Earlier this week I saw this meme doing the rounds…
Although it’s obviously meant as a joke (could it be anything else if it features a Kardashian? Oops, did I say that out loud?), it’s matched up perfectly with some things I’ve been thinking about a lot recently. It’s currently been shared sixty six THOUSAND times, which also makes me realise that I’m not alone and has prompted me to write this.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, life in your early twenties is hard.
I’m in this limbo state, I’m trying to be as independent at possible, but I’m currently still living at home. Don’t get me wrong, I am hugely family orientated and I love being with my parents, but it does add another layer of complexity to this whole thing. I’m trying to be a daughter and slot into the family setting, but on the other side of the coin I’m also trying to be a strong self-sufficient person when it comes to my career, or my life outside of the home.
It can really be a very conflicting and difficult time and can really make you question who you are!
Personally, I really feel like I’m trying to spin a lot of plates.
As an employee, I’m working long days where, while I’m at work, I want to excel. I’m trying to get shit done and forge my career path. I want to be successful- who doesn’t?! And I think I’m just about getting to grips with it all. However, I’m currently doing an hour’s drive each way, so when I get home I’m shattered. Some days all I have time for is dinner, a bath and bed. The phrase ‘you use this house like a hotel!’ springs to mind! My parents would never deliberately make me feel bad for it, but sometimes I do feel guilty for perhaps not always being the best daughter. I am still dependent on them for so much, but I’m trying to stand on my own two feet as well and that’s hard. It’s the phase of life that I like to refer to as ‘pretend adulting’.
As a member of a family I’m also trying to juggle the personas of sister, niece, cousin, granddaughter. A few months ago my Grandpa was taken into care. He has cancer, he suffers from dementia and is incredibly frail and now essentially bed ridden. Although I know I’d find it really cathartic to write about our experiences, it’s not something I will go into in great detail on here at the moment, out of respect for my family who may not want to read it. However it’s fair to say that it hasn’t exactly been an easy ride for any of us. After a long week at work, I don’t always want to take a day out of my weekend to visit him at the care home and have to sit there surrounded by that atmosphere, or be confronted by the fragility of his life. But then I feel guilty about that. Guilty that I’m not there to support my Mum, or to play beautiful Welsh music to my Grandpa, or to talk rubbish with my Grandma about what I’ve had for dinner that week (sidenote- why are Grandma’s so obsessed with your diets?!). Again, I know that none of my family would ever judge me for that, or think badly of me, but it’s just yet another plate to spin.
Let’s also talk about trying to maintain a social life. I’m lucky enough to have lots of great friends from lots of different areas of my life, but trying to keep up with all of them on a regular basis can be really difficult. I’ve spoken about the difficulty of keeping friendships in your twenties before, and I think about my role as a friend a lot because I care so deeply about the people in my life. I truly love my friends, but trying to juggle friendships, work, family commitments and still having some time left over for yourself is one hard task! God forbid if I had a boyfriend too, I genuinely don’t see how anyone has time for that! 😂
Add my own health into the mix and those plates are really starting to wobble. As you know, I’ve had a bit of a tumultuous relationship with my health throughout the years. As a migraine sufferer, who is currently trialling a gluten free diet, (more on that in another post), this makes all of the above so much harder to deal with. Not only am I juggling being an employee, a daughter, a granddaughter, a friend- I also need to recognise the limits of my body. I believe it’s really important to have hobbies or focuses outside of work to break up the week a little bit, but only this week I had to miss attending my choir rehearsals because of a migraine. That’s ok, a lot of people have it a lot worse than I do, but it really is just something else to have to think about. Having a constant battle between what you want to do and what your body can handle is exhausting, especially when you already feel like you’re trying to balance so many other aspects in your life.
And while all of this is going on, we’re being told that our twenties are the best time of our life! All I ever see floating around the internet are Buzzfeed articles along the lines of ’10 reasons why your 20’s are the best time of your life!!!’. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want it to come across as if I’m not loving life, because I am, and I don’t take any of this for granted; I know that I’m lucky to have parents who are also my best friends, who I actually enjoy living with. I’m so grateful to still have Grandparents in my life to have to worry about. I am so incredibly privileged to have so many wonderful friends that sometimes it can be hard to keep up with them all!
However it can be really hard to make the most of your twenties if you’re constantly trying to balance all of these things. As ultimately, it can leave you really confused about who you are.
I’ve recently been doing a bit of soul searching and asking myself which of the plates I’m spinning is my defining feature, or which should be my main persona. But what I’ve come to realise is that you don’t need to define yourself as one particular thing. In fact, it is the combination of everything you have to juggle that makes you who you are.
I am empathetic because of the things going on in my personal life, I am sassy because I still live at home with my parents who challenge me on a daily basis, I am loving because of the friends I have, I am analytical because of my work. I am who I am, both the good & the bad bits, because of all of these things. All of the qualities I have are because of the different personas I have to juggle, the numerous plates I have to spin.
And, do you know what? Stopping and thinking about it all when I’ve been writing this post has made me realise that I am actually doing a bloody good job of it… Screw digital marketing, I might run away and join the circus, I think I’ve found my calling!