by Molly Alessandra Cooper
Growing up, I’d always assumed that 25 would be the age I’d be ‘settled’ – having a tick beside at least one milestone box: baby / married / home / career. Most of our parents had achieved the majority of those milestones during their late 20s; it didn’t seem unrealistic. But there’s been a change in attitude toward goals for women from the goals I recognised as a teen. Who run the world…?
‘Married with kids’ is no longer an objective; there’s so much for us to achieve before then. The average age for women to give birth is 30, we’re questioning whether we want to change our maiden names, we’re determined to equal out the gender of CEOs, and we want to travel the world – and by ourselves. We’re no longer defined as women by our biological body; no longer expected to finish our careers to raise our children – our journey doesn’t stop there. The pressure to follow that ‘grown up’ plan has diminished, and now we want to pave our own destinies.
Thus begins a new tension for twenty-something women. We want to conquer expectations, but what should our focus be? To build a career we’re proud of? To find the ultimate girl group to dance to Beyonce with? To have a successful side hustle? I want all of these things, I want to bloom in all aspects of my life . . . but is there enough time?
Firmly grounded in London’s bustling-ness, I am literally (yes, literally) buzzing with anxious excitement; everyone I meet is different and I learn so much from others. I belong to one of the first generations that doesn’t come under as much pressure or judgement for not having a five year plan: it’s okay to continue fumbling awkwardly, yet ambitiously through adulthood. I’m chasing that unique satisfaction from the drowsiness felt after working hard on something you enjoy doing. Everything. Is. Happening. I want to be a part of all of it.
I’ve become aware of time to the point of obsession; if I want to cram in things like learning every potential conversation topic and travelling the entire world, I feel like I have to be aware of time. Unfortunately one doesn’t have the mind bandwidth to complete everything. It’s healthy to switch off, but I don’t want to. I’m not totally sure I can anymore, but I need to learn not to worry about spending every minute efficiently; watching Desperate Housewives with a Domino’s is still a more than okay way to spend a Friday night in.
We’re a generation who want to do everything and nothing, a tension of wanting to grow up too fast whilst never getting ‘old’. We’re overwhelmed with the reckless optimism that we can change the world, and why shouldn’t we be? How can we be offered the world, and not take it?
Despite political climates and uncertainty for the future of Britain, I am lucky to be in a position where there is enormous potential for us millennials to learn and to live a very full life, and we have to make the most of this before Brexit begins to affect our opportunities. I want to finish this by saying I’ll stop putting so much pressure on myself, but I’m fairly certain I won’t do this. I’ll keep dipping in and out of hobbies erratically and keep learning; because how am I going to find my calling if I don’t try everything? I’ll keep trying and failing and succeeding. I’ll embrace that I don’t know what I’m doing. There’s a lot to look forward to.