Note: The following is an absurdly personal projection of anxiety.
Having turned twenty-five earlier this year, and it’s impossible not to realise that there are roughly five more years until my single, barely employable, living back in the family home status is completely abhorrent to anyone with an ounce of self-respect.
Settle down they say, as many do at this point in their life (though millennials are increasing this age by the minute), get a stable job with a good income and career prospects in a field you have a keen passion for (yes try this when you have a 2:2 degree in radio and have had several awful jobs in the past year). And of course, find yourself a place to live and make your home, (indeed do this as a single male on minimum wage paying off a University overdraft, a credit card and house rent).
These indeed all sound like completely sad and if anything bullshit excuses, but these are realities that I and a large number of the population are faced with that are completely unavoidable in their significantly urgent existences. Despite the odds being stacked against us, there is a deeply ferocious desire to tackle these problems which are increasingly endemic in the current day.
Being Twenty-Five raises the volume on the swirling voices begging to have these basic needs and desires tended to with dextrous wit and the utmost care.
The broken horizon should be littered with plans, things to look forward to and goals to be netted, and yet the glitter of prosperity is indeed fogged with clouds of uncertainty.
Then where do we even begin?
The most painstaking of them all perhaps, romance?
No romantic interests on this horizon, regardless of the undeniable yearning for the affection of a partner and despite these churning yearnings, there is no single intention to have a romantic interest, let alone a partner.
The risks are far too great at this moment in time; in times of uncertainty what one needs above all is concrete ground to stand upon and at least a view of more solids on which to stand in the near and far future.
A new relationship would lend itself only momentarily to the cement mixer but only to clog it and turn far too stogie as the spins reveal cracks in the floor before it had even begun to exist.
And beyond that, were there to be no cracks, no problems, no worries, that is only for the foreseeable future. Women this age (mid-twenties) are seeking a man ready for the deepest of all commitments, and desire long standing emotional contracts with which you fulfil their needs and they yours. Indeed it’s a beautiful thing and envy is the only word that springs to mind when considering those who are capable of delivering such heavy goods.
The social media feed is growing rampant with pictures of fresh, new born children in the arms of those I spent time learning or partying with. And, untraditionally my response is to shudder and feel sorry for these people seemingly ‘happy’ with their fleshy amalgam of shared genes.
These seemingly concrete and powerful eventualities of human life only bring with them one additional certainty and one alone, that is that you can produce a child; other than that, what you have done is begun to turn the key to your very own Pandora’s Box.
And that is something anyone should avoid if they are not certain it is what they want or know it to be a weight that they cannot hope to carry. It’s not just your life that you’re fucking with now.
So, with no clear line of career, the previously mentioned topic should not even be within the scope of possibility. Having no idea of where things are going and no confidence in the semi-motivated, semi-aggressive pursuit of the ‘big dream’.
Whilst confronted daily with ‘entry level’ positions with a salary range of £11,000 – £20,000 a year that require a year minimum experience and proven track record, is it any wonder why minimum wage work is so popular with graduates now? Did we perhaps enter in to the University game too late when the fee’s trebled in size and the graduate workforce became too saturated? (My guess is yes). This generation of highly educated hard working grads is taking a pounding from the Job markets inability to facilitate such a huge number of fresh graduates with more debt than ever in a world where the economy is bust.
All this potential for prosperity and yet, two years past graduation, there has been a deep swell of rejection emails and phone calls to verify that you have not got the job, for reasons such as ‘the other candidate lived closer’, they ‘negotiated a lower wage’ (yes that does happen), ‘you lacked the experience despite this being a job that comes with training’. The list goes on and rarely does it come down to lack of skill and at times it has come down to being ‘over experienced’ and the employer has a ‘fear of holding me back’ from what I truly wish to do in life. Which is one of the most insulting phrases I have ever heard as if that was the case, I wouldn’t be here.
It’s pure savagery, and frankly it’s exhausting.
So if you haven’t had a child yet, or a secure job with a decent career and a partner, then you most certainly have not come close to flying the nest.
You most certainly did if you went to university and were fortunate enough to find yourself in a position to stay in your University town, but things aren’t always so simple nor are they easy for the average working class graduate.
Then again, sometimes you have to bite the bullet, and move back in with the family.
What an adjustment, what a knife to the pride in your spine. You were so close.
But here you are, twenty-something and back with the family, what a god awful situation, independence graced your lips like the first sip of a hot drink in the morning and with haste spilt itself all over your now scolded crotch.
With ‘generation rent’ as the current housing meme, we find ourselves at a difficult fork in the road; to your left is cohabitation with your partner, friends, family or complete strangers and to your right is remaining at home with the family. Because a bedsit with shared kitchen and showers at dismal squat like conditions with nosebleed London prices of £600+ a month. Or cute and quant studios upwards of £900 a month, is it any wonder at all there is so much room for complaint?
Am I just a classically symptomatic millennial, supposedly ‘entitled’ and have too high expectations of the world, or is it really all caving in, crashing down upon us like a sprung booby trap that only Indiana Jones could evade?
If this situation is still apparent when we hit that sweet three-zero mark, then god help us all.