Dont worry. Nobody else has a fucking clue what they’re doing either.

 

I hope if anything my legacy will be that my mere existence on this earth completely backs up the title of this piece. Fumbling, mumbling and tripping over life is something I’ve come to realise is my norm and I’ve become increasingly okay with that, because I’ve realised it’s not just my norm.

Obviously there are those enviable humans that go through like with ease, things just seem to go a bit more smoothly for them. You know the ones that seem to magically get stuff without even trying. The ones that get things you’ve been striving for for years within what seems a matter of moments. The people that don’t appear to have to fight or work themselves into the ground to get what or to where they want.

These are the people we also unfairly and secretly get green eyed over, eye-roll, even obsess over, because we’re bitter and twisted that we’re not one of them. But while there are some people that are, for lack of a better word, ‘jammy’, who genuinely do live a bit of a charmed or lucky life, there are also some that just appear to have it easier.

We shouldn’t assume people feel happy and content just because they have the things we’ve found it hard to achieve or because they have the things we believe would make us happy. We should assume there are details about their journey which would also entirely change our perception of their route or ability to reach happiness or success.

Just to put it in relatable context four young adults. Let’s apply it to those people that have appeared to have got on the property ladder with frustrating ease.

We tend to assume one of the following things.

They’ve much more successful than us and earning way more, and if we dwell on this in a moment of self loathing our minds will then tell us that we’re therefore failing at life.

They’ve have a trust fund, a massive parental pay out, or parents have pretty much completely funded the purchase.

They must be secret Lottery winners, and we ponder why we aren’t ever that lucky.

They have a partner, and one that can contribute to a deposit in a considerable way.

Whatever the reason it’s very rarely so linear or straight forward in real life.

I know many people who have only been able to get on the property ladder due to losing parents or relatives and as a result have money they wouldn’t have had otherwise to invest in property and their future. Would they give it all back to have more time with their relatives, I guaranteed the majority would say yes. They didn’t ask for it, but are quite rightly trying to make something positive out of a dreadful situation. When you put it like that it doesn’t quite seem like the fairytale easy peasy scenario does it?

Perhaps that person has made more sacrifices that you’re aren’t aware of in pursuit of that elusive deposit. Maybe they’ve missed out on a lot of fun that the majority of their friends have been revelling in during their young adult lives. Maybe you opted to live in the city with it’s expensive living costs, and have had great social life and independence in your twenties/thirties, but they might have given that up to save.

Maybe they were in the fortunate position to be able to save and live with their parents due to their location in relation to their work, something you didn’t have the option of. Maybe they actively chose a job or career that would allow them to do so, which may have involved sacrificing their dream career to do something that would simply work with this deposit saving plan, ticking the sensible boxes rather than the passion ones. Maybe you’ve chosen to pursue a dream career which fulfils you greatly but may mean that money and stability is harder to come by,

Maybe they live in a part of the world where property is a lot cheaper, and if you lived there too you might be able to take that step aswell.

Perhaps to make it happen they’ve had to sell most of the things they own, team up with another friend or family member, sell a kidney, do some very unsavoury part time work.

Maybe they used a complex concoction of help to buy schemes, save to buy ISA’s and have been very money conscious their whole lives. The type that have a pension plan and never have splurges and blow outs.

Perhaps they’ve done it by themselves but know that they will pretty much not be able to have a life for the foreseeable future to make it workable.

What I’m saying is don’t assume they’re this perfect human being just because they appear to be in a position that you feel you should be in or want to be in. Don’t assume it’s been straightforward. Don’t assume they’ve had everything handed on a plate. Don’t decide that they’re better or more accomplished than you because of it. And most importantly don’t you dare allow yourself to think you don’t deserve these things.

When I apply this statement to people with what I’d describe as illustrious, inspiring or impressive careers. Those people we think are girl bosses (ugh I thoroughly detest that term) but you know the type I mean. It’s amazing the amount of people I’ve put on a pedestal, thinking they’re more accomplished, confident, skilled, then speak to them and find them to be suffering from a severe case of Imposter Syndrome. Many riddled with self doubt, coping via numerous vices to just get through their working days when living with stress induced insomnia. People who are actually looking for a way out of toxic working environments.

Then there’s people that have these amazing job titles, then when you work alongside them or actually get an insight into what they do it isn’t nearly the glamourous or cool as you imagine. And sometimes they’re people that aren’t bossing it as much as you’d imagined when extrapolating from the highlight reel of their job they post on instagram. They’ll be traversing the normal office politics. Maybe they won’t be sharing when they’ve missed a target or deadline or had a less than peachy appraisal. Perhaps they won’t be sharing the impending doom they’re feeling when rumours of redundancies circulate round the office. Maybe it’s a role that isn’t fulfilling them in the way they always assumed it would. Of course some (and I hope, many) are very happy in their jobs and doing extremely well, but even they will face challenges that test them.

There’s also so many jobs my friend have that I wonder the following ‘ How the hell do they know how to do that?” How the bejesus do they feel comfortable or confident doing that?

Then I apply these statements to what people might assume of some of the stuff I do (had I not removed any mystery about the reality by my incessant oversharing). Just because someone is doing something, it doesn’t mean they find it easy, nor that they enjoy it. Many people will in fact just be coping or getting through stuff, and no more. When they do their presentations, or have those important meetings you picture them commanding the room and capturing the audience attention and sealing that dealing dragons den style. You don’t think about the possible anxiety rashes travelling from their chest to their neck. You don’t think about the stumbled words, or the sleepless nights on the run up. The snappish words had at home, when their partner doesn’t understand how much strain they’re under. You also don’t necessarily hear about the clients they’ve lost in-between the wins. You don’t necessarily hear about all the on the job training they’ve had to do to make their everyday job possible, or the reading up at home they’re doing to try an avoid a moment that might reveal them as a novice, amateur , imposter or beginner to their colleagues,

You don’t stop learning in relationships either. I feel like I’m winging it every single day, and sometimes not even that. Even after 4 fairly long relationships in my life I feel I should be fairly educated in the daily runnings of how they work. However, I realise as I get older the perception of what I’ve learned constantly changes and how I want to use the information or react to it does too. Each relationship gifts you with new things, whether that be another artists or album you now need to avoid. A new bad habit you have to give up. A new perception of yourself (right or wrong) that you have to get used to, deciding whether you’re happy to live with it or need to work on changing. They’ll be a new event or issue you should probably be tackling in therapy or more reason to tackle the same old ones. And even in lengthy relationships you’re learning something new every single month about how to make the relationship last, as you both evolve (often not in parallel) and as your situations change as ageing and life takes place. As my needs, desires, dealbreakers changes with every year, the way I wing it changes ,and perhaps so does my willingness to wing it a certain way with a certain person.

I guess all this means I find it kinda weird that there are relationship experts and life coaches out there because I don’t know anyone who isn’t making mistakes, perhaps influenced by unhelpful things, or coming from a place of trial and error. One person’s way to wing something might be very different to someone else’s way to wing something. Does anyone really have the right answers for everyone? I would guesstimate not, although I think we can all benefit from non judgmental outside opinion.

What about those people you always appear to have tidy houses, have neatly written out address books and never an excess amount of old used tissues in their handbags. I always wonder as they’re as together and sorted as they appear. I keep thinking to myself that maybe if I started a bullet journal I would be one of those people that was completely focused and knew what they were doing. But the reality is I’d end up doodling shapely ladies with nice breasts, cute curly haired cartoon dogs, or something of the phallic variety. I’d find it an excuse to avoid my to-do list and instead leave the house and head to WHSMITHs to extend my gel pen/ highligher collection. I’d then spend a a stupid amount of time procrastinating about the aesthetic I was going to have for my bullet journal. While it would no doubt look pretty and pinterst ready and I’d post in on social media to show people how super organised, driven and goal orientated I was, the reality is that knowing how my brain works it wouldn’t be referenced often and I’d instead still choose to refer to my jumbled brain to locate my immediate plan of action. I’ve also learned that it’s pretty pointless for me to many long-terms plans, as spanners will always get in to my works.

I’ve been doing a lot of boring but fairly mentally challenging stuff relating to solicitors and banks at the moment. Dealing with wills, deeds and other things that make my chest feel a little bit tight with worry. I challenged myself to try and get through it all without seeking the help or reassurance of my Dad, knowing that in the not to distant future I won’t have my parents to rely on to get through very adult processes to do with legalities and money. Half the time I haven’t had a Scooby-do what the solicitor has been going on about, and have had to fake my understanding so they don’t realise that I still feel like a gorky and naive 12 year old child with a neon bumbag in my head. After I send my email reply or end the call on my phone I head to Google and Youtube to make sure I haven’t agreed to something damaging to my future, and try to equip myself with as much knowledge about what I’m dealing with as possible (even if I have to open even more tabs to then seek out definitions of words used within those explanations). I think I’ve got through it pretty unscathed, as far as I can tell at least. But if I just gave you a soundbite about this activity, something tweet worthy like. ‘I’ve just finished another successful meeting with my solicitor’ you may think I very much have my ‘shiz’ together. I don’t at all, but I also know the only way you learn this stuff is by doing it, sometimes getting it wrong, and then trying not to make the same mistake again. They certainly didn’t teach us this stuff in school, but boy do we all wish they did then maybe the title of this blog post would be different. Something like, ‘We sometimes have a effing clue what we’re doing, but still mainly not’.

When it comes to friendships I’d say I definitely don’t have effing clue right now what I’m doing right now. I find myself not know who to trust. I wonder who’s in it for the right reasons. I constantly re-evaluate how many friends I can realistically manage, without getting myself in a stew about how many I have to let down, cancel on, not see/mesage regularly. I’m asking myself whether I should distance myself entirely just to avoid that feeling of guilt that you feel as the distant and unavailable friend, even if its a result of no money/bad health/family sickness and not just being a flake. Trying to work out whether the friends I’ve had are friends I should continue to have. What sort of personality type is actually a good for me. When you should speak out about thinking their partner is a wrongan? When, if ever, you should tell them if you think they’re behaviour is the cause of their ill fated relationships. Whether it ok to say that you worry they’re using cosmetic surgery to mask something deeper that’s going on. Whether you should work with them, and if you do whether it’s okay to say if you’re unhappy about something?

When it comes to my health I don’t really know whether I’m doing things right either? Should I continue to stress myself out with appointment and have the awkward conversations where I express that I want a new specialist because the last one wasn’t good. Do I pursue getting this new diagnosis even if there’s not much they can do anyway. I never know whether I should push myself as much as I do in the hope it’ll pay off , in that the stress reduction I may feel as a result of being less financially strained will mean my health issues will be easier to deal with. Or do I allow myself to rest more. Opt out and earn less, and feel somewhat better physically. Should I talk about my health woes online, and deal with the added stress that comes with that, or should I just quietly crack on and focus purely on my own wellbeing and progress. Who knows?

While I don’t want to get into a lot of the source material or themes of cancel culture, that would be taking things into a different direction, I do think cancel culture is largely unhelpful because EVERYONE, and I really mean EVERYONE is learning, unless we wanna talk about those bloody psychopaths narcissists we’re watching in all those crime documentaries right now, who don’t think they need to learn. I think it’s important to emphasis that that we all have this capability and that it is as much a part of growing as the successes we are taught to celebrate. The best and most life changing learning often comes from error, mistakes missteps, so let’s not automatically publicly eradicate anyone who makes them, particularly if they’re willing to acknowledge them and work towards making necessary changes.

Before I go and inevitable massacre my dinner, that I will probably end up showing you on instagram with burnt items removed, let me suggest that we must stop looking at just the end points and the results, and really consider what may have taken place in-between.

I’m pretty sure everyones making a mess. Some of us are just better at hiding it.

Photos are self portraits. Tee from Mercht designed by Jenna Greenwood

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