The Rarely Roaring Twenties

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Over the past year or so, I’ve spent a lot of time on this blog writing about ‘what it means to be a grownup’. Or, at least what I think it means to be one. I’m totally convinced I’m still a child. I’m 22, I moved to an entire new country, and I still don’t know what I want to do with my life. I’m just winging it really. That been said, there’s a lot of people on my Facebook feed who’ve been unnerving me a bit lately. People getting engaged, having babies, buying houses. What? There is no way I am ready for any of that. There is no way I want to do any of that.

I like to think that since moving to Madrid I’ve become a semi-grownup. Well, at least partly. I pay my rent on time. I cook food– with vegetables! I am trying to better myself and experience a whole variety of new things. But– and there’s always a but, I’m also aware that I’m pretty terrible too. Again, at least partly. So here’s a look at that, because this blog was getting way too positive recently.

  1. I don’t earn any money. I mean, I haven’t earned any money for over a year now (apart from like those two months I taught English). I’m pretty used to living the unemployed graduate life by now. I’m a pro at it. Nonetheless, it’s different to when I was at home. This time, I moved country to become an unemployed graduate. I pay rent to be an unemployed graduate. I buy my own food to be an unemployed graduate. Admittedly, I know that this internship will pay off, and that all the time I’m spending learning Spanish is beneficial to that whole bettering myself thing, and that I’ll teach English classes again eventually. But it’s still hard to shake the feeling that I’m slowly spending away all my life savings.
  2. In relation to this, I’m still a slave to buying material possessions. Not as bad as I once was, obviously. I used to use Topshop as a way to feel joy. And I barely own anything in this country compared to my room in the UK– stuffed to the brim with clothes and trinkets and books I’d never read. But I still can’t shake the happiness that comes with buying a new dress. Or some stationery. Or lipstick or a bag or even a new colander. I just like to buy. But I also don’t– because, y’know, I don’t make any money. But whether it’s a pair of boots or some antibacterial surface wipes, I still get the thrill of the spend. Which is so completely, ridiculously lame.
  3. I don’t know what I’m doing with my life. Possibly a normal one for most people my age (except for maybe not the weird ones who buy property), but I feel like most people are better at hiding it than I am. I did a degree in English. I padded it out with classes on film and gender and history and art. I trained as a TEFL teacher. I intern in social media marketing. I like writing and film and fashion and education and so many things and aaaaah what should I do with my life? I feel like I should at least have some semblance of an idea of what I want to do. Well, I do– I want to be J.K. Rowling or I want to be in a remake of LotR where I play all the characters or I want to do some good in the world or I want to do absolutely nothing but earn a lot of money. It’s a very overwhelming thought process and I feel like things should be a little clearer by now.
  4. Back to the clothes thing… but how are you supposed to dress like a grownup? Earlier this year I set out on a mission to get rid of everything that made me look like a teenager (which is a lot of things as I stand a mere 5ft tall on a good day). So far this means owning a lot of stripy breton tops and androgynous shirts and forever wearing heeled shoes to go buy grocery. I wear bright lipstick in the daytime and stopped buying costume jewellery. It may seem like the pettiest thing in the world, but I’m a firm believer in the ‘fake it ‘till you make it’ philosophy. And if I don’t feel like an adult, then I can sure well (try to) look like one. I mean, I still feel like I’m a kid dressing up in my mum’s old clothes and it pains me to resist buying anything with a Disney logo on it, but I’m getting there. Wherever ‘there’ is, anyway.
  5. To just grow the fuck up really. I still have to give myself a pep talk before I buy pads and I’d probably rather risk pregnancy than buy condoms. I’ve never made my own doctors or hairdressers appointments and I’m not exactly sure what a mortgage really is. I can move to another country on my own and try new things without any prior knowledge, but god forbid I ever have to speak to a shop assistant. I still feel like I need someone to hold my hypothetical hand in new situations, or even ones I’ve done a million times before. In Spain, I feel like a live in a bubble where my actions aren’t really happening. Like a video game or a choose your own adventure story– because this whole move is just so unlike me that I really can’t relate to any of things I’m doing. But I know that one day I’ll move back home and there’s a very good chance that I’ll have learnt nothing from this experience and go back to the shivering anxious wreck that I was only a mere four months ago.

So yeah. I’m scared, I don’t know what I’m doing, and I feel like a child. I can’t even begin to comprehend buying my own property, I have enough problems with trying to commit to an IKEA duvet set; caring for a human being, I’m 60% sure my cactus is dead; or agreeing to spend my life with another person– you might live to your eighties, can you really, truly, honestly tell me that you could spend sixty years with someone and not want to blow your own brains out or just make out with someone else for a bit?

Really I just need to know if everyone is as dazed as I am or if people really do feel so comfortable with their existence that they can settle down at 23. Either people are lying or I’m defected. I hated being a teenager when I was one, but it was a hell of a lot easier than this weird child/adult limbo thing.


Author: Rosanna Parrish

Brit exiled in Spain.

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