What Happens Next?

I think I may overuse the phrase 'existential crisis'. It's not that I have a literal breakdown when I think about my life too deeply, but I just go to that place where all you can think about is the what ifs. 

For the last 21 years, I've lead a very traditional life, basically sticking to the path set out for me by society, 13 years of school, a finding-yourself-gap-yarhhh, three years of university, soaking up every aspect of uni life you possibly can, to prepare you for post-university life. 

And right now, I'm freaking out. I'm thinking about how life is too short, I want to travel the world, go to places hard to get to and do things I look back and think 'wow', I really did that. And then there's the practicalities. Getting a job to fund this, finding a job in a sea of other-you's, rent, bills, COUNCIL TAX. I've been winging most things in life for the last few years. School, eyeliner, university. But it gets to the point where you start to wonder- should I be doing this? Have I made the right decision for myself? 

The saying 'the grass is always greener' has never been more applicable than right now. Half of me wants to be a London lady, working in one of the most vibrant, exciting cities in world, brunching on the weekends, and the other half of me feels like I need to do more, see more. I have friends married, with children, in their dream careers and (according to Facebook), just cruising through life.

But I've realised this fear, this comparison to those around me, is in the pressure of having a life-plan. Of having a 'forever job' the second you step foot out into the big wide world. 'What do you want to do' becomes a reflection of staring at your 45 year old self, still in your graduate job, maybe with a family. But the reality is, it's not going to be like that, and most importantly, it doesn't have to be.

I realised this week, the main source of my daily existential crisis, is the magnitude of the choices I'll be making over the next few months. But the truth is, they're only as big as I make them. Just because I'll (hopefully) be going into a salary job, it doesn't mean I can't travel the world. If I go into public relations, it doesn't mean in a few years time I can't go into publishing. Your passions and interests will change and adapt, you're always going to be susceptible to new things, and I've realised how important it is to embrace this, be open to the possibility of changing your life plan. And if you don't have one, that's fine too. There's no greater time to be lost and confused than in your twenties.

What these weeks, months, lifetime of worrying has eventually taught me, is that life is too short to panic about the future. Especially right now. The future is exciting, it shouldn't be giving you sleepless nights, and if it is, it's time you had a little self-reflection (better done with a glass of Cab Sav). Every decision you make, every choice you say yes to or turn down, teaches you something about yourself. The opportunities you grab, and the one's you decide not to follow, they are refined and reflected in you. I may not know what I want to do, but I know I don't want to become an accountant. I may not have a boyfriend, but I know that honestly, I also don't want to have one right now.

Each realisation is a small success.  I'm on a path, you're on a path, and it's forked and muddy and can sometimes be littered with cow shit, but it's there. Getting lost is part of the excitement, just remember, it's completely up to you if you go back to the same path or carry on with a new one.

Love, Alice x


  1. Thank you, I needed this. I'm not really panicked about life, more 'I'm happy, but I don't want this life forever, but I also don't know what life I do want'. If that makes any sense? Your words have helped, thank you for sharing them. We will get there, wherever there is :)

  2. This was wonderfully written, and don't worry, these feelings will never go away. I have "started again" 3 times now and I'm only 27, I think I'll end up doing it again many times before I retire. I started out wanting to do one thing at uni, dropping out, starting another, then in September I left that and started another entirely new career path.

    Don't worry about what the future holds, just make sure that whatever you do is making you happy right now and for the immediate future, you can always decide in a year to completely give up the job and go travelling. The world is your oyster!

    Rachel x
    The Inelegant Wench