Since I left university something great has happened: I started to live in the moment. For many years I’d been living in the future thinking in terms of ‘after’: I will… after my high school diploma, after my degree… I studied for exams to pass year by year. The first time I got a glimpse into ‘life’ was in my holidays during my exchange year in NZ. I was hiking for a few months, feeling like nothing and no-one was holding me back. Then it was back to uni plus a long distance relationship. It felt harder than before; when you’ve had a taste of something nice it’s hard to forget about it. I wasn’t only back in a place I felt like I didn’t belong (I still like aspects of academia and did get a first class honours) but I was also far away from a special someone.
When I finally graduated I felt kind of stressed. What now? What am I gonna do next? Education gives you security, probably similar to a job. And then you’re on your own, no more parental support (if you were fortunate to get it) and nowhere to go.
Fortunately, I had a plan for the next while: cycletouring with my boyfriend. For the first while I kept feeling anxious about what was gonna follow. Then we had to take a five month beak due to rainy season and came home for a few months. At first we were disappointed, but now towards the end of our hiatus we’re glad it happened. We were able to replace some gear and plan our route together for the next section, we saved up some more money, and most valuable for me, I have become more relaxed. I can stand on my own feet, be it cycling or in one location. I never felt like I was the one to do it like others did it and yet I always felt some kind of pressure, e.g. to go to university right after school and get it all done ‘in a timely manner’. Even though I knew it before, I finally have internalised that age doesn’t matter. No-one should feel pressured by society, the media, or their families. We should try to love our lives and enjoy them and do what makes us happy (which doesn’t mean to not care about others and our planet!!). Who cares whether I don’t get a real job by 31? It’s my life so if anyone is allowed to care it’s me. So here I stand at 23, may my feet carry me a long way, holding my weight but also life’s burdens without weighting me down too much!