Monday, 18 September 2017 / The Old Schools, Trinity Ln, Cambridge CB2 1TN, UK

What It's Like To Be A Twenty-Something-Year-Old Woman In 2017


Disclaimer before I begin: I do not want this to be a post categorised as feminist. It's merely a light-hearted outlook on just a few things I've been thinking about lately and I haven't constructed it thoughtfully enough to address such a complex topic.

Something you probably don't know about me is that I played football for around 10 years... (this does relate, I promise). Anyway, Tom and I were just generally talking about football and how boys/men tend to lay on the floor for like 5 minutes if they get tackled and then jump up (most of the time they're fine) after they have had some 'magic spray' sprayed onto them by the medic guy. You've all seen it. They all do it!

I told him how when I played football, no girl would do that unless they were seriously injured. There was no rolling around on the floor dramatically, we all just got up and carried on running. I know, personally, I just carried on because I wouldn't want to be thought of as a 'weak little girl'.

This was the same when I was just having a kick about in the park with boys. If a boy missed the goal by a mile or kicked the ball badly, that's all it was. A bad hit. If I did it, they'd give me this certain look that I can't explain but made me feel like 'they think I hit it badly because I'm a girl'. This made me extra aware to make every shot and every pass perfect.

I had something to prove.

I feel like this analogy has stuck with me as a twenty-something-year-old woman as I do feel the pressure to prove to myself and others that I can do whatever I have set out to do. I can only speak for myself but it seems to me that a lot of men I come into contact with seem to have grown up with a quiet confidence that they can do anything they want to. Maybe because they've never had to prove themselves. They know they can do it and if they make a mistake, that's fine, it's just a mistake! 

But then there's us. The twenty-something-year-old woman that is constantly striving for perfection whether that's the 'self' that we portray through social media, our bodies, our makeup, our relationships, our houses... the list could go on!

Your twenties are a time for you to really find yourself but it's so hard to do that without worrying that you're not doing it right or like other people. It's so easy, being a young woman in the current climate, to constantly watch what everyone else is doing as a guideline for how you should be living your life. 

 It is impossible to live up to what everyone else is doing, though! How can you be travelling the world like one person, buying a home like that other one, having a baby like the other and going on 50 holidays a year like the other. You can't.

I feel like as young women we feel like we have to be doing everything to prove we're on track. It's like the football analogy. If something knocks us down, we get straight back up to show to everyone that everything is good. We don't want that image of ourselves that we've constructed to falter at all. This means every choice we make has to be perfect.

What I'm trying to say is being a twenty-something-year-old woman in 2017 is tiring. You're constantly seeing what you 'should' be doing without really stepping back and figuring out who you are and what you are destined for. Our twenties are meant to be freeing. We're adults, we can do what we want but most of us don't yet have the responsibility of a family etc. We can up and move jobs, houses, cities. We can travel, explore, start a family if we're ready. 

As twenty-something-year-old women with a lot more privileges than those in generations before us, we need to start embracing this time and using it to find out who we are. More importantly, we need to relax and just go with the flow because we'll never get these years again!

What I'd like you as a fellow twenty-something-year-old woman to take from this blog post? Stop feeling like you have to prove yourself. Enjoy your twenties and use it as the years to (ready for the cliche) find you. Stop feeling like you can't make a mistake in life - you can. In fact, the more mistakes you make, the better! With trying, failing and succeeding comes resilience and also empathy for other people that might be doing the same. It can only make you happier within yourself and more accepting of others.

So, let's start embracing our twenties because they are, arguably, the best years of our lives!
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