A person between 20 and 25 years old struggling with the reality of adulthood and mourning the abrupt end of their youth.
Remember when the big kids would walk past at school and it would occur to you how young you look? Or your older siblings, when they went off to university and you almost admired how they were getting on with their lives? We were just going through the motions and suddenly here we are talking about Save To Buy ISAs and who just got engaged.
It almost seems like you’re expected to have your shit together as soon as you’ve graduated. All of these people you know on their insane grad schemes asking you questions about when you’re going to get off your ass and move out, like it hadn’t occurred to you – I’ve got to be brutally honest here, I thought it was going to suck moving back to mum and dad’s but you know what? There’s a cleaner twice a week, I get away with cooking or doing the dishes once a fortnight and to top it off, my salary is basically just there to fund my social life. How do you like them apples, David at PwC? (Disclaimer, I do not know any David’s at PwC – I do however know a lot of people and some assholes in important-sounding firms).
Then at the other end of the spectrum you have all your friends from home who are slowly emigrating to Australia. Standing there in the sardines’ box that is the Central Line in rush hour, scrolling through your timeline makes even the three months of farming they’ve got to do to get another year’s visa look like the most fun you can have with your trousers on. You keep telling yourself that some far date in the future you’ll get up and leave and get yourself to South America and see it all. You’ll let the beard and hair grow thinking you look like Khal Drogo before realising your mum’s right and a longer beard makes you look like an ISIS militant.
When I turned twenty I kept referring to it as my mid-life crisis. It was a stupid joke about the way my liver’s going but I see a lot of truth in it. We’ve been exposed to too much of the older generations’ regrets of not having lived more – not travelling the world or starting their own business or getting that visa and working abroad. We’re a generation that made FOMO a thing and that’s what makes it so terrifying. You start counting the years and expectations – if I up and leave and join the army that’s another two and a half years, and then doing that South America trip is another 6-12 months, and then I’d want to do an MBA and if I do all that, suddenly I’m moving back home at 27 like what now?! Bruh. My student loan is never getting paid back.
I guess that’s the problem isn’t it? After twenty-one years of being told what to do and being signed up to at least three more years at a time, we’re actually on our own now. All these plans and goals and ideas are ours to execute and no one can tell you when to get to it. Life just keeps getting in the way -there are too many goddamn options and not enough time.
Try to imagine a life without timekeeping. You probably can’t. You know the month, the year, the day of the week. There is a clock on your wall or the dashboard of your car. You have a schedule, a calendar, a time for dinner or a movie. Yet all around you, timekeeping is ignored. Birds are not late. A dog does not check its watch. Deer do not fret over passing birthdays. Man alone measures time. Man alone chimes the hour. And, because of this, man alone suffers a paralyzing fear that no other creature endures. A fear of time running out.
Mitch Albom, The Time Keeper