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Why your twenties can be a complete revolution

By Holly Baxter

Published 26/03/2016

Holly Baxter
Holly Baxter

Conventional wisdom has it that your 20s are a scary time - and it's true that some parts are trying. You still get ID'd at the Sainsbury's self-check-out queue by someone who seems half-convinced that you're using a fake driver's licence for a wild night of merlot, chipsticks and gangland destruction.

But, at the same time, your (my) little sister - now at university, despite the fact that you only helped potty-train her yesterday - will swan round to your flat at some point and announce that the bar she went to last night was deeply uncool because it was "full of 25-year-olds pretending they're not old".

For this reason - and more - there's an abundance of commentary around at the moment on quarter-life crises and how to avoid, embrace or navigate them. But those articles don't chime with me.

Perhaps it's because I spent a lot of my childhood being shuttled between different caregivers. Or perhaps it's because I'm what my mother euphemistically terms "quietly controlling". But I've never felt that adulthood is scarier than childhood.

Adulthood, to me, means knowing I'll never be a pawn in a parental dispute. I'll never have to sit for hours at a table staring down food that makes me want to vomit. I'll never have a book taken off me because reading isn't a sociable enough exercise. In other words, finally entering financially independent adulthood has been greeted with a huge sigh of relief.

It's funny how much your routines can change when left to your own devices. As a child, I lived in a TV-heavy household, where the box was the centre of every room and the default activity was sitting in front of it. Since moving out, I've never once owned a TV (or missed it).

Recent figures suggest that's a growing trend, with 16 to 35-year-olds the least likely age group to have a TV in their household and the least likely to watch TV programmes, or series, at all. Our lifestyles are defined by connectivity and communication. These are all the reasons why young adulthood in 2016 is brilliant. It's true salaries are low, rents are high and benefits are being slashed.

These are serious issues impacting on many of our lives - mine included. But our voices have never been heard so clearly. We've never been able to seek out kindred spirits so easily. Appreciate the uniquely 20-something privilege of being youthful, yet entirely independent.

Belfast Telegraph

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