Where Does Dreaming Get You? Life In Your Twenties.

Photo by Nick Scheerbart on Unsplash

I’ve often been told that post-university life would seamlessly fall into place, complete with the dream job, a significant other, a mortgage, exploring various cities, and experiences. Reality paints a different picture — I find myself back in my quaint village with an unreliable bus system, living with my parents, immersed in a full-time role at the local McDonald’s. The friends I left behind have moved on. In truth, I’ve never felt quite so isolated. My strategy? An audacious leap to South Korea to teach English.

“So, what if South Korea doesn’t work out?” my parents inquire. The answer is simple: I’ll fade into oblivion, leaving no trace behind.

I’ve immersed myself in self-help materials, preparing for such an outcome. Yet, the thought of my South Korean dreams dashed terrifies me – the prospect of another two years enduring a job I despise, compounded by this intense solitude, is unbearable.

Sometimes, I ponder if I should never have left Edinburgh. But even in the last few months there, the sense of isolation persisted. It seems that growing up means growing apart, each of us grappling with our own issues. It crosses my mind – would sharing my struggles, my unconventional way of thinking, garner understanding? Could it shield me from the labels of ‘boring,’ ‘blunt,’ or ‘bitter’?

The label of ‘boring’ stung. I was accustomed to ‘loud,’ ‘annoying,’ or ‘in your face.’ ‘Boring’ was assigned when I dared to unveil my authentic self, shattering the party-girl façade I had curated. The party girl who engaged in outrageous antics for others’ amusement, the boisterous one who tolerated jokes that no one else could. I felt exploited, and the burden grew overwhelming, prompting my retreat. The vivacious party girl was no more. I lost my mask, my alter ego – my Clark Kent to Superman.

What was I even discussing? Could it be that the rest of my twenties won’t mirror this desolation? It feels as though I’m wasting away, akin to the other pieces of writing tucked away in digital folders. This is why I aspired to be a writer – initially to chronicle my thoughts, my anecdotes. Over time, that ambition expanded – I yearned to share my emotions and perspectives with the world.

My twenties were meant to brim with excitement and adventure, yet they’re characterised by a monotonous cycle between my house and mundane employment. I split my time between chores at home and helping my elderly grandparents with their errands. On occasion, I reconnect with hometown friends or exchange messages with university acquaintances. Fleetingly, I’m not entirely alone.

This could be a mere blip in my life’s narrative. I knew this would be a brief chapter before embarking on my Asian escapade. However, I never anticipated that old friends would leave me unread, ignore my messages, or forget about me. Perhaps I’m overreacting, but I’ve always had a flair for the dramatic.

As my parents raise the concern of what if South Korea doesn’t materialise, my response echoes in my mind. The truth is, I’ve already disappeared within myself. The days blend into an amalgamation of routine and longing, leaving me yearning for something more — something fulfilling.

Reflecting back, the past holds memories of a different me – a girl who exuded confidence, laughter, and charisma. The metamorphosis into this current version was a gradual process, shaped by experiences, choices, and circumstances. But within the transformation, I wonder if I’ve lost myself along the way. Sometimes, I find solace in pondering the concept of parallel universes. In another dimension, perhaps I’m the accomplished journalist, the globe-trotter, or the carefree spirit I yearn to be. But here and now, I’m grappling with the bittersweet reality of a life that has diverged from those initial dreams.

It’s not a matter of dwelling on what could have been, but rather embracing what is. While the pangs of loneliness still gnaw at my heart, there’s a flicker of determination. The mundane job, the echoes of laughter from old friendships – they’re threads in the tapestry of my existence. Each stitch, no matter how painful, has woven its way into my narrative.

So, as I navigate the tumultuous waters of this phase, I remind myself that it’s okay to feel lonely – to yearn for connections that were, to yearn for adventures that haven’t been. It’s all part of the human experience.

Ultimately, I’m discovering that the most vital connection I must nurture is the one with myself. The girl who’s undergone changes, faced loneliness, and clung to dreams. She’s still here, waiting to embrace the world – whether it’s in South Korea or the next chapter yet to be written.

As I stare at the horizon, hope rekindles. Maybe my twenties are an intricate dance of self-discovery and resilience. And perhaps, in this journey of becoming, I’ll find that the most profound companionship is the one I forge with my own heart.


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