I recently turned the grand old age of 23, and while many people may shake their heads and tut at the notion of a (kind of) quarter-life crisis I have noticed that the milestone of turning 23 is a heavy weight to bear.
“Nobody loves you when your 23” never seemed more true than now when most of us are suddenly lumped with more responsibility than we’ve ever had, yet the least financial support we’ve ever received. Yes we are young and beautiful but we are also trying start careers, make a living, and generally just stay alive.
Of course there are success stories, but for many of us – myself included – 23 means holding down two jobs for the rent and bills, whilst spending the evenings trying to pursue a ‘real’ career. As much as we have youth on our side, the prospect of trying to establish yourself in the world is daunting and for some, too much to take.
It is understandable then, that I felt a degree of anxiety as I approached this crucial yet cruel age. Having graduated more than a year ago I can feel my title slipping from ‘Graduate’ to ‘Shopgirl’ – not ideal when ‘Journalist’ or ‘Writer’ are the labels that I am really hankering after. In my age group the overall sense of failure is pervasive and, to tell you the truth, easy to succumb to.
However, like all bright young things we 23 year-olds are not adverse to kicking up our heels, letting our hair down, busting a move, or performing any other of those party-related clichés for the right occasion. So in spite of my feelings of impending doom, I decided to go out and celebrate my birthday anyway.
After a wild night of champagne-fuelled vegetarianism (something the world does not need to see) I decided to relive my childhood at the Collingwood Children’s Farm. This farm is the closest working farm to any CBD in the world and is a great place to get some fresh air, pat a goat, and ponder your lost youth.
Baby goats and guinea pigs are irrefutably cheering even if one is undergoing some sort of existential crisis which, as a writer, I naturally am. However after some time with the furries and fluffies of the farm I felt a whole lot better – though perhaps a little more envious of a goat’s life than is normal . . .
It sounds ridiculous but getting older is hard even if you have only just begun. I know I am not alone in saying that being a working adult is not what I expected (damn you Sex and the City) and that presumptuous attitudes towards age and maturity can be stifling when you are trying to forge ahead in a world that distrusts youth and enthusiasm.
Nevertheless ,I know that there is hope out there. During my time in Australia I have already had a handful of wonderful people take a chance on this young Scottish lass, and so far I don’t believe any of them have been disappointed.
The Birthday girl!