If all goes well, I will be turning 30 next year. By normal social standards I will officially be in the age when people get married, reproduce or at least try desperately, and take on a mortgage to tie themselves to one place. When it comes to me, I ticked one of the above boxes. I got married to my best friend (no, literally). The one person who enjoys our wonderful weirdness and accepts me for who I really am. Other than that, I accomplished nothing.
No children, no savings, no capital, no real estate. I have a fair job and live in a rented house with a bunch of cats and the husband. Oh, and two cleaning robots. I dread to become one of those ‘’adulescents’’ (20+ adults living in their parent’s basements) who Professor Frank Furedi, a sociologist who has been studying this phenomenon, at the University of Kent once described in his statement as:
“Our society is full of lost boys and girls hanging out at the edge of adulthood.”
The lost boys – and girls.
These ‘’adulescents’’ are generally defined as young people who are closing on or even passed 30 but refuse to settle down and make commitments, and would rather go on partying into middle age. While I really don’t feel like this is me, I have to admit I have nothing to show for proving the opposite. Even now, when I can count for potential savings at the end of each month. So much so, that we (as in Husband and moi) are slowly getting to the point where we can and should decide what we put our savings into. And that’s when all the scary questions pop up!
Do I start planning my adult life according to the written and unwritten social norms? Should we buy a house and settle in? Do we want children? How many? Where do we actually want to spend the rest of our lives? Do I see myself getting old here? Do I even see myself getting old?
There is so much push from society, mainly through the media. It’s overwhelming. All those ads about the best mortgage, the family car (with 0% down), the best ovulation predictor. Social media makes it even worse. All your friends are posting baby pictures, have move-in parties or complain on forums how pathetic all those other people are. It makes me feel like every second spent on not deciding is wasted. I will become the other people. The childless. The aimless. The houseless.
After all, we women have a certain number of eggs, right? When it’s gone, it’s gone. A mortgage takes about 25 years to pay off. Will I even live that long? Time is ticking. It’s like I don’t have a purpose until I make the decision. This needed to stop before it drove me insane.
Do we need to decide?
The urge to decide, because we can decide. We have lots of choices. We are not limited to live in one country, we are not limited to one profession. Today we are living in a world where anyone can become pretty much anything. We don’t have to work towards pre-defined goals according to our class, gender or location. This gives us the widest palette of life goals and route choices. Actually, the decisions on whether to marry or not marry, start a family or not, travel or stay put, stick to your existing job or find a new one can make us overwhelmed, anxious and depressed. And this started happening to me, too. How did I shake it off?
I didn’t. But I took these steps to turn it around and this turned my life around completely, for the better. These are the reasons I went against modern day expectations and, well, started vlogging instead of starting a conventional, responsible adult life.
1. We travel.
Last month me and my partner in crime (a.k.a. Husband) took all our savings and spent it on documenting our holiday. That’s right. We signed up for an expensive holiday, bought premium class plane tickets, bought the video gear and we left.
2. We keep learning.
We learnt to use the new camera on the way out to our holiday and I learnt how to do the basics in a video editor in a hotel room. Since then, we learn with every new video we take. There is always something we don’t know how to do. We make mistakes. Every time a mistake is made we learn how to do it better next time.
3. We made a commitment.
To ourselves. We now spend our days gathering experiences. Instead of going straight home, we wander. Instead of saving for a car we are saving for a trip. Maybe we will see something vlog worthy, maybe we won’t, but whatever happens to us, stays with us. It becomes a part of us. It’s a shared memory to hold us together and to hold on to. So we scan events around us and we invest in new adventures. We go to places. We see something new one day after another. Our life has never been richer. Our bond has never been tighter.
4. We have fun.
And I think this is the most fun I’ve ever had. Also the steepest learning curve I ever had to deal with. It is really challenging and I keep making all the rookie mistakes but at the end of the day I feel accomplished. And feeling accomplished is fun. Sharing secret smiles is fun. Having inside jokes is fun. Thinking back being stuck in transit and skating through terminals, is fun.
5. We dropped the anxiety of what’s next.
This does not mean we don’t care, but since we have no assets there is a lot less to worry about. Also, once you decide to be this traveling-vlogging anti-adult, you set yourself up to be judged. Once you accept that, all that push coming from society won’t matter. Only what you really want to do, will. May that be travel, babies, overpriced shoes. It doesn’t matter, as long as it makes you happy, but you need to ask yourself the question if you are genuinely happy and you need to be honest. With yourself. This may be the hardest thing you ever need to do.
As for us, instead of saving for a deposit for our forever home, we are, again, saving for a plane ticket. What will you do next?
Featured photo credit: Anita Brayer from Lifewiththecats via lifewiththecats.com