Every time I’m in London I press my internal reset button. It may seem like an odd place to do it as it’s hardly somewhere one typically goes for R&R. You might think that it would be far easier to do so in St. Kitts, what with all the beaches and sun and rum. London represents, amongst other things, my time away from the obligations of daily life which, until now, were to be found on SKB. Obviously being on holiday does help but the best part about London, as opposed to somewhere else, is that I’m able to spend time with some of my closest friends. For the past few years I’ve been reassured whenever I’ve returned to London because it seems that like me, none of my pals have got it figured out. They all do an excellent job of showing their best face to the world because they have to but when we get down to it, we’re all just trying to figure out what it is exactly that we’re doing. And without fail, NONE OF THEM KNOW. They, in turn, are so reassured to know that I also have NO CLUE about what I’m doing longterm. This both cheers and saddens me, but the cheering most definitely wins out.
I’ve kept in touch with these friends over the years mainly through social media, and it got me thinking about the pros and cons of Facebook and Instagram etc. You really only get a peek at people’s lives, and even at that it’s a a selected aspect of their lives – it’s not like hanging out and actually finding out wha goin ahn.
I get the sense that not knowing what the next step is is more of a recent phenomenon. We have so many more options now which, although a wonderful thing, can make it harder to choose what direction to take. It will always be the case that some people just know what it is that they want (my brother the veterinarian for example) but that has never been the case for me. It does be tiring sometimes, ah jus ain know wha ah wan do. Knowing that I’m not alone in this and that everyone is dealing with the same thing, even though it can come with various slaps in the face, is certainly encouraging. I realise it’s all a part of Growing Up. I’ve been so heartened that all of my friends have been so supportive of this venture that I’m taking in my quest to Grow Up and Figure It Out. I had this idea that people would think I was being a bit self indulgent and although I really don’t tend to mind what most people think of me, I didn’t want to have to feel guilty about my decisions. Perhaps it’s the Catholic in me, which although extremely minimal, amazes me how well The Guilt can manifest itself. Perhaps it’s just not wanting to be judged whilst also knowing that it’s a part of life. Man, ain really matter wha no body tink, just do wha you tink and it gon come good. Then again, validation isn’t something to be sniffed at.
Whilst trying to decide what direction I would like my life to take, there is the background presence of social media and the pressure that society puts upon us. There is the constant, albeit somewhat silent, comparison that we all have when looking at each other’s newsfeeds. I do KNOW that social media is only meant to be a snapshot of someone’s life, and can be a wonderful tool, but my problem with it is that generally speaking, what is presented is the idealised version of that person’s life and so in effect, it’s not real. Den again, main necessarily wan see nuttin bad. Hypocrite much? For this reason I’ve really been trying to limit the time I spend on these apps but inevitably, I end up failing.
Following on from the downsides of social media and this so-called journey that I have forced myself to take, I have to consider the societal pressure that my (and quite possibly all) generations have been subjected to. We tend to present the best aspects of our lives and not the pressures that we are under. It’s only amongst my closest friends that we talk about the actual hard truths we face in life. I would definitely consider myself to be a creature of comfort and this time away from home is partly about pushing myself outside of my comfort zone whilst also searching for “enlightenment”. Or something. I know that at some point I am going to want to have a place that I actually own but I truly don’t mind that this is currently not an option. It’s a little harder to deal with the fact that I also cannot foresee a time when it will be an option but that’s a battle for another day. I know that a few of my friends are in similar positions. The ones in London are at least semi-okay about it because they are living in such a vibrant city and are at least physically exactly where they want to be. For those in St. Kitts though, which I feel is bit more relevant to me, I wonder how we are meant to move forward. Or maybe there are just obstacles no matter your geographical location. With regard to the pressure that society places on us, I have to wonder… is it because I’ve been conditioned to want property and a family by the time I’m 25/30/35? As there’s only 3 months to go until I’m 30 it’s not looking terribly likely that I will have either so I’ve now pushed both back to 35 because surely by then I’ll have a better handle on my life. I hope!?!? I also genuinely don’t want these things at this point in my life. I am so happy to be able to make decisions that are based solely on what I think is the next best step. Sometimes being a bit selfish can be a good thing.
In the end, having a real conversation (wine, or tea, optional) is often all that’s needed. Clearly I’m in the same position as so many of my friends and thank goodness for that. My time in London has brought to the surface a lot of the things that have been swirling in the dark corners of my mind. Hopefully they can disappear again and next time they surface I’ll have more answers…
When I started writing this post it was in the days before Hurricane Irma. And then it was the day before. And then it was a few hours before. It made everything that I was thinking completely inconsequential. During Hurricane Irma I was religiously checking Facebook for news of home. It was a very surreal experience to be in London and not at home, helping in whatever way I could. The updates from people at home saying that St. Kitts was doing ok were a godsend. The updates concerning the fates of the other islands brought me to tears several times but more importantly, it was possible to find out how friends on the neighbouring islands were. On top of this, being able to share on Facebook the various avenues to try and help has been a small way in which I felt I could do something while so far from home. And so the internal debate regarding pros and cons of social media was suddenly weighted heavily in the pro column. We just need to figure out how it works for us, rather than be governed by it.
*There are several ways to help concerning Hurricane Irma. The Red Cross is always a good place to start but I do know of several other appeals. If you are not my mum and have made it this far and are interested in donating, please shoot me a message and I can provide you with more info for specific islands.*