As I write this, it is 15:21 on a Monday afternoon, I am in my pajamas, wearing mismatched socks and a fluffy pink gown. I’m listening to wonderful covers of popular songs and Youtubing the crap out of everything. My hair resembles any one of Helena Bonham Carter’s chic do’s and I have on a sweat shirt sized “Age 13-14”.
I am a wonderful mess. Because I have decided to bunk life.
Reason 1. Studying and work.
I am currently 25 years old. I graduated high school when I was 17, completed my degree and shortly thereafter got a job and worked there for three years. Which brings me to now. While my job/field of work can be stressful and highly pressurized at times, I have to say, as far as first jobs go, mine was the friggin bees knees. I worked for a Man-Child Boss with whom I’d spend most of my days YouTubing ridigulouz things and singing loudly along to the Moulin Rouge soundtrack. If we had to audition for Idols, they would tell me to lose him and pursue a solo career. I very rarely had to work late, he gave me time off whenever I needed, gave me all the candy his kids weren’t allowed to eat and became a generally good friend. It’s hard to fit a relationship that’s encompassed 8 hours of my day, five days a week for three years, in to a proper explanation.
Whether you like it or not, intend to or don’t even realize it, when it is literally just the two of you confined to a limited space everyday, you WILL become friends, in some way or the other. And it was good… But as things go, I started becoming complacent and…bored and lazy I guess.
And so I had to tell him I was leaving. I knew the decision to leave was the right one – however, it did take me a solid month to actually convince myself I needed to make the change (for fear of getting stuck in a rut). Needless to say, even though their were jokes about how I’d still park outside his house and steal his wifi, it was emoszhional. More so for him than me. I had to threaten him with, “If you cry in front of me I’ll leave earlier than I promised! CUMAAAAN! I don’t want to see a white man cry!”
Emoszhions aside, my last day of work sprung up on me quigly and all of a sudden…I was free.
The notion of being unemployed, while causing me great fear and anxiety, was also exhilarating! It has also opened up the possibility of studying again or changing career paths.
While I LOVE being a graphic designer, I don’t see why, at this stage of my life, I have to settle with being just that. Surely who we are is not solely defined by our careers? I should hope not. When I was studying, the oldest guy in our class was a 33 year old metalhead bearded MAN who looked like Jesus. So why then limit myself by age? Why not delve in to the world of work and try a few other vocational options? And so for now, while I still dabble in freelance work, I’m making an effort to explore my career options. Because maybe I can still become a butcher, a baker, or even a candle stick maker? (I hear the market for candles has really increased in recent years. Especially the leka scented ones.)
Reason 2. Quarter Life Crisis
When I was 16 I had a timeline of my life planned out.
OH Sweet, NAIVE NAIVE nat. You’d probably be disappointed to know that we are still unmarried, we don’t have that coffee shop we wanted and we are not glamorous in any sense. I mean, we own lipstick and leather boots when we try and be fanzy, but yeah, Iggy Azalea is certainly not singing about us. We haven’t grown either. And no, we didn’t marry Zac Efron…yet…or our high school boyfriend. Avril Lavigne is lame now and married that guy with the noodle hair. No, not Justin Timberlake. He got a Brazilian blow out. The other one. The lead singer from Nickelback.
What is it that makes us believe we have to achieve certain things by a certain age anyway? Is it a culmination of religious, cultural and societal standards that strictly steers us in a rigid direction? Why is our worth, for so many, measured by what we have to physically show for it?
I find myself surrounded by married friends, pregnancy, babies, successful careers, mortgages and I’m suffocating slightly under the pressure of what I am yet to achieve. But, do I want to achieve it though? That’s the question. The answer is yes, I do. Maybe not exactly the way everyone else has. But within time. I guess it’s just the idea that I’m so far behind that leaves me wondering when exactly I’ll catch up. If ever.
I INSIST ON MAKING THIS VERY CLEAR. It must be said that I respect everyone’s decisions to live their lives, the way they want to, at the pace they choose to.
I begrudge no one their happiness. In fact, I am sudge a fan of marriage, nothing makes me happier than knowing two people have found each other and will eventually spend their days rubbing out each other’s chests with vicks when they’re old. And for the love of Jon Snow’s beard, please refrain from looking down upon people who do not want kids! Not everyone sees breeding as the pinnacle of life. Not everyone sees the benefit of squeezing life out of a girl part. Geez. Wanna be single and live alone? Do it! Less cake to share. No time for a significant other? Ok then! Just let someone know in advanced so we don’t find your dead body, as a result of you being eaten by your cats.
In the Islamic Capetonian culture being 25 and unmarried basically means I am 65. I may as well start looking for board in old age homes. Maybe I’ll room with Aunty Moena and Aunty Bayda? Together with Murial and Merle, we could start a Geriatric break dance crew and entertain the other boarders… during crafts time. Presenting the Golden Oldies, back to perform their hits: Hip Replacements don’t lie, Just hold on we’re going to the Old Age Home, Scar Tissue…Up my Sleeves and Baby Got Back Ache!
In strong contrast, in my experience, is the white/european/western world culture. My non muslim and white friends are (thankfully) in similar situations to me. Getting married. With kids? At 25? BLASPHEMY! It’s laughable how different the structures of life are according to how we grew up. And so I’m trying to adopt more of this kind of outlook on life. I mean, one of the defining factors of being a twenty something is that you’re not supposed to know exactly what you’re doing. It is the beautiful era of bittersweet discoveries, unrequited love, finding yourself, making wonderful mistakes, learning from them, and then repeating the process again. It is a time synonymous with trial and error. And being broke. So very broke.
I have this battle with my current self and this 16 year old girl ALL THE TIME. And sometimes she wins. Because why haven’t I achieved these things? Pummelled with question upon self loathing question, leading me in to that downward spiral, like Alice down the “What have I done with my life?” rabbit hole. Whatever Alice, we all know you were high. You need help. Druks.
The problem with accepting this is that we’re a generation fueled by instant gratification, dissatisifed with everything if it’s not to our specific requirements #firstworldproblems #mylifesucks #nowifi
In some ways it creates this unrealistic, selfish and spoiled idea that the things we want and don’t have are more important, while we seem to ignore and forget the plethora of things we do have and take our good fortune for granted #BLESSED #SOLUCKY #HAPPINESS We become consumed with getting to where we want to be, instead of enjoying and relishing where we are.
Sometimes we feel the need to prove our happiness and justify it on every social network available, to the extent where we’ve become competitive #mysundaywasbetterthanyours #mymotheristhebest # # #better #bigger #OMGAMAZEBALLS And sometimes we generally are just very happy.
And the answer that I have simply shoved at Young Me when she rears her pesky head is, life cannot be planned. Success is so completely relative to each person, it is almost incomparable. Success should be measured by how content and at ease you are with yourself and your life situation. Simply put Young Me, if it was supposed to happen, it would have. If it is supposed to happen, it will. Just be easy bra. Easier said than done.
So shutup 16 year old nat, you still wear flare jeans and shimmery eyeshadow! And I don’t know why you believed Avril when she made you believe wearing chains on your jeans could work.
Reason 3. OCD
I’m tired. I’m exhausted. Mentally more so than physically. Largely because I have OCD. In a nutshell, Obsessive-compulsive disorder is an anxiety disorder characterized by uncontrollable, unwanted thoughts and repetitive, ritualized behaviors you feel obligated to perform. It’s been likened to having mental tourettes. Or like a needle getting stuck on an old record, OCD causes the brain to get stuck on a particular thought or urge.
Contrary to popular belief, it doesn’t always involve the need for being extremely neat and clean or orderly. This is a great misconception.
To vaguely outline what this means to me: my mind becomes so involved in the repetitive motion of what I’m doing I sometimes become completely oblivious to where I am and what I’m actually doing. Things become a colourful bombardment of a swirling mess of images and sounds in my head, finally honing in on completing one activity. It’s extremely overwhelming. It’s very difficult to explain. I won’t go in to too mudge detail as to the nature of my situation. But sometimes it takes me two – three hours to complete an activity. While most of my friends are aware of my situation, no one other than my family members have really bared witness to how crappy things can get. I’ve become angry, more reclusive, tired, despondent and generally withdrawn. I cry a lot and waste copious amounts of time. The irony is that these are not usually traits you would associate with me in the slightest (except the crying part. I tjank quigly. Put on a sad movie and I have all the feels) I am a generally happy person…that is until my personal mental cloud of doom descends.
Man-Child Boss was extremely understanding and sympathetic to my affliction. If I was 20 minutes late to work or took too long during lunch…he got it. My Next Boss may not. So before I dive into a new work place, I need time to get this under control. Because I strongly doubt “I’m late because I had to shower five times before work because I didn’t feel clean enough” constitutes as a legitimate excuse for being late.
Before I resigned, I could barely concentrate at work. Coupled with my constant anxiety and the need for change, I had to leave. I felt like a quitter before I made the decision. “I’m tired so I don’t feel like it anymore”. Isn’t that the most immature thing to do? When life gets hard you can’t just say “I don’t waaaaannaaaaaaa”. But why not? I am young, with no kids or husband, no intenze finanszhial responsibilities. So why not? If ever there was a time, this is it.
My main goal is to clear my mind. To come to terms who I am and who I actually want to be and how I can get there. It’s a pretty spiritual and profound mini journey I’m embarking on I suppose #deep #profound. Am I Julia Roberts? Is this Eat Pray Love? If so, may I please have my James Franco? Thank you.
While I am realistic and know that simply staying at home won’t fix the problem, I know that switching off, shedding the mundane worries of 9-5 employment and being alone and relaxing a bit will bring me closer to doing so. (Inshallah Inshallah).
This post is just a tiny rant, a frustrated girl’s soliloquy, thinking out loud, a shout in to the oblivion. Thoughts that will disappear as soon as they are said, because they are really nothing compared to the suffering of others. And so I am in fact, undoubtedly very lucky in all that I have (alghamdullilah). Because I DO have a lot. It would be ungrateful, to say the least, to not acknowledge the fact that I have great friends and a supportive family.
I thus go forth with all the optimism I have (and I can have a moerse lot), choosing to believe in the Greater Good, rather than focus on the not so great things. If we live without hope, or faith or the belief that things will not improve, then surely we are not living at all?
So please, send me good vibes and great thoughts and hopefully I can have the best sabbatical ever?
And for all you twenty somethings (or plus) nodding your heads in agreement or understanding to any of what I’m saying, I’m right here with you. There’s a lot of us. In fact, I’m working on t-shirts and caps for our club. Burnt Orange. Maybe some organza or satin. We’ll figure things out…eventually. Until then, I feel like we all need to eat more cake.
Okbye. I have to go back to sleep now #toughlife