I just read an awesome post that was advertised on WordPress’ main page, about the troubles the writer experiences from being in their 20s. It was a really good post but I could only relate to so much. I am so lucky and grateful for the events that have lead up to me being able to have my own apartment, my own well paid job and my own adventure in a different country. But I do still feel – as is natural, I guess – that the 20s are a particularly tricky age to be. Thanks to social media like Facebook, a lot of people now experience FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out). I know I really do. I go on Facebook and see this person has a shiny new job in Korea, this other person just started on their masters, and, probably the most troublesome, this person got married and is now pregnant. Now, I’m just a simple girl. I like going out and being adventurous but if I was given a week to do whatever I wanted, I’d probably do nothing more than walk around, take photos with my big camera, then sit in bed and edit them, and blog, and read books. But with all these people doing all these wonderful things, I get anxious. What am I meant to be doing? I’m 25 already. My mum was married by the time she was this age. Am I meant to settle down now? Am I ready?
It wasn’t necessarily FOMO but I felt really awkward the other day when I looked on Facebook and saw photos of a girl I used to sit next to in high school, with her new born baby. This girl and I used to sit and giggle and make up silly names for each other. And now she’s all grown up. How can this baby faced girl I used to have laughing fits with be grown up enough to have her own baby, and I can’t even keep a potted plant healthy?
Academically, I feel pressured too. In studying linguistics, one of the most interesting topics for me was when I studied how children acquire their mother tongue. Within this topic, however, I learnt that when we reach 30, our brains change and we become much less able to learn languages. The chances are, a language picked up from scratch after the age of 30 will never be mastered.
Like I said, I’m 25 now. I know Japanese. But I want the whole set – Korean and Chinese too. Why? Why not! They are all amazingly interesting and quirky in their own ways. But I feel I need to rush and get them done right away, before time runs out. I’m sure it’s not like Cinderella and as the clock stikes midnight and as I turn 30 my brain turns into a pumpkin, but I would still like to master all three well. And it scares me that I might leave it too late.
Whats more, I feel increasingly jealous of the people around me who are much older, and have taken the time to do amazing things. Not only Mister, who has had so many adventures and I love nothing more than sitting down and listening to him tell me stories from them, but also people at work. There are people with master degrees, people who speak more languages than I could ever hope to learn, people who have gone off and taking years studying lots of different things all over the world. I would love to just take a year out and study in China or Korea. Is time ticking on me being able to do this? I have no idea but I am not about to give up everything I have here to do so. Not just yet.
But I still want to be like them. I want to be able to start a story about something cool I did that doesn’t start with “in Japan…” or “when I was an ALT…”
Within the blog post above, the thing I identified with the most is how the 20s feel like you’re stuck in limbo – not at uni anymore, not yet a fully fledged adult. Living with Facebook and snapshots into our highschool friends’ lives is quite an unhealthy way to determine whether we are on the right tracks or not. But we still feel pressurised and compare ourselves. I guess this is the new norm in our generation.