The Twenty-Somethings

I am passionate, I am driven, and I am resilient…but I am also so fucking exhausted. 

It, at times, can be incredibly tough being in your mid-twenties. Every twenty-something seems to be in a completely different place in life. We are all similar ages but are celebrating different milestones and achievements and facing completely different challenges and decisions. 

I at times feel like I am are trying so hard to keep it together and reach people’s expectations of myself that sometimes I want to scream “ENOUGH!” and run away from it all and then go make one bad decision after another.  

Life can get a bit messy; it is chaotic, and half the situations I get myself into are the plot lines for an American comedy sitcom. No, really, I moved to Victoria to work in the AFL, and the AFL literally moved its entire operation out of Victoria- hilarious, I am still laughing. 

I watch as friends are getting married, promoted or buying houses, while for me I call it a win if I remember to wrap my hair in a bathrobe belt before I sleep so I can have heatless curls the next day. 

I thought by twenty- five I’d have figured it all out, or at the very least be close to it. I am so far off it that ten-year-old Madison’s heart would be crushed to find out that not only do I not do my groceries in sky-high black Louboutin’s. (I use a no-brand backpack and wear sneakers.) But, by the age of twenty, I was also not financially capable of opening a rent-free apartment block for the homeless.  

I take steps forward only to be pushed ten back; it’s a never-ending cycle of feeling like I am close to figuring it all out to then knowing absolutely nothing and feeling further away from that point of clarity. The four key foundations (Work, Family, Social and Personal) just seem to never to want to co-operate and align. 

I torture myself on where I’ve gone wrong in life, where I didn’t work hard enough, where I invested time in the wrong people, where I haven’t invested enough time in myself, and the real kicker, where I have made the wrong decisions in life. 

 I torture myself on perhaps becoming a person that has so many dreams and goals that I will never be entirely content in life, as when I achieve anything, I immediately move forward to the next thing. 

I think in the past month I’ve been asked what my dream role is at least twenty times and I stare in absolute terror every single time because I don’t know anymore, I really don’t. 

What I do know is that I want to be part of something special, and to me, the AFL is just that, and I want it so badly. However, it’s not that easy. Much like any niche industry, you can’t just be passionate and a hard worker especially in today’s environment, it requires so many more things working in your favour, things I just can’t seem to get on top of. 

A mentor of mine recently described me as someone “who doesn’t take no for an answer.” My first thought was how fucking annoying I must be in the workplace; the next thought was, why am I always being told no. Why can’t I be in a position where it’s a straight-up yes, and I don’t have to brainstorm my way around it. 

BUT that’s not reality and won’t be for as long as I continue trying to make a change in a very established industry. It can be draining, though, and I have to work on finding that balance, finding the right time to challenge and understanding the right time to concede and be educated. 

I am disheartened and flat, because I want to be in the right place, and I believe I am ready for it. I don’t want the journey; I just want to be at the destination, and this is fundamentally where I am going very very wrong in life.

When my friends don’t look after their best interests (which I don’t do for myself either), I am the first to get in their face about it. I always use the same scenario, when you are in the later stages of your life will you look back and be happy with your decision? Will you be happy with who you are, who you became? 

So, I ask myself, could I look back and say I lived in the now more than I projected the future and what I wanted it to look like? Definitely not. That’s not to say I am not trying; I have been giving it a red- hot crack to live more in the present, just a few (bad) habits need to be addressed in the process. 

I do understand some of these unhealthy habits require immediate attention, that aren’t just going to be fixed once I reach wherever it is I imagine I am going. Sometimes it takes a few hard truths from your friends, that at the time can seem like an attack but are coming from a place of love to give yourself a bit of a wakeup call. 

One particular wakeup call Includes addressing those commitment issues that I seem to have developed, – apparently continually involving myself with 6ft something red flags whose one and only priority is themselves is not a great life decision at this age, disappointed but not shocked.  

This absolute refusal I have to date anyone out of my acquaintance circle is going to make for a very lonely existence in the future I imagine- that is unless red flags become quality boyfriend material, or I give nice guys the time of day; sigh.  

I have also been made aware of the flaws in my communication style to guys I am actually very interested in. I am constantly sarcastic, and at times it could be read as being rude, (it is not coming from a place of wanting to be rude at all.) I just find it easier to protect myself if I don’t act vulnerable and let my guard down by being nice. I struggle with the idea that once I open up, it might leave the door open for someone to have some sort of power over my emotions – which is a ridiculous way to go through life. 

And finally, the fear I have of losing my identity if I date someone seriously, which is preposterous. 

In all honesty, my perception of the last one is changing. I feel like I am at a point where I am understanding more every day that when you are with the right person your identity won’t be taken it instead will be celebrated, and in turn, you will be encouraged to grow, but it will be with support rather than on your own. This is me making assumptions, by the way, anyone who does relationships feel free to correct me. 

I have been in a way quite content being independent and getting on with it, but friends can only fill voids for so many things.

My girlfriends and I recently discussed what our ideal Sunday looked like with the right person. I thought about it and realised that my idea was so mundane and to the vast majority incredibly boring. Still, I will know that I’ve found something special when I have someone I want to stay up and watch the Formula 1 and MotoGP with on a late Sunday night and then to top it off I do not leave or make them leave before we fall asleep (my friends are in disbelief reading that last part.) I am not fussed by fancy bars or the idea of romantic dates like I used to be. I just want to be able to get into bed talk about anything and nothing and laugh till I cry. Truly, just be comfortable and completely myself.

I have to keep reminding myself that it wouldn’t be the worst thing to happen to me to let someone into my life in that way. I just need to make sure I find someone who understands that to me, getting to that point is terrifying. Also, they like myself will also be unable to sleep. 

I’ve got no idea where I fit in this world, who I am or the kind of guy I want to be with. However, I am starting to understand that it is more than okay that I’m feeling this way, that’s what this period of the twenties is about, figuring that all out. It is okay to be driven and want to be getting places fast. It’s okay to be making plans and projecting, but it is important to celebrate the small things on the way, not just for five minutes. 

I am going to actively start trying to not worry about everything I haven’t done or achieved in my life thus far and instead try focus on enjoying the day today. This isn’t me preaching, this is me saying how I have handled life sometimes is not right, and maybe some of you are feeling that way too. 

Whether it feels like you have not achieved enough in your career thus far, reached many personal milestones or like myself felt hesitant to commit to someone, we are all going through something of some sort- But you’re doing just fine, I promise. 

We are all navigating ourselves through life and doing the best we can. Don’t compare your life to others; it will only make for self -doubt. We are all on our own path, and sometimes those paths are a bit windier than others who seem to be a bit heading straight forward. At this rate, mine appears to be going by way of Africa. 

We will get there eventually, so we may as well “enjoy the view” while we figure it all out. At the very least I am going to have absolutely drop-dead gorgeous heatless curls while I do work it out. 

As always never be a stranger.

-M xx

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