About that weird transition to „adult“ life, and what I’ve learned on the way
I turned 27 in 2017. It was a year full of changes: from being a student to post-master backpacking, freelancing, and helping my nan in the garden, to the beautiful words “We would like to offer you the position”, followed by a regular salary, a quite big project, and a schedule from 9 to 6.
What should I say? I like my new „adult“ life. I’ve written before that I am not meant to be a long-term backpacker (at least not now). At 27, having a stable job and responsibilities didn’t sound dreadful but appealing to me.
Still, I face a couple of challenges, both professionally and emotionally. Post-student nostalgia hits me hard sometimes, and I wonder if I have achieved what I should have achieved by today. While I try not to dwell too much on these questions, it helps me to reflect upon them to a certain extent. I had a couple of thoughts on they which may help you as well. Here’s my top 5.
1) You can achieve most things you want, but step by step.
Sometimes, I ask myself: could I, at this point, be a famous journalist / writer / sex therapist? (I would love to be the three of these, yep). Well, maybe, but things is, I never pursued one single plan. I rather let life lead me while always focusing on the media sector. My not always steady way let me discover my personal key issues: feminism, sexuality, and Latin America. At some points, I got desperate not knowing exactly how to achieve all of my urgent ideas. Now, having calmed down a bit, I see that I still can achieve many different things, but not all at once. After uni, I thought I would become a full-time journalist, now I am leading the communications campaign for a women’s rights project. Sounds nice? It is. I try to learn as much as I can, adopt new angles, and grow personally & professionally.
2) Cherish your very own mix of talents and interests.
Simple, right? Not. I spent times of my life trying to be, well, not someone else, but having a different set of interests & characteristics. I thought it was superficial to focus on sexuality, for example. Finally, I realized it is a topic as profound as any other and nothing less or more than being interested in physics, architecture, acting… and connected to so much more than our bedrooms, such as international politics (i.e. my master’s degree in Gender and International Relations).
Recognising who you are also involves recognising who you are not, or which things you won’t prioritise professionally even if you’re good enough at them. For example, I like maths, but I’m better at, and more interested in, languages. I am interested in politics but there are much bigger politics nerds out there.
3) Don’t be afraid to show your self-love.
Since I swung my newly grown hips at village parties as a teen, my friends have told me I’m a little narcissist. And while they might use milder words now, they still find it quite funny when I take selfies, wear a tight outfit, et cetera. Thing is, I never fit in circles whose major interest were looks and make-up. I love my friends for being interested in a range of things and politically committed. But well, so am I, and I still love showing my body and being a subject of attention. Somehow, public self-love doesn’t have the best reputation… let’s challenge this! Let’s show or cover our bodies, take selfies or not… Let’s find our individual style to love ourselves, and those around us.
4) Don’t obey German angst (if you’re German) or society’s fears in general.
I spent years studying, interning, successfully applying for scholarships, doing plenty of interesting things, just to hear from scared people around me that I probably won’t find a job studying such exotic things as Media, Spanish, Gender and International Relations. Just to actually get a proper, suitable job afterwards. I feel, honestly, a bit foolish, discovering that all my worries were for nothing! I am writing this in my kitchen in my cosy apartment. So: study / learn what you really want. (If you don’t know: try something and do as much on the side as you can; uni is great for free courses in so many things!) Meanwhile, and afterwards, seek opportunities. You might have to be a bit flexible regarding exact scope of work and location, but given that, you’ll likely find something great (talking from a privileged perspective in a country with a stable economy).
4) There are more excuses in life than opportunities. Focus on the latter.
At the risk of sounding like a mediocre life coach, this is just the truth. While I’ve taken many opportunities, I had many excuses for not taking more. I feared I wasn’t good enough, my work would be irrelevant at best and ridiculous at worst. My current excuse is that I can’t pursue too big projects aside from my full-time job. Well. My job is priority and I’d have to make a plan, sure, but excuses can’t be part of it. I can use my free time to explore the things I love, which is basically expressing myself through media, be it writing, photography, and, why not podcasting or vlogging?
5) JUST DO IT.
Having said that, it’s all about putting it into practice, and trying out things even if far from perfect. I never made videos before because, well, I don’t have professional equipment, I know only basic editing, I’ve never received on-camera training… see all the excuses floating on your screen? Enough! Recently, I started publishing non-scripted 1-minute videos on instagram. They help me to get into the flow and explore if I want to pursue this further.
Just do it is my only resolution for 2018, thanks to my big sister, by the way. It is also the reason why you are reading this blog post. Not perfect, but hopefully good to give you some thoughts.