I had no idea what I wanted to do in terms of career, so I planned a year of travelling. I'd go to France and work at a vineyard; I'd spend some time volunteering at a rural yoga retreat; I'd go to Thailand and do some casual work at a bar or a hostel or anything I could get my hands on; I'd then go and volunteer at an elephant orphanage because I'm ridiculously obsessed with the creatures; I'd just flit here, there and everywhere, picking up work where I could and spending my days barefoot and bikini'd.
But I didn't make enough money fast enough. With all my friends spread out across the country and tired of living with my parents, I decided I'd move to Edinburgh. I got myself a fashion marketing internship and a retail job, to pay the bills. Within three weeks, I'd moved into my new flat and started two new jobs. In the end, the internship which I was supposed to love, drove me batty, and I fell in love with the retail job that was only meant to pay the bills.
Then, the misery of working weekends caught up with me. I missed my friends and my freedom to jet off at the drop of a hat to visit people down south, up north, on the continent.
So, I got myself a 9-5 office job.
From grapes, elephants and yoga to business dress, rush hours and telephone calls.
But I am not complaining. I am not doing my dream job, by any means. But it pays the bills and frees up my weekends. I am one tiny cog in one huge corporate machine, and perhaps avenues will open up to me as time goes on, but perhaps not. And if not? I'll have gathered a little pot of money together, and do you know what I'll do then?
I'll go and see the elephants, I'll go pick some grapes, I'll bum about in hostels with dirty feet and holey harem pants, I'll practice yoga on the beach and I'll spend too much money on cheap foreign beer. I'll sunburn my shoulders, work late in bars and dance like a crazy person with friends I've just met. I'll fall madly in love in a fortnight and forget about him in the course of a plane ride. Maybe I'll be gone a month, maybe it'll be more like two years. Will my career have progressed any in the passing of that time? Nope. Is that going to be detrimental to my happiness in the long term? Probably not.
So many people my age think you need to have a career sorted within a month of graduating and a plan set out for every stage of your life, and I can't help but think that's somewhat misguided. Of course, some people have a concrete dream job that they're working towards, and if you're passionate about achieving that then by all means go ahead with it, but so many of us have no idea what we're doing or what we want to do, so where's the rush to find out? Maybe that's naive of me, but it seems to me that we're going to spend the rest of our lives working anyway, so what's the hurry?
I highly doubt I'm going to reach thirty and wish I hadn't travelled, met those people, seen those sights, kissed those men, taken those pictures.
I'm definitely not going to wish I'd paid more tax.
But as with all things, we'll see what happens.
All pictures taken from my Pinterest.