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