On not settling down even if you’re old af

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Photo by Artem Beliaikin on Pexels.com

The last couple of months have been somewhat turbulent for me. Work, side hustle(s), life in general – normally this is pretty manageable for me because I’m an absolute legend. However, throw in the decision to leave my current city (which I then retracted), a lack of forward planning and getting super sick with a mystery tropical disease which hung around for weeks, and it’s been a bit of a shitter.

This series of unfortunate events has had me questioning every aspect of my life, and one of the things that has been worrying me the most is my current/future life plan. It dawned on me the other day that I’m in the last year of my twenties and, while technically still a baby by most standards, I’ve been struggling to accept that next year I’ll enter my thirties. This is the decade in which (allegedly) you’re supposed to ‘grow up’, settle down, accept the crushing responsibilities of life and develop a back problem. I’M NOT READYYYY.

Despite having been alive for almost three decades, I still feel like I’m somewhere shy of my 18th birthday. Luckily, it’s 2019, so there’s never been a better time to be an existential mess. Society isn’t screaming at me to get married immediately. I’m not being pressured by my family to pop out kids. Many of my friends are in the same boat. It’s becoming more and more acceptable to bop around the world for longer, to delay ‘settling down’ or maybe not do it at all. So why do many of us still feel like we’re doing something wrong?

I suppose I wanted to write this post to reassure myself that I don’t have to enter retirement, at least not just yet. The truth is, only in the last few years has it become more socially acceptable to continue travelling and delay ‘settling down’ into your thirties, and even beyond. In a previous post, I talked about how terrified I am of growing up and how, with a bit of luck, I won’t have to, maybe ever. And in reality, I don’t have to. We’re delaying everything these days, from marriage, to kids, to owning property. Many people are realising that this model isn’t for them at all. And you know what? It actually doesn’t matter that much.

I’ve always subscribed to the idea of something outside the traditional life path OH MY GOD I SOUND LIKE SUCH A DOUCHEBAG. So imagine my surprise when a few weeks ago, I went into a panic about how my time was ‘running out’ nd I was no longer able to do crazy stuff. It was literally like being run over. I felt like I’d woken up from a year-long coma to discover that I’d missed a chunk of my life, but I wasn’t ready to step into the next part yet. It was TERRIFYING. I’ve felt like that only once before – at 26, when I ended my long term relationship and left my then-career. I thought I was ‘too old’ then to start again and panicked for days about a solo trip where I’d booked into a hostel, expecting to be the oldest there by at least five years. It was a nice surprise to meet people in their thirties, forties and even older, all of whom were just travelling around and loving life. ‘AAaaaah,’ I thought, ‘These are my PEOPLE’.

I’ve had to remind myself of this over the past few weeks. Everyone grows, changes and does things at their own pace. THEIR OWN PACE DAMMIT. The quarter life crisis can strike at any time – multiple times, in fact. So be prepared, and keep things open.

I guess what I’m trying to say in this slightly rambling post is that, whatever stage you’re at in life, it’s fine. It’s genuinely never too late to switch things up and start again, change up your career, reinvent yourself. Look at Madonna, for eff’s sake. Or don’t, whatever, I don’t care. But the point is, you’re not too old. However old you actually are.

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