This post is a little different from usual: in a departure from my travel content, I wrote this article a few months ago without any real intention of ever publishing it. But now, after reading it again with a fresh pair of eyes, I wonder whether it’s something that a lot of people at my stage of life can relate to. Possibly not and instead, I’ll have just made a massive tit out of myself on the internet. But what’s new there? So here it is, along with some unrelated pictures from a couple of wintery walks I’ve been on lately.
Today, my ex got married.
This isn’t a wailing lamentation of how different things could have been or a letter filled with heartbreak. I moved on years ago. I can almost feel you rolling your eyes at this but it’s true. There’s no bad feeling there, our lives have gone down two completely separate paths but in spite of this, it’s a big day.
It could feel more momentous because it’s the first person I know really well – although the word knew would be more appropriate – to make that huge commitment. To walk down the aisle and commit to sharing their entire life with another person. And as somebody who is struggling to cope with the ageing process (as ridiculous as that sounds at age twenty-six!), I suppose it marks the start of a shift in how the lives of my peers will play out.
Rather than trying to discover what we want to do with our lives, as we were a few years ago, my friends are starting to settle down, to find ‘the one’ and pledging themselves to huge life changes. One of my best friends got engaged recently and although it was really exciting, it awoke similar feelings of realisation in me. I almost want to put the years on pause – just for a little while – to enjoy the time where nobody quite has it all figured out before it seems like everybody does.
Whether it’s deciding to move country, have a baby or saving a huge chunk of money to own your own home, the changes feel pretty natural and exciting on some days. And on others, it suddenly hits me that heads will start turning towards me and wondering when I’m going to follow suit. Usually this train of thought leads me to panic mode where the only way to comfort myself is reverting to childhood and watching a Disney film. You could say probably true that I’m not quite ready for all that adult malarkey or maybe it simply stems from insecurity.
The weight of expectation has a lot to answer for and it feels like it only grows heavier with each birthday I celebrate. I’ve basically been living like the ultimate woman-child since coming home from travelling – I mean, from the outside, it looks like I’m in the same situation as I was back in 2014. I don’t necessarily feel the same: I want to start making future plans, to have my own space to decorate and to shed that teenage self-consciousness as I move through the years. But I’m also not certain about what I want out of life and this is where the worry creeps in because what if I never know?
Rather than trying to figure out my whole life out over the course of a single blog post, I’m trying to ask myself a simple question. Am I unhappy with my current situation or am I simply feeling like I need to race towards this mysterious ‘finish line’ of success just to keep up with other people? To an extent, maybe it’s both. If I could afford to own my own place right now, I’d jump at the chance but we all know how tough it is to get even a toe on the UK housing ladder these days. But I’m certainly not in a rush to figure out whether I want kids or if I’d prefer to be able to jump on a plane at short notice for my entire life. The only thing I can say scares me with certainty is being left behind.
So, as you can see, it’s not really a post about my ex getting married but more the feelings that are awakened by such a monumental event in the life of somebody I was once close to. Maybe you’ve experienced this already or maybe it’s still to come but as we grow older, it’s something a lot of people deal with and I can imagine it leaves us all feeling somewhat pensive.
I’m not sure whether I’ll ever post this but if I do, I hope you understand why. The writing process has always felt incredibly cathartic to me and even as I type this, I can physically feel the strain draining out of my shoulders like trickles of rain chasing each other down a window. Getting my thoughts out there means I feel more ordered and less like the anxieties are muddled in my head and eating up my insides. I just hope that one day, everything will start to make a little more sense.
Let me know your thoughts in the comments, I’d be really interested to know if anybody has ever felt this way too.