When our parents look at us in comparison to themselves at the age of 25, we really seem to have it all. So, why are we so dissatisfied?
Educated, employed, often well paid and with no children to tie them down, under 30s should be living their wonder years. But with education comes student debt. With the good job comes boredom and a compulsion to keep up with the spending habits of others.
The mounting weight of loans and credit cards is often the hub of this dissatisfaction. Pressure to buy a home rather than rent forms an impossible dream in the midst of rising debt repayments and a lack of savings. Many young grown ups choose to remain at home with their parents to cut costs, but continue to spend what they earn. They leave no provision for saving for that ever illusive home of their own and property prices escalate every minute that ticks by … Living at home well into one's twenties can lead to family friction.
The freedom of university life is null and void, and explaining that one night stand to your parents may prove difficult to handle after a night out. Roisin Greensmith, 23, a project manager who graduated a year and a half ago, suggested that a lock was needed on her bedroom door to allow her some peace and to stop her mum washing and shrinking all of her clothes.
The fact that she still sleeps on the single bed she was bought at the age of 10 has also become a bone of contention: "I've had that bed for an age and I need something a bit more grown up." Having bought a replacement double, her parents are now trying to stop her from throwing the old single bed to make way for it. This is all very minor though in comparison to the very real worries which people face, at a time when careers are in their early stages and relationships are unstable.
Much of the dissatisfaction stems from a sense of having not achieved what they had previously anticipated for themselves. Working life isn't as predicted. It is tedious and unfulfilling. Social lives have disintegrated due to long hours in the office and scattered friend groups following graduation. It is hard to keep on top of looking after ones self with so little time outside of work. Greensmith feels that every day is a struggle, with lists of "things to do" being written and discarded constantly:
"I want to try and force myself to be somewhat productive during my evenings … was so annoyed that yesterday was a total write off when have so much to do."
Idealistic views of body image and status mean that there is a continuous (if partially self-imposed) toil to reach this perfect goal of being slim, good looking, well dressed, successful and attached, with a healthy bank balance and a home of one's own. Not reaching these goals means a cycle of self-loathing and disappointment, and a "tomorrow I'll start again" mentality. It can also, in more serious cases, lead to a need for escape, and often to binge drinking.
Binge drinking is symptomatic of a lack of time to socialise regularly, and a culmination of this dissatisfaction with the way life is panning out. We go out "just for one" and end up drowning our sorrows in a bottle of wine,countless beers, then stumbling to the nearest bar or club to continue with shots or more booze. Then it's back to our parents' house via night bus to keep them up all night to the sound of vomiting.