I feel like I have been sending out a lot of cards lately. Not postcards, but ones with pictures of champagne bottles, prams, and some generic scenic photograph on the front.
‘Congratulations on your engagement, sorry I can’t be there to celebrate.’
‘Congratulations on your baby, sorry I can’t be there for a cuddle.’
‘Congratulations on your wedding, sorry I couldn’t be there to make a dick of myself on free wine.’
When the fuck did this happen? When did we start getting old?
It was around the time that my city’s main newsagent started greeting me on first name basis (which in England is ‘Neighbours Girl’) as I memorised Hallmark’s latest, that I started to question myself. It is a question that many people with travel bug bites scarring their body will one day face. Do I eventually want to settle down and be normal one day?
When loved ones around me began reaching significant milestones in their lives that I thought were still decades off, it left me re-evaluating my own life and wondering how I came to actually live in a country where milestones are found on highways rather than in rhetoric. It left me asking the big questions. I’ve been single for FIVE YEARS??? I’ve spent HOW MUCH on travel and beer and spaghetti??? People I graduated with are doing WHAT???
I have a few plans for my life. Nothing grand, I just want to live in the UK as long as this visa will have me, live in the Canadian wilderness for a bit, make a home in New York City and become the fifth wheel of Carrie’s gang, backpack South America, relive my adventures in South-East Asia, work a summer in Greece before it implodes, evade the sex slave trade in Russia, backpack eastern Europe, nurse sick orphans back from the brink of death in Africa, and know my own backyard like the back of my toilet door after jungle curry.
In the meantime, I’ll maintain tight relationships with friends back home, see my family regularly and be around for all the big moments, have a kick-arse career, earn enough money to model my home loosely on something like a Loire Valley chateau, become a qualified gym instructor for spare times when I feel like a little career shift, master French, Spanish and Italian, do another degree for the fun of it, marry the man of my dreams who will have an Irish/Scottish accent after years of a happy relationship while I still don’t have to hold my tits up with a belt, and be the MILF that punches out wholesome children who I shall feed Nutri-Grain to grow into sexy triathlete boys.
I still believe I can do all this (because after all I am going to live forever), but with every card I push through that frozen red Royal Mail slot, the reality of life sets in and I am left wondering if I really can have the life I dream of without making any sacrifices. Travelling over a career? Adventures over weddings? Welcome to the dilemma of Generation Y, where sometimes too many options aren’t exactly a blessing.
As a 24-year-old, I want it all, and I want it now. I want to roam the entire world, but I want a home. I want kids before my ovaries shrivel up, but I want freedom. I want a loyal husband to share a life with, but I also want that exotic guy over there….and there…..oohh and that one in blonde! In the end, I have learnt the only way to stop these feelings of mortal panic is to screw society’s expectations and to stop comparing my life to others. Life will happen as it does.
And whoever says I can’t raise a baby while laughing with Samantha and Miranda in Manhattan during my lunch break as a roving reporter as the city marvels at my tight arse from all the personal training sessions I hold in Italian in my spare time can go jump.