The Pressures of Life and a Pandemic

You know that feeling you get when someone you haven’t seen in a while asks those dreaded questions about what you’re doing with your life? Well unfortunately that’s what I’ve been feeling a lot of lately.

“What are you going to do now that you’ve finished High School?”
“Oh, you’ve graduated University? What job are you going to get?”
“What do you think you want to do with your life? What are your plans?”

In any ordinary circumstances these questions are always difficult to hear, but now pair them with a pandemic and unprecedented times, and a whole lot of other pressures come along with them.
If you’re not entirely sure of your response, you’ll stand there wondering what to say and how to adequately express your thoughts to the person in front of you. Do I be honest? Or do I just come up with something to fit in with societies ideas of a ‘perfect life’.

I’ll be honest and say that when I get asked these questions, I internally cringe and shrink within myself. It’s not a great feeling to know that you’re going to have to confess to someone that you’re not entirely sure what you’re doing with your own life. Then there’s also the feeling of knowing that they’re going to be judging your answers, and if you’re lucky, give that look of disapproval straight to your face.

Unfortunately, I know this look all too well. “Oh, you’ve graduated from University, what did you study?” “Journalism” I’ll reply, as I stand there and await the look. For some reason not a lot of people understand why I chose to study Journalism, but for me it was the choice that made the most sense. I have a massive passion for writing, would love to work in TV or radio and just love a lot of the elements that go on behind the scenes in the communications world. But, even when I explain this, they all seem to still provide me with that look I’ve become all too familiar with, and it’s generally followed by the question “You know that’s a dying industry?”. Yes, thank you I did happen to know that.

Now that I’ve graduated (well I have my diploma, but no ceremony due to COVID-19) the pressures of society seem to have become a lot worse. There’s all these expectations that we should be straight out of University and straight into a full-time job. But what if we don’t want to be?
For me, thats never been my goal. I never wanted to jump straight out of High School, straight into University and then straight into a full-time job. It’s just not me, and to be honest I don’t know when that may change for me, it could be tomorrow, or it could be in five years.

This year I was meant to be on an exchange program overseas for the last 5 months of the year, but unfortunately that all fell through due to the current pandemic. Since then, I’ve been more confused about what I want to do in and with my life, then I felt before I was about to graduate from Year 12 (almost four years ago, wow). While I still love Journalism, and am super glad I did my degree, I’ve come to realise that I have a passion for a few different things in my life. I’m currently trying to explore ways that I can hopefully combine every single one of these passions into a job. For now though I’m happy working my retail jobs, and doing some freelance work for brands on the side.

Last week, I caught up with a friend from University, who also studied the same degree, and I can’t even begin to explain how this small conversation made me instantly feel better about myself. Just the fact of being able to hear that someone else isn’t entirely sure that what they originally planned to do is what they want to do anymore is comforting. Because society is constantly making us feel that we should know what we’re doing, the fact of just hearing someone else say what you’ve been thinking, out loud, and is able to understand what you’re going through, is a really nice feeling. It helps to know that you’re not always alone.

Another thing I’ve also been struggling with understanding, is that each of our lives have their own timeline. While someone else may get married and have kids at 24, someone else’s life will lead them down that path as they reach closer to 40. Sometimes it’s just hard to imagine that while someone else has experienced so much at the same age, you’re still stuck in the same place, doing the same things you’ve been doing for the last five years. Yes, you may have grown as a person and your hobbies and friends around you may have changed, but you still feel like you haven’t moved and instead stayed stagnant, as others continue to speed past you.

I know it’s a feeling so many other people face daily, but sometimes that doesn’t make it any easier. You’ll just sit and wonder, why can’t I experience that now? Because it’s not time for you and your journey. Your time will come.

“We all take different paths in life, but no matter where we go, we take a little bit of each other everywhere”

The fact that we’ve spent over half of this year dealing with lockdowns and quarantines, isn’t helping with all of these life pressures and trying to work out what we’re doing. We’re spending countless hours inside and away from friends and family, and it honestly makes it difficult to keep the passion alive for things we used to love doing. I love writing and reading, yet can’t seem to find the motivation most days to sit down and do either of these things. Instead, I’ll mindlessly scroll through Tik Tok or YouTube for ages, and then repeat the next day. It’s a never ending cycle at the moment, but one I probably need to break. I do still do things like go to work and clean the house, but a lot of the time motivation is well and truly lacking for things I used to enjoy.

While this pandemic might have left you feeling isolated and alone, and wondering for hours on end what you should be doing with your life, you’re not alone in your feelings. There’s so many people around you, whether that be in your household, or an internet click away, that know somewhat exactly how you’re feeling.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that, even if you don’t know what you’re doing with your life – and let’s be honest majority of us probably don’t know – it’s okay to be feeling this way. No matter what society wants us to believe, we all need to follow our own path and do what makes us happy. If that’s graduating from High School and travelling for 10 years, then do that! Or it could be working in retail for the next 20 years. Just do what makes you happy and please try not to fall into the pressures of everyday life and trying to make ourselves look put together and ‘society perfect’.

This is a blog post that I’ve been sitting on the idea of for a few weeks. I would sit down to write it and then question whether I needed to put these thoughts out there into the world. In the end it came down to wanting to just share my thoughts, and hope that maybe this post helps someone else out there feel a little bit of comfort.

4 thoughts on “The Pressures of Life and a Pandemic

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