Why I feel more confident in my mid 20’s
Last week, I was asked to go and attend a careers fair and talk to students in year 10 about apprenticeship opportunities and careers where I work. I felt like I had been time-zapped 10 years to my teenage years and I very quickly remembered just how difficult and confusing it was to be a teen with all the pressures of ‘needing to know what you want to do’ in the future. Of course, some teens are more confident, ready and have a goal that I’m sure one day they’ll be able to achieve however this was never me.
My teenage years and even my early 20’s saw a decade of comparison, self-doubt and trying to make others happy. I didn’t really know what I wanted to do in terms of career, I had been under the safe-blanket of a long education and then BOOM, it spat me out into the big wide working world. It’s only looking back now that I have realised that I felt a huge amount of pressure that I’d put on myself and this was mainly through comparing myself with my friends and others on social media.
I wish I could reach back to my younger self and tell her not to worry, not to stress and not to compare. That my journey was unique for many reasons and to use the experience to learn and better myself along the way.
I now know what I want to do with my career. I also know that this could and probably will change as I learn new skills and benefit from new experiences. I work in recruitment and I’m currently line managing a team of 6 people- did I ever dream of doing this? No.
I found myself in recruitment after a spell of travelling and I knew that an admin based role would be the best entry to office based experience and this just happened to be in a recruitment agency. Do I love my job and wake every day to something I enjoy doing? Absolutely.
I now know that difficult times can sometimes present interesting opportunities and I feel confident that although I may struggle during them, the light at the end of the trouble could be brighter than I think.
I love money. I like to be able to treat myself to some nice things but one thing I cannot cope with is talking about money. Just ask my Dad and I’m sure he will reminisce back to our money chats over the dining room table. I remember leaving University and my friends were finding themselves in a number of different roles and I knew some of their salaries were higher than mine which would make me question my success in my job- what did I do, I automatically compared because back then the salary figure alone was all I cared about. Now I view things completely differently. I appreciate that different roles come with different environments, work-life balances, benefits, locations and that there is so much more than a salary. Would I give up my role now to jump into a higher paid salary job in London with a cut-throat environment and ridiculously long working hours? No. I respect that everyone has their preferences in different areas, some may be more concerned about the location or the pension scheme they’re on. One thing I’m more confident about now is appreciating that my need for a work-life balance won’t fit into some roles and therefore will discount me from some higher paid salaries and that’s absolutely fine!
Okay, so this is a new one for me. My teenage years and all throughout Uni gave me the opportunity to eat whatever I wanted and to never see it affect my extremely slim frame. I look back on pictures and die now! I was very slim with barely an ounce of fat on me but I actually feel that this has paid me a disservice in some ways. I took advantage of this and ate an unhealthily amount of unhealthy food- basically everything was unhealthy. It has only been the past 3-4 years or so where I have seen the negative effects of this on my mind and my general health. Firstly, the pounds did eventually catch up with me which made me panic but more concerning for me was how I was feeling after eating chocolate and oven food. I experienced a spell of anxiety a few years ago which was terrifying and I have experienced the levels of fatigue and general unhappiness. I now fully appreciate that these foods can be treats but to look after my health and wellbeing as a priority because nobody wants to have a conversation with their GP about deficiencies and what these can lead to.
This is something that I feel is fuelled by social media mainly because let’s face it, nobody will put up an insta post showing their arguments with their boyfriends or friends. It’s taken many years for me to realise that I cannot just turn into a social butterfly and be out every weekend drinking or travelling. I have found happiness in making social plans across the year or going out for spontaneous drinks after work or meals on the weekend but I will never be someone who has to be out every weekend. I enjoy spending some of my time inside and I’ve learnt that it’s not a crime to be behind my screen reading blog posts, indulging in Scandal or other TV shows and just relaxing in my home. I see friends and people I’ve known tagging themselves every day at a new restaurant and being the social butterflies that they are and I’ve definitely experienced that pang of ‘why isn’t that me?!’. I’ve learnt that everyone is different and that my casual nights spent in the tub or nights on the sofa with my other half are just what I’m looking for and are what makes me happy.
Even writing the above has made me see the golden thread that runs through each section- comparison. With my generation and now the generations below me gripped to their phones and social media, comparison is something that I don’t think we will be able to escape from however I feel it’s so important to always be stressing that being yourself and doing what makes you happy will lead to a more comfortable and confident way of living.