So, Facebook was kind enough to let me know this morning via timehop that it’s been exactly one year since I submitted by final university assignment (hahahah that’s fine, I’m fine, seriously I’m great) which got me to dwelling on exactly how little I had achieved in the last twelve months. I find it genuinely terrifying that despite being a Creative Writing graduate, I have so little to show for what I have done in my first year set free in the real world, armed with my diploma and student debt.
The past five years have been such a blur, so much so that I have to think twice when somebody asks my age, because I honestly still think I’m 17. I still remember the months before my seventeenth birthday thinking ‘Wow, this is the only year I can say that Abba are singing about me, because I’ll only be young, sweet and 17 for this one year’. Looking back, I want to kick my younger self in the tits and scream ‘Stop wishing your life away, you’re only 17!’
And now, as I creep into my early twenties (I’m only two years in but what can I say I’m a pessimist), I’m suddenly panicking because 17, 18, 19… and even 20teen (did everyone else refer to being twenty as twenteen because they were in denial?) seems like only yesterday, and the years continue to just move along far too quickly.
I’m scared of ageing. For vanity reasons obviously because I want to be young and attractive forever, but also because there is a huge part of me that doesn’t feel ready for each new year because of the new responsibilities and expectations that come with growing up.
I finished university thinking I would get my dream job so easily. I had big ambitions to be a television journalist, and thought that as a graduate I could easily make this happen within six months. Wrong. Two rejections from the BBC, ITV and Channel 4 later, I’ve realised that maybe my Creative Writing diploma wasn’t quite the golden ticket to employment that I thought it was. And sure, despite not becoming a TV journalist right away, I still managed to get a writing job, and that is something to be proud of even if my heart was a little heavier with rejection from all three major TV broadcasters (seriously, they are probably all laughing thinking ‘Her again, bloody Lucy Scott, when will she take the hint?’).
When I look back on my life, there are so many things I had expected myself to have achieved at different ages, and I’m often disappointed in myself that I haven’t got to those landmarks. I don’t want to waste any years, and I definitely don’t want to leave this earth without making my mark. For example, I’m annoyed at myself that I didn’t write and publish an entire novel when I was at university as I had originally planned to do, I’m irritated that I can no longer run for a marathon-length of time (when I was 19 I could), and I suppose I’m a little peeved that I’m still not famous for anything at all despite being 22 already!
At 17 I wanted to be anywhere but here, here being a tiny town in Dorset where tractors own the roads and takeaways don’t deliver. I got my driving licence at 17 because then I could at least temporarily leave on my own accord, and know in the back of my mind I was one step closer to getting the hell out of this deadbeat town (I read that back in a Texan accent, I hope you do too).
At 18 I moved away to Bath for uni, and sure Bath is only 31 miles away from home, but that was enough to make me feel like I was achieving some kind of independence. It’s funny how with hindsight (and experience) you consider what little choices impact your life. I often wonder had I gone to university in Chichester or Cardiff, would my life be any better or worse? Would I have met better people and made less stupid decisions? Maybe. But then I realise I wouldn’t have met the handful of wonderful people that I did, and I also figured that the more we consider each cross-road choice, the crazier we make ourselves with ‘what ifs’.
At 21, I came home to the previously mentioned ‘deadbeat town’. I still wonder if that was the right choice at the time, and maybe I should of been braver and moved somewhere else and tried to make it in a bigger city with more opportunities. But then, moving somewhere else would have changed me; I might not have messaged a handsome stranger on Instagram who would become the love of my life, I wouldn’t have got a great job which I loved and then hated but met amazing friends in the process, and I definitely wouldn’t of become a better and gentler person.
I think what I’ve realised is that yes, the years will fly by in front of you from the moment you turn 17, so try and embrace age, and make the most of life (did someone say cheese?). Yesterday, having saved so many tattoo ideas on Pinterest for the last year, I decided to just out and get it, because fortune favors the brave, and you shouldn’t just plan your life away until it’s too late to actually do. We should all have those little impulse moods now and again where we do something that terrifies us, whether that be getting the tattoo you’ve ummed and ahhed about for ages, or simply applying for a new job or course.
What I’ve learnt in my twenty-two years on this earth is that you have to be proactive if you want to see change or improvement. Don’t dwell on not achieving one thing by a certain age, but instead go out and make something else happen. There are plenty of things on my bucket list that I haven’t got around to, but there are also plenty that I have so! So be kind to yourself, remember that you are human, and focus on all of your accomplishments instead of your failings! Remember, we’re all in the same boat here just trying to sail along happily.