It all starts in kindergarten. We bring home our very first picture and it’s awarded pride of place front and centre on the fridge. There’s me and my family. Two children (a boy and a girl). A dog. A house on a hill and crooked happy smiles. Geoff from the Wiggles.
Oh wait that might have just been mine.
These are the images children are taught to associate with the perfect family, the perfect house, the perfect life. There is nothing wrong with this picture, in fact there are so many good reasons as to why we were taught to picture our lives this way in the first place. However, sometime around the point where we were forced to hide our guilty love for One Direction, buy car insurance and finally become an adult, the drawing that formed in our minds all of those years ago has fallen from the fridge and morphed into something else.
For today’s 20 somethings, the road is one less travelled. The rules are shifting under our feet and the terrain is becoming more unstable and ultimately we are faced with one decision: get off or learn to adapt.
It is now completely acceptable to not get married by the time you are 30. Or 40. Or at all. Or to a person of the opposite sex. People don’t slave away in the same jobs for 10 years. Or 5 years. Or even 2. The tick boxes that categorise every 20 something into the cubes the world needs them to fit in have become too restrictive. And we want out.
Above all 20 somethings crave freedom.
Freedom to be single, freedom to travel to far off lands or freedom to spend all of our money on Facebook shares. It doesn’t matter which path this freedom leads you down, in fact some of them look very much like our fridge picture, but the decisions are made with a light heart knowing we had the freedom to decide.
We are also the masters of experimentation. Try Medical School, can’t stand blood. Went to live in France, not so big on the snails. Each experiment is another opportunity to try out this freedom and start a new blank canvas over our original artwork. And we revel in this. Freedom is kind to us.
Freedom is like the bungee cord that keeps you from plummeting to your death after taking that ginormous leap of faith. And freedom is the pulley that will bring you back to the top, so you can prepare to launch yourself off again.
There is no magic formula as to how we 20 somethings discovered we could rewrite the rules of life. There was no blue pill we were all fed or TV show that succeeded in brainwashing us (although SATC certainly helped).
Through the testing of the waters we discovered this freedom and are now only too prepared to dip our toes, and our whole bodies, into the undiscovered waters again and again.
So I’ll probably go to a few weddings in the next 2 years. I’ll probably still be going to some in the next 10 years. I’ll be celebrating housewarmings for others when I have no intention of buying my own or inviting girlfriends along to my baby shower, where I know there will never be a chance for a return invite.
It’s freeing though isn’t it?
And the beauty of that realisation, where you know you are 100% in control of your freedom will take your breath away. It’s kind of like that moment you take your bra off first thing after work.
Say it with me ladies: Pure Bliss.
So next time you see a young child drawing their fridge worthy picture, take note of what they see in their future. Have they drawn themselves climbing Mt Everest, or playing to a packed crowd at Madison Square Gardens or sitting at a desk developing the next internet sensation? Encourage them.
As those who fought for the freedom to rewrite the rules it is only fair we pass on our trade secrets.
What are some of the rules you have rewritten as a 20 something? Where did this decision take you? Did you have any regrets?
Hit me up on Facebook with your thoughts or comment below!
A big part of our ability to embrace our freedom comes down to confidence, see my
thoughts on the confidence of 20 somethings here.