Well, actually Charlotte I'm 24 and think I'm pretty much f*cked
So, it was my birthday last week on the 21st and I officially turned 24.
It's funny because every other birthday I had had up until this one I hadn't given my age much after thought. I mean, yeah I'm a year older but who cares - its really not that big of a deal. Plus it helps that for each birthday I always go on a holiday which probably massively distracts me, for my 21st it was Barcelona, 22nd Istabul and 23rd I even put on my big girl panties and went deep sea diving in Corsica but after every single birthday my age had never particularly dawned on me.
Maybe it was because each of those years I was actively doing something at the time I was still studying for my first and second university degrees, so I didnt really have time to dwell on the fact I'm a year older. But this year was different, it felt like or should I say feels like I'm meant to be a proper adult by now, doing 'adult' things, like my time to take things easy, even if its only been for the past couple of months is over, and let me tell you when this feeling hits its scary as hell.
It's definitely not something that leaving university prepares you for, I'm not sure anything can prepare you for it really. After all when we speak to our parents or grandparents how often do they tell you that they still feel young at heart, it's not like they hit a certain age and they put on their 'I'm now a serious adult' cap and completely changed their lifestyle. It's something that sneaks up on you, just as I feel that it's snuck up on me.
But, one thing I can say, after my initial freak out is that the most important thing is to not let it scare you. Sure, I'm probably a little bit behind on the life plan my 16 year old self fantasised about (think the typical, great job making lots of money basically living the 'Sex and the City' lifestyle) but I'm pretty happy with where I am and who I am now. I've overcome challenges that have taken me out of my comfort zone allowing me to have a bit more faith in myself and along the way I've met some really cool people that I probably wouldn't have if I had stayed in my academia bubble.
But, most importantly, unlike my younger self I'm not as scared to veer a bit of the conventional path to what I deemed as success. When I was younger I thought, I'd leave university, get a graduate job and begin to form my career but I haven't done that yet and whilst sometimes I still do still freak out, I've realised it's ok to sometimes stop and take the opportunity to do things that aren't strictly on your 5 or 10 year plan - it doesn't mean that you're off track.
So to any of you who feel the same way or worry that things aren't going to plan, take a step back and breathe because to be honest I don't think that any of us really have the faintest idea what we're doing most of the time! just sit back and enjoy the ride while you still can.