I’m reminded today of a Buffy quote.
Giles: Do you think I don’t know what it’s like to be 17?
Buffy: No, I don’t think you know what it’s like to be 17, and a girl, and the slayer!
I’ve never mentioned my age on this blog. Maybe for privacy but probably not. I thought that if people knew how young I was, they wouldn’t think my thoughts were worth reading. At the moment I’m twenty years old. I was born in 1986 but for a long time now I have spent time with people about five or ten years older than me, most of my friends are older than me. They seem to think of me as older than I am as well, many of them tell me how mature I am and old they think I am. I don’t try to be mature, that’s just the way I am and I guess because they treat me that way I think I’m older too.
So here I am, twenty years old, married, half way through a science degree, and walking a fairly different path to anyone who should be my peer. I seem to be having what I’ll call a beginning-of-life-crisis. After taking a break from uni and working in a science lab, I’m not sure that science is really what I want to do. I still find it interesting in itself but to be a scientist is difficult and getting harder. You need to do work, write papers, build credibility in your field. If you want to do research you can’t just get a salary paying job, you need to join a team, apply for grants, beg for money from anyone you can. The more papers you have published in good journals, the more money you are likely to get, but what if you’re young and haven’t had a chance to write a lot of papers yet? You can’t get the money to do the work to write the papers to get the money. I’ve seen the more difficult and frustrating sides of science, as opposed to the ones that made me want to do science, for example how amazing the body is to work the way it does. I don’t know if this life is for me. It’s also not really something you can effectively do part time, what if I want to have children? Will I be forced into a boring, suck-the-life-outta-me part-time job?
Since taking time off I’ve found other things, my interests have diversified, I have changed. I’m sure everyone has the odd emotional spat, being married and having one makes me feel entirely embarrassed and I feel the need to apologise to my husband. He has said that it’s okay and that I’m young, I’m still changing and growing up and finding out who I am. I wondered how I could be doing those things when I was officially an adult and was married and people thought I was 25. Thinking I am older than I am has made me more confused when I do youthful things. I realise now that I am changing and growing up and trying to figure out who I am. I thought I had done that when I was 15 and had a bad year, there was a lot of angst then and I thought I was passed that. Then when I was 17 I had a few difficult times, but managed to get over them without the pain of 15. I loved being 18, I was probably the happiest I’d ever been and I thought I knew who I was and how my life might play out; it seemed easy. Now at 20 I’m having another angst time, I don’t know who I am or what I want or how to get it. Everything seems so difficult.
Someone suggested to me that it’s much better to find out now, figure out what will make me happy and to just do that. She said it’s not failing to not finish one degree so you can pursue what you want. It’s more of a failure to do something you feel that you have to and to be annoyed about it. I don’t know what it is that I want, I keep thinking that perhaps when I go back to my science degree next year, my passion for it will be rekindled. It would be nice for that to happen but the prospect of going back seems so lonely. UNSW, to me, is a very lonely place. I live far away so I have to travel at least an hour each way by myself. When I get there I don’t have any friends, maybe because I live so far away, and the people I was casually acquainted with before are now going to be in the year above me, or they will have left.
Oh to find the answers. How sweet that would be. To trust God completely and not be weighed down, to be free….