I’ve been a real adult twenty-one year old for just under two months now and nothing has changed. I’m yet to detect any wrinkles, grey hairs or anything at all to really to signify this oh-so-significant coming of age. In short, I’m completely unimpressed. My transition to supposed ‘adulthood’ has been altogether uninspiring. There has been no ethereal transformation, no magic ‘this is it’ moment, I am still very much myself. My Dr Martens are yet to transform into LouBoutins and my un-ironic knitwear collection is yet to shape-shift into the sharp Devil Wears Prada-esque attire one would associate with a twenty-something doing it ‘right’. Have I missed something? I’m still me… Is that okay? Yes.
What I have come to realise, at the grand old age of 21 is that it’s okay to be a little clueless. If i’ve learnt anything from GIRLS, Fleabag, Men are From Mars, Women are from Venus, it’s that most of us are just muddling through, and sometimes the muddle is half the fun. Thus, I have a compiled a completely uncomprehensive list of things that it really is alright not to have figured out by the time you reach this (not so) momentous age.
1. It is totally okay for you not to know what you’re doing with your life. This is the big one. Something happens, not to you, but to everyone around you, just after you’ve blown out those candles and polished off that last slice of Colin the Caterpillar cake. People expect you to have it all figured out. Overnight you are obligated to have some sort of epiphany about your future, the stars are meant to align and you’re supposed to have a grasp of the dreaded 5 year plan. You’re meant to understand what you want to do with that degree you’ve been studying for (or at least very least have an idea of how to start your dissertation), you’re meant to apply for a credit card (and not be rejected – again), you’re meant to have a glowing GPA and a stand out CV and you’re meant to bloody understand how Linkden works. You’re meant to be a philanthropist and be on a committee for a charity, or have a by-line in the times, and have a grasp of exactly how bills work and tax and bloody Spotify subscriptions. But, you don’t, and no one does, and that’s okay. That’s what wine is for.
2. It’s okay to wish you were a little less you and a little more someone else. This is one you’re not meant to agree with. You’re meant to achieve total empowerment in your twenties. You should, by now, have learned to love all your wobbly bits and have acquired some sort of inner peace with the you-that you are, and all the things you are not and will never be. That being said, i’m going to say it is also okay not to feel that way. You are allowed to lust after a little of what someone else has; to appreciate what other people have got and be unafraid to say you want a slice of it. There is nothing wrong with wanting to better yourself or taking inspiration from someone you admire to do that. Role models aren’t always unhealthy. You can learn a lot from other people’s confidence, how they have learned to love their wobbly bits, their not-so perfect somethings, so long as you also do a little of appreciating your own.
3. It’s okay to have no concept of how long is too long to go without putting a wash on. This is self explanatory, but seriously, does anyone know how long is too long? No. Don’t worry about it. It’s also okay that it still takes you half an hour to change your bed sheets and that you often find yourself stuck in the duvet cover. It’s not as easy as your mum always made it look…
4. It is never just you.I promise, someone else feels the same. Someone else will feel it tomorrow, next week. It will pass.
5. It’s alright to admit that you’re lonely. This is a big one. Even when you’re surrounded by friends, family, deadlines, things to do, it’s okay for you to feel a little on your own. Chances are someone you think has it all figured out is sitting at home feeling exactly the same. Ps, ferociously swiping on Tinder will not fill this void. Pals and ice-cream, however, will help.
6. It’s not a weakness to ask for help. Whether it’s asking your tutor what the bloody hell an annotated bibliography is, admitting that you’re lost and Google Maps is actually not your friend or asking your flatmate how to defrost a month old Lasagne your mum made for you: just ask. You’ll save a lot of time and you might learn something. it’s not a weakness to admit you don’t have a clue.
7. It is completely acceptable for you to admit that you actually, un-ironically, enjoyed every moment of watching Jane the Virgin. It’s amazing, it’s got five stars on Netflix for a reason, trust me.
8. It’s also okay for you to (again completely un-ironically) confess that you read your horoscope every week like it’s gospel. It’s okay to have faith in your sun-sign, but please, do not do what I have done and lock yourself indoors all day because “it’s looking like Leo may run into an ex-boyfriend in Sainsbury’s sometime between the hours of 12 and 4pm on Monday the 15th of May”. That’s actually insane. Also, don’t complain to Cosmopolitan when they get your weekly predictions wrong; they don’t respond well and they will block you from theirTwitter account, rude.
9. It’s okay to feel hurt.
10. It’s okay that you don’t always love your life. Because no-one ever does. Just savour the moments that you do: there will always be more.
11. It’s okay to admit that the last book you genuinely enjoyed reading was part of the Harry Potter franchise. Because, let’s face it – nothing could be better.
12. It’s okay for you to still feel that the only music that truly speaks to your soul is an angsty old Kate Nash album. Foundations, amirite?
13. Regretfully, it is also okay to admit that you’ve already booked tickets to see her live next again next month. (I’m lying, this is completely unacceptable, but you’ve paid for it now so you’d better go)
14. It’s okay to call your friends out when they’re being shitty. We’ve all done it and sometimes we all just need to hear it. Plus, if they’re a real pal they will already know and you’ll get through it.
15. It’s okay for them to call you out too. Because, the same thing applies to you.
16. You are allowed to eat the pizza. Dominos is your friend, that’s why they text you so often.
17. You are not allowed to punish yourself for eating the pizza. Have a salad tomorrow.
18. It’s okay that you have no concept of how LinkedIn actually works. I mean, seriously? What’s the point in even having one when they only thing on your CV is a part time job in Cath Kidston? ALSO people can see when you’ve viewed your profile so STOP showing everyone your ex boyfriend’s profile. Yes it’s hilarious, but everyone will know you’re being a crazy ex and (let’s face it) that’s a reality you’d rather keep under wraps.
19. It’s okay to say you don’t like that TV show that everyone else is obsessed with *cough* Drag Race. Just because it’s trending doesn’t mean you have to love it, and it certainly doesn’t mean you have to memorise the tag-lines just to feel relevant… Sashay away, indeed.
20. It’s okay to say you LOVE something that has never and will never be cool. Embrace it, it will be ironic/cool/inspired/trendy again in a couple of years and you’ll be in on the joke.
21. It’s okay to trip over, just, for goodness sake, pick yourself back up again.
Thanks for reading,
Katy J xo