Do you remember what it felt like to be 21? How about 25? Or 29? With an increasing pressure to ‘experience everything’ while moving forward in your perfect career, travelling lots and finding ‘the one’, it’s not a walk in the park being a twenty-something, and with social media a permanent backdrop, this generation experience things a little differently. As they tip ever closer to the ominous big three-oh we hear from IMAGE staff who find themselves in that dreamy, difficult decade when everything, and nothing, often happens.
Geradline Carton, 26, staff writer, IMAGE.ie
“I am 26 years old (although if we’re being pedantic about it, I’m really just inches away from hitting 27). I like being 26, it feels like I’m at that in-between stage of being old enough to be taken seriously for the work I do and the opinions I hold, but I’m still young enough to wear ridiculous leggings at work and get away with it.
When I look back on how insecure and misdirected I was in my younger years, I’m awash with relief that I don’t have to go back to that time. That’s not to say I think I know it all now, but the fact that my friends and I no longer feel compelled to consume a naggin of vodka before a night out, definitely makes me think I’ve progressed somewhat. The only qualm I really have with being 26 is that it tips me over the edge and kicks me off on the descent towards the ever-ominous 30. And if I’m being honest, that freaks me out a bit.”
Erin Lindsay, 24, staff writer, IMAGE.ie
“Being 24, I can only really describe the feeling I have about being in my twenties as “in-between”. I’m no longer really in my early twenties, where finishing college and getting out into the big bad world is the main concern. I’m not in my late twenties yet, when people are sorting out mortgages and marriages and all that scary stuff. I’m just in the middle, which is a bit of a strange place to be. I do miss being 18-20, when my stamina held up through Friday and Saturday nights out every week, but I really love how much more secure in myself I feel now, even though I know I’ve a long way to go.
For a 24-year-old, I feel like I’m doing OK at the whole life thing. I’m definitely doing a better than I ever thought I would be at this age! Great friends, a loving relationship and a dream job are to thank for that. But there is also a weird sense of needing to speed up – this feeling of needing to have all my ducks in a row by the time the next few years are up. I don’t know if it’s just me, but I feel like there’s such a pressure at this age to always be having new experiences, because ‘you’re only young once’ and all that. So when everything isn’t constantly new, things can feel stagnant. But, to be fair, I don’t think that’s reflective of every 24-year old’s feelings – probably just the over-thinker in me rearing her head again!”
Melanie Mullen, 28, CARA Magazine
“At 28, my holiday’s are more regularly being planned around weddings and hen weekends than sunny fortnights in far away places. As much as I love that, it’s an excellent reminder that I’m not at that stage of my life, yet. Your 20’s start out with comments like “You’re too young to be getting married or to be settling down. Enjoy yourself” and without notice change to “Have you any man on the scene, yet? You’d want to be getting your skates on.” It’s a difficult one to not let get to you. Especially when your friends are settling down around you and “want to see you happy too” – heaven forbid I should be happy on my own?! – so they encourage you to download every applicable dating app in the hope that one swipe might match. They’re all deleted as soon as the wine has worn off.
Then there’s the buying a house, and having a career … you could let it all get to you, but at the end of the day I’m only 28. I, hopefully, haven’t even lived half my life and I’ve achieved so much; I’ve reached goals and set new ones, I’ve learnt so much, I’ve been challenged and I’ve changed my mind on many things I thought I was certain about. That’s ok; I’m certain to do it many times over in life. It’s time I start focusing on the what I have achieved instead of what I, or others, think I might be missing out on because they’re the parts that count.”
Sophie Teyssier, 27, Social Media Manager, IMAGE.ie
“Sometimes I can’t believe I’m 27. (Soon to be 28. Eek) I think growing up, everyone imagines where they’ll be at each point in their twenties. And more often than not, life doesn’t pan out the way they thought it would. It’s funny because nobody tells you or prepares you for the fact that everything doesn’t really move in a straight line, but that’s okay and totally normal.
I have always been very organised and when I was younger I felt I could plan my career and life goals out to a T. (FYI- you can’t do that. Not really anyway.) During my early teenage years, I had mapped out exactly what I wanted to achieve (I was a typical Rory Gilmore). I wanted to get into art college, do fashion, travel, become a designer, have an amazing group of friends, lots of dogs in the mix and eventually get married by 30. The reality is I did get into art college but I decided to do textile design, I went to New York, came back, went down a rabbit hole of digital design which finally lead me to social media and here I am at IMAGE. And that’s just my career, I have the other half and best friends but I don’t have the dogs (yet.)
I’m much more relaxed now, I’ve learned to go with the flow a little bit. I’m a big believer in fate, everything happens for a reason and all of that jazz. It is scary hearing my friends talking about saving for mortgages especially because I’m still thinking of my next holiday or possibly saving up for that Fendi bag (one day.) It’s important to stop comparing yourself to others. I know we’re told this all the time, but in this generation of ‘online’- it’s more important now than ever. You got this, you’re only in your 20s!
Edaein O’Connell, 23, Social Media Intern
“I am deathly afraid of ageing. And I don’t mean in a physical sense. My fear stems from this deep visceral part of my being which believes that my best years are few and far between. I look at Instagram more than I like to admit, and maybe herein is where the issue lies. Everybody is younger and more successful than me on that platform. And the more successful these people are, the younger they get.
Fear is the key emotion of my 23rd year. Fear that I am not on the right path. Fear that I don’t travel enough. Fear about money, my friends, family, what I eat, drink, wear, say and don’t say. But most of all, fear that I have not hit a milestone. Whether it be career, financial, or relationship stemmed. I fester in a constant state of life limbo. I know it’s irrational but right now there is probably a 20-year-old entrepreneur on a boat throwing dollar bills out into the Pacific, and that is what scares me.”