When I was little, I always imagined that life would be similar to that of my Mum’s when she was my age. I thought by now I would have it all figured out, I’d have a job, have children, have my own place and that I’d pretty much be all grown up. I turn twenty one at the end of this month and thankfully, in some respects, things haven’t turned out like that. I’ve been stressing a lot lately about exactly what I want to do after university and I’ve taken the opportunity to play out many roles such as being an archivist and a journalist. As of the moment I’m typing this blog out, I’ve gone back to my original direction of post sixteen teaching, only now I hope that somewhere along the line I’ll get published alongside that. That’s not me indicating that I have plans to write huge novels or poetry, but maybe one day my opinion on the latest rock band will appear somewhere, or I would have succeeded in writing a well established academic article about the depiction of strong women in George R.R Martin’s series A Song of Fire and Ice.
I currently study full time, work part time and usually have a pretty good time. It’s often quite hard to ‘live for the moment’ because in terms of academics and careers, I’m always having to look forward. I already have to consider my massive project next year, my module choices, my options after graduation. In other areas of life, I often still look in the past, pretending I could change things, forever questioning things as anyone does. I don’t feel particularly grown up, I still spend most of my time laughing at memes on the internet. All grown up always sounds like a phrase that signifies finality, as if it’s the final destination of a very long journey. For me, it also carries the expectation of being old. Which I’m not. Admittedly there are times I feel old; I don’t really enjoy clubbing that much and I drink more tea than I do alcohol these days, but that’s only stereotyping ‘young.’ Anyway, how can one be all grown up when there is still so much growing left to do?
The next time a family member asks when I became all grown up, maybe I’ll say I didn’t. I haven’t. I don’t think I ever will. Instead, I’ll do nothing but grow as I also grow older. Maybe I’ll grow into many things, maybe I’ll be a mother, wife and an auntie. Maybe I’ll grow into an entirely different person to the one I am now, with different goals and ambitions. I intend to grow in determination and strength, I intend to grow and maintain relationships with important people. No one really knows what they’ll grow into, or even out of. There’s still not a clear definition as to what being all grown up really means. If it’s living in a house, paying bills, having a job etc, then I’m already there and it doesn’t feel like a massive accomplishment just yet.
If I ever reach being all grown up, I hope I’ll still feel as youthful and hopeful as I do right now. I’m pretty proud of where I’ll be on my twenty first birthday. I don’t really have anything figured out as of yet, other than meeting deadlines, going to work and spending time with my favourite people. I might not be all grown up like I thought I’d be, but the woman I could grow into is both enigmatic and exciting.