and before I go to bed I still need to shower, paint my nails and pack some lunch for tomorrow. Phew.

That has been my problem this week – distractions. Every night I come home with the intention of really knuckling down and writing some blog posts. But there always ends up being something more important – Pancake day, doing the washing up, putting my feet up and eating humongous amounts of biscuits because, uh my day has been so stressful (then being wracked with guilt, then doing the whole thing over again the next day).

But it’s been almost two weeks since my last book review was published and I cannot break my one remaining New Year’s Resolution. I haven’t reviewed my finances, War and Peace has put me well behind my reading schedule, I’m still a slave to the list post, but there has been one book review every fortnight. And by god there will be one this week!

Jack of all trades

A character trait of mine that I am acutely aware of is that I have trouble maintaining focus. All my life I’ve been good at lots of things (excluding sport, I’m a lost cause when it comes to exercise) but never excelled at anything. Which, alongside my natural indecisiveness, has meant I spread myself too thinly, hopping from one interest to another as the mood takes me, whether that be hobbies, careers or this blog.

I started this blog with the sole focus being books, but sometimes I just like writing for the sake of writing so I had to include a general life section. And I love baking so I couldn’t not blog about that. And travel; what am going to do with all those travel pictures if I don’t share them on my blog?

Instead of consistently maintaining all of those sections I flit between one and the next. Two recipe posts a year does not a food blog make. I can’t remember the last time I posted about travel. And life posts come as and when the inspiration strikes, often in phases and then nothing for months.

As with so many of my flaws I am aware of it, dwell on it, lament it, but don’t actually have the drive or resolve to do anything about it. Not that I have any idea what could be done.

So why am I writing this? Because all my book blogging efforts are going on trying to keep up my fortnightly reviews, I have little to no interest in cooking at the moment but I do have a great idea for a new travel series. Not that I’ve put pen to paper yet. Or fingers to keyboard. Too easily distracted, that’s me.

2016 Resolutions Tag

I saw this tag done by Shannon at In a Wonderland They Lie and thought it seemed like a nice way to set myself some (hopefully) achievable goals for the coming year, both bookish and not.

 

READING RESOLUTIONS

In 2016 I will…

  1. Read at least 52 books – I managed 53 this year and I need to keep up that speed if I’m ever going to get through my mountainous and ever growing TBR pile. Or one day I may literally die after I’m crushed by all the books I haven’t yet read
  2. Read more books than I buy – because this year it’s just got out of hand. And my bank balance will be truly grateful
  3. Keep track of what I’m reading – time to actually use that GoodReads account

 

BLOGGING RESOLUTIONS

In 2016 I will…

  1. Post more reviews – I’ve already made a resolution to post a review at least every other week and hopefully with practice they’ll get easier and I can increase this to once a week
  2. Less lists, more actually posts – a properly thought out post may be harder to write but all these lists are just a sign of laziness on my part
  3. Make more of my travel section – I have this travel section, I have loads of travelling experiences and photographs, time to bring the two together and actually make it a fully-fledged feature of my blog

 

PERSONAL RESOLUTIONS

In 2016 I will…

  1. Take more photos – I do so many great things that years from now I’ll never remember because I don’t photograph them. I have this technology at my fingertips so I need to make the most of it
  2. Properly look through my finances – I have no idea where I spend most of my money, I don’t even really know if I’m living within my means. As horrendous as it might be to do it will be such a relief to have a budget to work to
  3. Exercise – Such a cliché I know but in 2015 my laziness levels have become comparable to those of a sloth. Once I’ve taken a look at my finances I might splash out on a gym membership so I can rediscover Zumba classes. Or just do a Ministry of Sound work out DVD in my lounge once a week

My biggest achievements of 2015

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One day into 2016 and already I’m looking longingly over my shoulder at 2015!

At this time of year I should be setting out my New Year’s resolutions and although I’ve started thinking up a few – take more photos, read more books than I buy and finally drop those extra eight pounds I’ve been carrying since uni – I’d first like to take a moment to look back at 2015.

The obvious thing to look back at is my New Year’s Resolution from last year which was in a year’s time to be anywhere but England. Clearly that didn’t quite pan out.

But you know what, I’m ok with that. So my year hasn’t been filled with amazing life changing experiences, it’s been successful in a quieter more grown-up way. Whereas 2013 had graduating from uni and 2014 had a two month trip around North America, 2015 has been more about the serious matters of getting a job and moving out.

So my first major achievement, and to get the boring one out the way, is that for nine months of this year I have been employed. In an actual job. That I get paid to do and am good at (most days). Until this year I’d been finding it almost impossible to have any kind of consistent employment. But what started as a four week temporary assignment has turned into something I could really make into a career (although with my contract running out at the end of January I’m going to need to cross all my fingers and toes for yet another miracle).

Second, which kind of goes hand in hand with the first, is getting my own little studio flat. And one day, I swear, I will photograph it and do a post about it. Because it’s just so cute you have to see it – books and bookish decorations everywhere (of course). If you’d have told me at the beginning of January that by summer I would have moved out of my parents house and be living on my own I would have first scoffed in complete disbelief, and second panicked at the thought of such a huge step. But when it came to it it wasn’t really scary at all.

And talking of things that are scary, this year I have conquered one of my biggest fears – talking on the telephone. I have hated talking on the telephone since I was a little kid. I just get so flustered that I forget everything I’m meant to be saying. So when two days into my job I was given a list of 40 people and told to phone them all, well, I almost had to disappear off to the toilets to have a panic attack. Seven months later and I talk on the phone every single day. And although I wouldn’t exactly say I enjoy it, I can at least do it without feeling like the walls are closing in around me.

From something stressful to something sweet. 2015 was the year I ticked a major life’s goal off my bucket list – holding a baby. It was something that I’d just never had the opportunity to do but as I was getting a bit older this was starting to be a serious predicament – how could I know if I wanted a baby of my own if I’d never even been near one? Well just like buses, it turns out babies come along in twos as I have now held two babies. It wasn’t exactly a comfortable experience but I’m happy to report I didn’t drop either of them. Yay. And that – big shock – they’re really cute.

And my final achievement this year – which I probably shouldn’t have left until last because it’s a little underwhelming I’ll admit – is getting my ears pierced again, and then again. I’ve been wanting three lobe piercings for around two years now mostly because I just think it looks cool. And a little bit to get back at my ex boyfriend who always said he’d break up with me if I got my ears pierced again. Well screw you, Matt! (I just want to point out I’m not really that bitter, it’s been two years, I mostly did it because I think it looks cool). I’d been really psyching myself out about how painful it would be, hence the long wait, but my friend finally convinced me to go through with it and what a fuss I’d been making over nothing! Barely felt a thing. In fact it hurt so little that exactly five weeks later, on a whim and on my own, I went and got the third hole done. Just a few days ago I was finally able to change those earrings and I was right, my ears do look cool.

I can only hope 2016 will bring me as many achievements, big or small, monumental or just another piercing (don’t worry dad, I’m mostly kidding).

Where’s my inspiration gone?

It seems that all I’m good for at the moment is lists.

I sit down to write other posts and the inspiration just does not come. Five books have been and gone without me having even the slightest inclination to review them. A couple of them it’s because I’ve felt pretty blah about the whole thing afterwards and it’s hard to write 500 words on a book that didn’t make you feel anything. But I loved Eleanor and Park and I still can’t find a way to express it.

Even this post, just a filler post to empty out my head and try and shake off some of the cobwebs, has taken three goes to write.

It’s also not helping how miserable it is in the evenings. The lighting really isn’t conducive to photo-taking and sometimes the photos are my favourite parts of my blog posts.

The last time I had a period like this I blamed it on work draining all of my energy, leaving me nothing left to be creative with. And as much as I think it might be that again, I don’t like the idea that from now on if I’m working, I can’t be blogging (especially as my contract has now been extended to the end of January – hallelujah).

I desperately don’t want to abandon this blog. For one thing I really enjoy it. Another, I’ve put in some much hard work, and written so many posts I’m really proud of, I can’t leave it to flounder after only one year.

As bad as it might be, I’d rather be publishing something than nothing. Because I’m fairly certain that if I go a couple of weeks without posting anything I’ll fall out of the habit and that’ll be that. So lists it is. You can expect a lot of lists. Well, maybe not a lot. A once a week list. Mostly a Top Ten Tuesday list. Thank god for The Broke and the Bookish is all I can say.

What a difference a day makes

I wrote a post yesterday about how great my life is going. How much progress I’ve made in the past six months. How everything’s looking good for the future – ‘I’m on a rollercoaster that only goes up,’ as Augustus Waters said.
And then today I’ve got that knot in my stomach and nervous thumping of my heart that means somewhere in the back of my mind is a negative thought that I just can’t shake – in two months my contract is up and I go back to being unemployed.

I’d got overly confident, cocky even, that my contract would just be extended again. It had happened three times before; of course it was going to happen again. I was acting like I was a permanent member of staff; worrying with the others about what the situation would be next year, planning my holidays so that I wouldn’t go over my annual leave allowance, picturing myself there for years to come. I thought I was immune to cursing myself, that my old belief that ‘when things happen in one’s imaginings they never happen in one’s life’ was no longer true. I was an adult now and couldn’t hold to such silly, childish superstitions.

And yet in reality the prospect is looking a little bleak. A lot bleak. And it seems November is going to the month when I have to return to the hateful, soul-destroying task of applying for jobs. And being turned down. Even if I did get a job it wouldn’t be as good as this one. I wouldn’t like the people as much and I’d lose the friends I have made in the office, fade in their memories as just another temp who came and then went.

I might now have a greater skill set, more experience, more confidence even but in so many ways I’m no different to how I was in April. When I face a problem, a bump in the road, I’d rather wallow in it, let myself be defeated by it, than stand up and face it head on, with steely resolve and a plan of action. It’s certainly too early to be calling myself an adult, I’m still very much a work in progress.